My dear friend Sonbol Taefi has created a new multi-language devotional album called Coral & Pearls. Her voice on its own is rich and her compositions are uplifting, but on this album her music is also adorned by singers from various parts of the globe; the album features Luke Slott, Elika Mahony and Nasime Wattiaux.
With the exception of the title song, the tracks were recorded in New Zealand with acoustic instruments: piano, guitar, santour, percussion and strings ,as well as backing vocals and choral arrangements. The enchanting title song is based on the marriage prayer revealed by Abdu’l-Baha in Persian, and it was developed for a full ensemble piece for recording with the Czech National Symphony.
It’s been many years since we interviewed Sonbol about her album Sea of Mystery (which you can read here), so I was glad for the chance to hear from her again, and to learn more about her latest album. In this interview she tells us how it came together, and offers some words of encouragement to other musicians, or anyone who is beginning to set the Baha’i Writings to music: Continue reading
I grew up learning the names of the Baha’i months in Arabic and English thanks to Jack Lenz’s “Song of the Months” and I repeatedly played the song to my own children so they too would be familiar with them. It’s a delightfully catchy tune, particularly when you sing “Sovereignty, Dominion and Loftiness!” (If you’re familiar with the song, I’m sure it’s in your head now!)
Jack is a brilliant musician and composer and I’m excited that he has a new project that revolves around the Baha’i calendar and the celebrations and commemorations in the Baha’i year: a songbook, CDs of those songs (both instrumental and a cappella), and a book of the vocal scores. All three are available for purchase, either physically or digitally. In this interview, Jack tells us all about his project and I hope it makes you as excited as I am. Here’s what he said: Continue reading
The Sign of Love is the beautiful new album by New Zealand singer/songwriter, Grant Hindin Miller. Grant has already released several albums over the years, and his songs are loved by so many around the world.
Grant’s ability to tell stories through his music is amazing. I remember the first time I heard one of Grant Hindin Miller’s songs some 20+ years ago while I was in New Zealand. A friend played me “Nine Lighted Candles“, a song about Sulayman Khan Tabrizi, one of the followers of the Bab who was publicly tortured and killed. Halfway through the song, tears were streaming down my face; Grant’s ability to captivate the listener as the story unfolds, combined with his beautiful melodies, is an absolute work of art.
Grant Hindin Miller has also written three feature films, three books, a stage-musical, and teaches creative writing. I’ve been blessed to have gotten to know him over the years, and he recorded “O Son of Dust” and “Humble Thyself” for Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series. I also interviewed Grant for the Ink of Light Writers’ festival. When I heard about his new album, I had to reach out to find out more and share it with the world: Continue reading
Turn My Steps is the debut album of Siria Rutstein, and many of you may remember hearing her voice on two Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions called “Make Them to Grow” and “Immerse”.
Siria is a thoughtful and joyful singer-songwriter currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for her as when she was a child, her family was in Papua New Guinea with me and my family, and I have so many fond memories of the times I spent with her parents. I was delighted when I heard that she had released her debut album, so I got in touch with her to find out more about her music and why it was important for her to create this album. Here’s what she shared:
Win Thompkins is a renowned gospel artist who has achieved great success in the music industry. At the tender age of 14, he received his first recording contract with Nashville’s Cross & Crown Records where he and his brothers were discovered by famous country singing star “Zeke Clements”. The rest is history! Since then he has recorded more than 300 songs and ten albums.
The album Standing for the People shares a deeper love for humanity by promoting peace, unity and tolerance through 13 original songs with catchy danceable R&B and inspirational hooks about oneness. His music brings people together. Win’s aspirations and commitment to inspire others and brighten their lives is apparent in the music born of his talents and spiritual qualities.
Win graciously shared with us about his album, his music, and what words of encouragement he might offer others: Continue reading
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:
Years ago I was involved with an exciting musical initiative called ‘The Dawnbreaker Collective‘, and I’m excited to share a new album born out of that same spirit of collaboration, called The 7 Cities.
The 7 Cities is an upbeat musical collaboration inspired by the mystical works of Baha’u’llah known as The Seven Valleys, where Baha’u’llah writes:
“The stages that mark the wayfarer’s journey from the abode of dust to the heavenly homeland are said to be seven. Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities. And they say that until the wayfarer taketh leave of self, and traverseth these stages, he shall never reach to the ocean of nearness and union, nor drink of the peerless wine.”
A long time in the making, The 7 Cities album is awesome, and it’s the result of the coming together of colossal talents including Benn Good (AKA Benny Cassette), Ciele Beau, Gregory Stutzer, Emiliano “Diversoul” Morondos, Daniel Mansions, Naima Te Maile, Tara Ellis, Rey Loo and Meredith LeMarche.
I caught up with my dear friend Benny Cassette and a few of the others involved, to hear more about the album, and here’s what they shared: Continue reading
I recently had the pleasure of catching up with a dear friend named Nasim Maani and her family at the 2019 ABS Conference which took place in Canada. Nasim is a dear friend from when I lived in New Zealand years ago, and although she’s not a professional musician by trade, over the years she decided to channel her passion for music and her passion for the Baha’i Faith into creating Baha’i-inspired music.
We’ve featured some of her music videos here on Baha’i Blog in the past, and I was excited to learn that in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab this Baha’i year, she released two versions of a new song called “Trust” to commemorate this special occasion.
I decided to catch up with Nasim to find out more about this new song and her music in general: Continue reading
Over the last two years, Baha’is and their friends around the world have been celebrating two landmark occasions: firstly, the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah in 2017, and now in 2019, the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of the Bab. In relation to these two special anniversaries, the Universal House of Justice wrote that “At the heart of these festivities must be a concerted effort to convey a sense of what it means for humanity that these two Luminaries rose successively above the horizon of the world. Of course, this will take different forms in different contexts, extending to a myriad artistic and cultural expressions, including songs, audio-visual presentations, publications and books.”
Over the course of these two special years, we witnessed a wonderful response of artistic expression from around the world. One of the efforts came from singer-songwriter, Luke Slott, who decided early on to honor these two special occasions by releasing two albums: the first is called Year of the Nightingale, to honor Baha’u’llah, and the second and more recent album is called Gate of Heaven, to honor the Bab. Continue reading
A couple of years ago while I was living in San Francisco, USA, I would occasionally attend a devotional gathering at a friend’s house, and at the very first one I attended, I met a wonderful young Baha’i named David, who would bring his guitar and sing beautiful songs based on the Baha’i Writings.
Just before I left San Francisco, we organized some Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions there, and David came and recorded two songs (which I’ve included at the bottom of this article). After the recordings, he said he wanted to record an album, and so now, in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, I was excited to learn that David did just that, and released a new album called Rise Then.
I got in touch with David to find out more about his music and the album, and here’s what he had to say: Continue reading