A spirit of loving collaboration really shines through the music on Celebration, an album in honor of the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab, Founders of the Baha’i Faith. Its 16 original tracks beautifully marry multicultural rhythms and sounds with extracts from the Baha’i Writings. The album was put together by a group of friends in Quebec, Canada, and I was able to ask Pierre Tremblay how it all came together. Here’s what he shared with me: Continue reading
Coronation on Carmel by Michael V. Day is the second book in a trilogy that tells the story of the Shrine of the Bab, the resting place of the Bab, a Messenger of God whose revitalizing message prepared the way for the coming of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith.
Michael’s skills and talents as a journalist and his deep love for Baha’i history make for an exciting read. I was delighted to hear from Michael about his book, the process of putting it together, and its uniqueness in the trilogy. Here’s what Michael shared with me:
Baha’i Blog: So good to talk to you about this second book in the trilogy, Michael! Can you tell us a little bit about the book?
Coronation on Carmel is the second book in the trilogy I wrote to tell the story of the Shrine of the Bab. It starts just after where Journey to a Mountain finished. It covers the period 1922 to 1963, the time when Shoghi Effendi took on and fulfilled the responsibility given to him by the Abdu’l-Baha to complete the Shrine of the Bab.
The book traces the drama from start to finish. First, it lists the problems in the early years and then shows how by drawing on spiritual resources and through careful planning and attention to practicalities, Shoghi Effendi engaged the brilliant architect, William Sutherland Maxwell, motivated the Baha’is to donate the funds, and with an acute sense of timing, achieved his goal.
The book details the design of the arcade and superstructure, and how it was built. There are lots of descriptions of events in and near the Shrine.
The story is set against the background of the economic depression, communal conflict in the Holy Land, the anxious times of World War 2, and the establishment of the State of Israel.
With Oars and Compass is a book I wish I had read many years ago. Written by Hamed Javaheri, it frames an exploration of the meaning and purpose of life in a narrative that is philosophical, romantic, and mysterious. We meet Jane Luwi Flynn and get to eavesdrop on the meaningful conversations she has with her friends, her growing friendship and attraction to Xavier, and her recurring dreams. The story pulls the reader along and the conversations among its characters make you pause and think. Compelling, informative, engaging, light-hearted, humorous and thought-provoking, With Oars and Compass would have been a book that I read cover to cover as a teenager and young adult when I was asking myself the same questions Jane asks. But really, it’s a novel for anyone and anytime.
Hamed graciously agreed to share what inspired him to write the novel. Here is our conversation:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in Zambia, Southern Africa, and have lived here for most of my life, with the exception of a brief period in Montreal, Canada, where I pursued my university education. My wife and I married when we were young, and we have three children—the first of which is about to venture off for his year of service before he enters university.
As a Baha’i, I am privileged to witness the impact of the Teachings on the human mind—and on youth in particular—as they come to recognize the potential they have to contribute to the wellbeing of their communities, and to the betterment of the world.
My dear friend, Ali Youssefi. has warmed a lot of hearts with his music over the years. One of his most memorable works for me, as I’m sure it is for so many others, is his montage video of 50 voices from around the world singing “Unite”.
Among his many other musical contributions, Ali also played a critical role in helping record our Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions in Belgrade, Serbia (where he was living at the time), and of which he also sang two songs called “Jedinstvo (Unity)” in Serbian, and “Oh Mi Siervo (O My Servant)” in Spanish.
Ali’s soothing voice, his ability to collaborate with others, and his skills as a musician make it exciting when he creates anything new, so I was delighted to hear that he has released an album called Daystar.
I caught up with Ali to find out more about his new album and how it all came together. I hope you enjoy our conversation! Continue reading
Album cover by Afshin Nosrat Jogan. His Instagram handle is: https://www.instagram.com/nosart19/.
Projekt Leuchtfeuer is a German musical group and they’ve released an album called Lightblicke. Made up of Armin Naimi, Shahnam Izadpanah, Esra Lilian, and Djamschid Solouk, this 19 track album will have your head bopping and your toes tapping. The songs tackle social issues and deal with questions about the refinement of our character and the improvement of society. In German and English, these songs are the fruits of a close collaboration and I was excited to find out more:
Baha’i Blog: Could you please introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about Projekt Leuchtfeuer?
Project Leuchtfeuer is a music collective – consisting of four main members – that strives to inspire and encourage contemplation on ethical-moral issues, the pressing issues of the time and spiritual-metaphysical concepts. The group’s creativity stems from the principles of the Baha’i Faith and its comprehensive Writings, which claim to open the way for the world to unite the whole of humanity. Our identity is based on the idea of a transnational cosmopolitanism and a positive image of mankind – an identity that is fundamentally animated by the deep belief that the earth is only one country and all human beings are its citizens. Continue reading
One of the things I love about Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions is the discovery of all the wonderful music and talented people around the world! Someone we recently learned about is James Mohajer, and you may recognize him from this Baha’i Blog Studio Session recorded in London, UK called “Apple of Mine Eye” by James & Kyan.
Well, I’m excited to share that James Mohajer has recently released an album of Baha’i-inspired devotions called Ascend, and this nine-track album is full of beautiful meditative music which will make you feel like James is with you singing at your devotional gathering.
I wanted to find out more from James about him and his album, so here’s our conversation: Continue reading
Tom Lysaght is an accomplished playwright with some 30 plays in both English and Spanish to his name. He also founded “El Teatro de Pan y Paz” in rural Peru, where he wrote circus drama plays about economic and health challenges, utilizing masks, stilts, and 15-foot high puppets for open-air performances, and he’s travelled extensively to help launch similar community development theatre projects.
While his latest project is not a play, it is nevertheless dramatic. 35 years in the making, his novel, Persian Passion: Of Gods and Gargoyles, is a work of creative non-fiction set in Persia during the time of the Bab. Actor Rainn Wilson said it’s “… an expertly written look into the parallel histories of the founders of the Baha’i Faith, the Bab and Baha’u’llah. It evokes the spiritual passion and political complexity of mid-nineteenth century Persia in beautiful prose…”, and Dr. Nader Saiedi calls it “A captivating account of a dramatic summer that questioned traditionalism and patriarchy, and celebrated the resurrection of the human spirit”. This new book holds particular interest this year as Baha’is around the world celebrate the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith, so I was excited to hear from Tom about his new novel, and here’s what he had to say: Continue reading
It’s great to see the development of so many wonderful Baha’i-inspired media initiatives around the world, and with podcasts becoming more and more popular globally, it’s no wonder that the creation of Baha’i-inspired podcasts, like our very own Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson, are becoming more prevalent in the online space.
I was excited, therefore, to learn about a new podcast series called ‘The Soul Salons‘, created by Zarrin Caldwell, which aims to explore our spiritual world and the world of the divine, through the works and teachings of prophets, poets, mystics, and philosophers throughout the ages. Whether it’s taking a deep dive into the works of several known – and unknown – English poets, or exploring some of the teachings of Confucius, each episode is designed to reveal insights that can be applied to our own daily lives.
I caught up with Zarrin to find out more about ‘The Soul Salons’ and here’s what she had to say about her new podcast series:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Zarrin, can you tell us a little bit about ‘The Soul Salons’ podcast?
The aim of the podcast series is to look at the work of prophets, poets, mystics, and philosophers throughout the ages whose teachings have focused on our divine, or spiritual, reality. ‘The Soul Salons’ are purposefully kept short – about 12 minutes each – so that they are easy to listen to and to reflect on.