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Waves – A Devotional Album by Nightingales

May 31, 2024, in Articles > Music, by

I love seeing Baha’i-inspired musical initiatives share more and more of their work online for everyone to enjoy. It’s been a thrill to enjoy the music of the Edinburgh Sessions, to partake of their singles when they became Nightingales, and to now know that they have released a whole album titled Waves! Band member Payam Beint kindly agreed to tell us all about it!

Can you tell us a little about yourselves and the band?

Musicians Maureen (L) and Payam Beint (R)

We are Payam and Maureen of Nightingales. We formed in Edinburgh three years ago. Both of us had worked on different Baha’i-inspired music projects prior to recording together. I was in a group called Rowshan and Maureen was in Higher Vision. My main instrument is acoustic guitar and Maureen’s is electroharp/clarsach. I had been a fan of her music before we knew each other so it was exciting to work on a new music project. Likewise Maureen had come across Rowshan’s music and worked out harmonies to all their songs. In addition to working with Maureen our group grew through collaborations with amazing musicians in our local community. This included Gwen on cello, Pat on guitar, Roddy on fiddle/violin, Hannah on violin and vocals and additional backing vocals by the Newington Junior Youth Group. The whole album was recorded by Maureen and we arranged the music together.

Can you tell us a little bit about your style of music?

I would describe our sound as a mixture of spiritual, acoustic music with a folk and indie influence. Sonically the production is stripped back and minimalistic but there’s a lot going on when you listen to the arrangements. In previous projects we had both worked with more conventional bands, so it was challenging to take away click tracks, bass, and drum tracks and for us to create a natural live feel to the recording where the acoustic instruments create rhythm, bass and melody. We deliberately kept to simple refrains that repeat themselves to create a meditative space in the music to allow the words to become the focal point. Ambient electronic music had an influence on the repetition of simple musical refrains but there are also a parallels in nature, and the painting I made for the album cover also explores the ideas of repeating patterns in nature. I think another thing that makes this album have a individual sound is the space in the arrangements that allow the tracks to breathe. We are both interested in constructing unusual chord sequences and song structures rather than verse, chorus formats. It was all about beautifying the sacred words with music that encourages deeper listening and a sense of calm and focus.

Can you tell us a little bit about Waves

Waves came about because Maureen and I had been collaborating with different musicians in Edinburgh, composing and recording together. Originally called Edinburgh Baha’i Music Sessions, it evolved into a project to create new Baha’i-inspired music and share it with friends and the wider community. We were going to make an EP to start with but as we continued to work on the music, the process inspired us both to keep writing new songs and the project evolved into the album Waves.

What inspired you to produce this album?

I think we inspired each other to make Waves; the creative process of collaborating with a person that you have a shared vision and feel comfortable working with made the production of the album quite intuitive. Living in Scotland you are always close to inspiring landscape and that has had an influence on composition. The beauty of the Baha’i Writings is the main inspiration for the songwriting on the album. We wanted to create each piece of music to not only have its own relationship with the flow and vibration of the words but to also move the listener. There is this beautiful passage from Abdu’l-Baha in which He says,

“Although sounds are but vibrations in the air which affect the ear’s auditory nerve, and these vibrations are but chance phenomena carried along through the air, even so, see how they move the heart. A wondrous melody is wings for the spirit, and maketh the soul to tremble for joy.”1

Who is its audience? What do you hope your listeners will take away with them long after they’ve finished listening?

I don’t think our music is for a particular audience, hopefully it caters for a range of different music tastes. It would most suit people who are looking for something calm and meditative with intricate melodies. We hope that our music helps listeners to make deeper connections with the meaning in the words and that it creates “wings for the spirit.”

Thank you, Payam, for taking the time to share this with us!

You can listen to Waves on YouTube, Apple music and Spotify.

To whet your appetite and delight your ears, here is the music video for the song “Steadfast”:

  1. Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 147 []
Posted by

Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.
Sonjel Vreeland

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