When I heard Heart to Heart’s album, Inspired By, I felt that it was a musical expression of Baha’u’llah’s words “the earth is but one country and mankind its citizen”. Its global and diverse sounds are genuine and a credit to the band’s name. Thankfully the Baha’i community is so interconnected that, with the help of the internet, it was easy to find out more about this musical collaboration. I was able to hear from Alex Christensen about this multi-cultural, rich, and heartfelt album. Here’s what he shared with me:
Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us who is involved in Heart to Heart?
Heart to Heart is a collective of artists living in the Vancouver area who are learning to create music inspired by their own stories and their involvement in community building efforts. For this album, the artists involved were three brothers: Eric, Alex, and Dan Christensen.
About a year ago, I had the pleasure of talking on the phone to a Baha’i singer-songwriter from Italy named Naim Abid. We hit it off straight away, and we spoke for hours about a wide range of topics ranging from love and loss, to music and the Baha’i Faith.
Over the years, Naim has developed an eclectic vocal style ranging from ska to swing, soul to pop, and from blues to revival, and his wide range of musical talents came to life in a sold-out series of shows called “Crooner Nights”, where he paid tribute to the greats of American and Italian music, by combining the hits and their stories in a mix of theatre and music, with themed costumes, curious tales, vintage image projections and iconic improvisation.
Naim played a crucial role in helping us record some Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions in Italy, and you can see him here in this upbeat Studio Session called “So Powerful (Tanto Potente)”.
As I’ve gotten to know him over the course of the year, it’s become very clear that along with the Baha’i Faith, music and performance are at his core and run through his veins. It’s no surprise then that Naim has combined his passion for the Baha’i Faith and his passion for music into the production of a Baha’i-inspired album called Libero, and I connected with Naim again to find out more about it: Continue reading
German pianist and composer, Peter Held, has produced a nuanced jazz album of devotional music dedicated to Baha’u’llah in the bicentennial year of His Birth. The album is called Fire and Light and it contains 18 acoustic and instrumental piano tracks with titles such as “Traces of the Beloved” and “Morning Hour”.
Fire and Light isn’t Peter’s first devotional album. He also released Creation, on which Corinne Bahia sings a selection of Baha’i Writings in accompaniment with Peter’s piano music.
We decided to get in touch with Peter to find out more about his music and what inspired Fire and Light: Continue reading
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Elika Mahony has released an album in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab and it’s befittingly titled The Exalted One. The 11 songs on the album set the prayers and Writings of the Bab to music with piano, cello, guitar, tiple, cuatro (South American instruments) and soaring voice.
I am eager and excited to share my conversation with Elika with you for two reasons: for one, it’s wonderful to shine a light on creative endeavors in these months leading up to the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab but also because Elika is donating the sales of The Exalted One from May 23rd to July 10th to the construction of the Shrine of Abdu’l-Baha! Here is some more information about the album and how it came together: Continue reading
Participants of the 2017 European Baha'i Choral Festival gather outside the European Baha'i House of Worship in Germany. (Photo: Zarrin Munusamy)
In a few weeks (May 29-June 2), participants from across Europe will come together at the European Baha’i House of Worship in Germany, to join voices and take part in the European Baha’i Choral Festival! This is the second year the event is taking place, and besides the singing and sharing of glorious music with others, the event aims to strengthen the bonds of fellowship and harmony amongst Baha’is and their friends across Europe.
I caught up with the festival’s musical director, Ameli Dziemba, to find out more about the event and to hear about her experiences: Continue reading
We live in amazing times; I’ve become friends and have been able to collaborate with some fantastic people online. Alan and Lorraine Manifold are one such example. It’s been a pleasure to work together with them. For example, Naysan interviewed Alan about his mystery novel (that features a Baha’i detective!) titled Consulting Detective and they wrote an article called “It’s OK to Be a Feminist” that involved some insightful consultations about the equality of women and men and how we write about this weighty teaching on a personal Baha’i-inspired blog — there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes here at Baha’i Blog and if you’re ever curious about the principles and ideas that guide our work, check out our Editorial Values.
I recently learned about the “Baha’i Composition Blast”, a new brainchild of Alan and Lorraine in honor of the upcoming Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, and it was fascinating to hear about it. Here’s what they shared with us: Continue reading
I am so excited to be sharing the news that Baha’i Blog has just hit the huge milestone of publishing our 200th Studio Session, yes that’s right, our 200th Baha’i Blog Studio Session! (And it’s also kind of cool that this happened in the year that Baha’is around the world will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, the forerunner to Baha’u’llah, the Prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith).
If you haven’t heard of Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions, then I encourage you to check it out, but basically it’s an initiative where we invite Baha’is and their friends around the world, to come into a studio on location, and then we film and record an original song which must be based on the Baha’i Writings or letters of Shoghi Effendi, or the Universal House of Justice (though we have made some rare exceptions to this rule such as this tribute to Mona Mahmudnizhad by Tom Francis singing a cover of Doug Cameron’s “Mona With the Children”). We then make these videos and audio recordings available weekly on our YouTube Channel and SoundCloud page for everyone to listen to and be inspired!
We started Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions about three years ago, partly inspired by a letter from the Universal House of Justice which stated: “We long to see, for instance, the emergence of captivating songs from every part of the world, in every language, that will impress upon the consciousness of the young the profound concepts enshrined in the Baha’i teachings.”
So far we’ve published songs from 36 global locations in 28 different languages, and I’m always blown away by all of the wonderful talent and songs that exist in communities worldwide! We couldn’t have come this far without the help of so many wonderful souls who have not only taken part by singing in the Studio Sessions, but to all those who have helped in so many different ways, from picking people up from a train station, to helping to edit the videos. We’d really like to thank EVERYONE who has helped so far, in making this wonderful contribution to the arts a reality!
As many of you know, music and the arts are of significance in the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, and the Baha’i Blog team has been working hard over the years to help encourage and celebrate the arts in its various forms. So it’s no wonder that we’re super excited about this achievement, and we thought a good way to celebrate these 200 songs would be to list one example of each of the 28 languages we have represented so far, and then list one example from each of the 36 locations as well. Continue reading
I have never been very good at discovering music on my own: books and reading are more my forte. When it comes to music I blindly follow the recommendations of others. When I heard of Sinnober and that one of its track’s titles was inspired by the Writings of the Baha’i Faith, my ears were definitely curious and I checked them out! I’m so glad I did!
The band is made up of Natalie and Sebastian Brice and Sebastian agreed to tell us a little about the band and their latest album, Projection. Here’s what he shared — I hope you enjoy our conversation! Continue reading
Many of you may have seen or heard of Calla Kinglit from her song on Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions called “No One But Thee” which actually happens to be the most popular song of our Studio Sessions series! Lots of people have been asking her for more in the comments section, and so here it is! I’m thrilled that Calla Kinglit’s debut album, called Dreamer’s Sea, is now available and it includes the studio version of “No One But Thee” as well.
I decided to catch up with Calla to find out more about her and her music, and her debut album: Continue reading