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.
What happens when the musical powerhouse duo known as Nabil & Karim, join forces with the musical powerhouse known as Anise? The birth of an awesome new collaborative album called Thief in the Night – that’s what happens!
Thief in the Night was created in honor of the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab, and this new combination of talents has created an awesome musical dynamic.
I got in touch with the three of them to find out more about the album and the process behind their musical collaboration, and here’s what they said:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about the album and how it came about?
The three of us each individually were clearly on the same wavelength. Nabil and Anise were talking about making an album, then Karim and Nabil were talking about making an album. Bringing all three of us together online through consultation and prayer, we decided to make an album for the then upcoming bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah. We were all in different countries, Karim in South Korea, Nabil in Portugal, and Anise in Australia. So we embarked on a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign which was successfully funded by the generous and sacrificial contribution of over 300 people from all over the globe! We are eternally grateful to our Kickstarter backers for making this possible, thank you again.
This was a tremendous confirmation. We were soon in the studio in Portugal making songs every day and recording them as they were being written…it was a wild and inspiring time. Sometimes it felt like the album wrote itself, some music tracks we made…we couldn’t write to! Others were written in incredibly short amounts of time. After Portugal, the process took quite some time to go through final production, final writing, extra vocal recording, mixing, and mastering. This process was clearly being guided so that the album could become exactly what it is now.
Baha’i Blog: Was this the first time you all collaborated and what was that like?
Yes, ‘Thief in the Night’ has been our first collaborative project together. We actually met at a conference in Chicago years ago, and it was love at first jam session. We had a lot of fun playing music together and did a bit of writing. Basically, a spark was born. In that conference hotel room, raw energy and joy immediately took form, which you can see from this little video we made: Karim – “That Feeling” Live with Nabil and Anise
Baha’i Blog: Why did you call it ‘Thief in the Night’? Can you explain the reference to our readers?
That’s a great question. We went through a bunch of name ideas and this is the one that we felt encapsulated the meaning of the project as a whole. The coming of Baha’u’llah has been prophesied as coming like a “thief in the night”.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.” II Peter 3:10
We have a song that shares the same title as the album and the lyrics of the first verse describe, from the perspective of Mulla Husayn, the moment where the Bab declared Himself as the Promised One.
“…I was overwhelmed by extreme kindness, His dignity and self-assured silence, When He invited me in for tea and said: ‘Behold, all these signs are manifest in Me’…”
This moment was unassuming to say the least, given its spiritual significance. The second verse is written from the perspective of one of the followers of Baha’u’llah in the prison of Siya Chal (black pit), where He received his Mission:
“…And in that blackest pit it was a rose that grew Our fate was set to be made to rest But we were gracefully blessed as we tasted death Because the maiden said, ‘this is the beauty of God amongst you’…”
“…Nobility is yours, you were born to take it Baha’u’llah speaks, and every soul is getting invitations If you hear His words I hope you rise to the occasion And spread truth, love, peace and unity to every nation…”
Since this song spoke of the coming of both the Bab and Baha’u’llah, we felt it was befitting to use its track name as the album title as well.
Baha’i Blog: How do you hope the album will impact its listeners?
This album was always about making a gift for the international Baha’i community. We hope that the Baha’is who discover this music are reminded of the deepest and truest love that they already have for Baha’u’llah. We really speak to that desire in the song ‘Tiny Seed’ with the lyrics:
“…I am a tiny seed And my soul grows hope when Baha’u’llah speaks…”
Sometimes a song can help center us in an emotion, a feeling, or a thought. Our hope with this album is that listeners are re-centered in their immense love for Baha’u’llah’s Writings. The album begins on an upbeat note, as if to catch us in the midst of our day-to-day hustle. It takes a turn with the interlude about a dream that Baha’u’llah’s father had. This opens the listener up to hear about the declaration of these Twin Manifestations. After a prayer for unity, the album ends with a song about the heroic deeds of some of the early believers who sacrificed their lives for this Faith to carry on. The final lyrics are almost like a mantra to pull us away from the many distractions of this world:
“…When I breathe, I breathe to believe I breathe for the things that we easily leave I breathe for oneness, I believe in the people I breathe for Baha’u’llah, come and destroy evil I breathe for the things that we easily leave I breathe for oneness, I believe in the people I breathe for Baha’u’llah.”
Baha’i Blog: Thanks so much for telling us about ‘Thief in the Night’ guys, and congratulations on the album!
You can listen to this album here, or purchase it here.
Two tracks from this album were made into music videos, and we also did a video interview with Nabil & Karim, all of which you can watch below, but before we get to that, here’s more information about Nabil & Karim:
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.