Ridvan celebrates Baha’u’llah’s time in the garden of Ridvan where He publicly declared His station as a Manifestation of God. The Ridvan Festival is 12 days long and is also the time of year where Baha’is elect their governing bodies.
Smith & Dragoman recently released their fourth studio album titled Into the Fire. It features 25 musicians and collaborators and it continues the band’s exploration into some of the key themes, stories and events that took place during the early history of the Baha’i Faith. Employing world music rhythms and instruments, cinematic soundscapes and intimate three-part harmonies, this album aspires to guide the listener on a musical journey of contemplation and discovery.
I’ve been a huge fan of Smith & Dragoman from the moment I heard their debut album, Open the Gates, and years later I was excited to interview band member Brett Smith about their album The Mystery, which was is a tribute to Abdu’l-Baha. This time I’m delighted to hear from Mike Dragoman about this latest musical project, Into the Fire, and here’s what he shared with us:
Can you tell us a little about this album and the inspiration behind it?
Our new record Into the Fire in many ways brings us full circle from where we started 19 years ago. Much of the music and lyrics are inspired by the profound effect these powerful Writings and Teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, the “Twins Stars”, have had on our lives personally. Deeply mystical tablets such as the Fire Tablet portrayed throughout the song “Into the Fire” and The Seven Valleys in the song “Seven”, call on all of us to delve deeply within our own selves in search of the higher self. Other songs draw on the inspiration from newly translated tablets, songs such as “Raining Down” and “The Hour”. And still others such as “Hold On” encourage us to cling to the cord of constancy, to have courage and confidence that we will be assisted in our efforts when we apply the healing Message to an ailing world.
In what ways is this album different from your other albums?
Into the Fire, while maintaining the Smith & Dragoman style, takes the musicianship and the mixing and mastering to a new level. The first three records, Open the Gates, Under the Lote Tree, and The Mystery, derived their inspiration from the periods of history of The Dawn-Breakers, of the time of Baha’u’llah, and the period of Abdul-Baha’s Ministry respectively. Into the Fire encompasses all three periods up to the current day, touching on ideas and messages that we feel are timely and important to remember in the midst of the struggles we face in today’s world.
Why was this album important for you to create personally?
I think that each of us recognises the urgency of the times we live in, and of applying the healing Remedy that has been given to us by the Divine Physician, and restating and renewing the teachings of the Messengers and Prophets of Ages passed. Songs like “Dancing around the Flame” challenge us to choose whether we will simply dance around the flame, or let the Flame burn within.
What do you hope listeners will walk away with after listening to the album?
When our listeners hear this record, one of our hopes is that they will come away with a feeling of hopefulness, but at the same time a sense of urgency to act in ways which will bring about a stronger sense of community, both locally and globally, to recognise our profound interconnectedness, and to devote our lives to its ultimate realisation.
Thank you so much, Mike, for taking the time to share that with us, and congratulations to you and all those involved in this beautiful new album.
Naysan is passionate about using the arts and media to explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Back in 2011, Naysan started up the Baha’i Blog project, channeling his experiences in both media and technology companies to help create a hub for Baha’i-inspired content online.