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
It’s Baha’i Blog’s seventh birthday everyone, and we’re super excited to share it with you all!
Baha’i Blog’s mission is to create, celebrate and explore Baha’i-inspired content, artistic expression and use of media. Since 2011 we have been using Baha’i Blog as a “laboratory” of sorts, where through planning, action and reflection, we explore how the vast and dynamic Revelation of Baha’u’llah translates into various avenues of content creation, whether it be through the articles we publish, the videos we make, the music we record, the podcast we produce, or even the T-shirts we print.
The field of arts and media inspired by the Baha’i Revelation is a blossoming garden of personal and community projects, creations and craft. Through Baha’i Blog we aim to surface, highlight, celebrate and contribute to this ecosystem, and we do this by not only being active participants and creators ourselves, but by also encouraging, collaborating, showcasing and helping other creators as well. Continue reading
Now that Baha’i Blog has just had its fifth year anniversary of “celebrating everything Baha’i”, it’s time to do our annual ‘Top 10’ countdown of Baha’i Blog’s most popular articles of the year.
As you know Baha’i Blog has a Video Section, an Audio Section, an Image Gallery and of course our Article Section where we publish two original articles per week making that over 500 articles since we first went online. In this Top 10 countdown, we list the 10 most read articles of the last year – from Naw-Ruz 2015 to Naw-Ruz 2016, but before we begin, we’d like to say a very special “THANK YOU!” to everyone for your constant support and encouragement over the last five years!
Okay, so now here’s the countdown starting from number 10: Continue reading
Born in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea and raised by adopted parents in Australia, Klare Kuolga was blessed with having the privilege of belonging to two distinct cultures, both of which music played an important role.
Klare is an old friend of mine, and I just found out that she’s just released a new EP called “Blessed”, so I decided to catch up with her and interview her on Baha’i Blog: Continue reading
Shadow puppet show in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. (Photo: Baha'i World Centre)
This article is for those of you who either feel “terrified”, or maybe just simply “at a loss” when it comes to integrating the arts into your study circles. You know that we are urged by the Ruhi Institute to “include artistic endeavours in the activity of every study circle”, and that we should not think of these endeavours as “entertainment or as an extracurricular activity…but as an essential element enhancing the spiritual development of the participants”.
But how do we do this when we don’t feel necessarily musical, artistic, or dramatic? Continue reading
Many of you by now have hopefully seen our series called “Studio Sessions”, where we invite Baha’is and their friends from around the world into a studio to film and record them singing a song based on the Baha’i Writings. We then make these videos and recordings available on our Baha’i Blog YouTube Channel and SoundCloud page for everyone to listen to and download for FREE. (If you haven’t heard of Studio Sessions yet, you can find out more about it from this article), or by reading on.
In a letter from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies dated 12 December, 2011, the House of Justice 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.
Esto es Fe (which is Spanish for “This is Faith”) is the new album from Leonor Dely & Millero Congo, a Baha’i-inspired group coming from the musically rich South American nation of Colombia.
You may have heard the music of Leonor Dely & Millero Congo in the Frontiers of Learning video in the segment about Colombia, and Esto es Fe is Leonor Dely & Millero Congo’s fifth album, which takes the listener on a spiritual journey that combines drums, vocals, native flutes and harmonies releasing the sounds of Colombia’s rich Afro-Latin heritage. The album is a continuation of four previous albums: Amame, Talisman, Ora Tambo, and Makerule – all produced by Grammy-award winning KC Porter.
I decided to catch up with Leonor Dely to find out more about her and the band, and about this wonderful new album: Continue reading
It always puts a smile on my face when I find out about individuals from different parts of the world who take the initiative to put the Sacred Writings of the Baha’i Faith to music, and share it with others.
So it gives me great pleasure to share Music of the Heart, the fourth and latest album by Singaporean Baha’i Michelle Koay. All of the ten songs on Michelle’s album consist of the Chinese translations of Baha’i prayers by The Bab, Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha put to music, and the album also includes the karaoke versions of the prayers too.
I decided to catch up with Michelle to find out more about her and this wonderful musical initiative: Continue reading
I always love hearing about different Baha’i-inspired initiatives happening around the world, and a couple of friends recently told me about a wonderful musical initiative which took place in Ecuador, and so with the help of Eduardo Rioseco, one of the initiative’s participants, I thought it would be great to share this exciting experience and the music (which can be downloaded for free at the bottom of this post) with everyone! Continue reading
Nancy Cambell (1906 – 1980)
At the end of the last century Ani Difranco cleverly and accurately sang that…
…every tool is a weapon if you hold it right.
This idea, that most objects and activities – including all sciences and arts – are neutral in value and can be utilized for good or evil, had also been expressed at the beginning of that century by Abdu’l-Baha. He stated:
All things are beneficial if joined with the love of God; and without His love all things are harmful…
He went on to show how this is particularly true of the arts, stating that:
…a melody sweet to the ear, bringeth the very spirit of life to a heart in love with God, yet staineth with lust a soul engrossed in sensual desires.
If a woman at the Three Arts Club in New York City had not introduced Nancy Campbell to the Baha’i Teachings in 1938, she may have become just another talented artist, using her skills and opportunities to entertain and distract. Instead Nancy Campbell attended ‘firesides’ (informal presentations of the Baha’i Teachings) at the home of New York Baha’is, Saffa and Carrie Kinney. Three years later upon return to her adopted homeland, Canada, Nancy Campbell sought out the Baha’is and formally registered as a member of that community. She was immediately engaged in direct service to the Baha’i community, and became a founding member of the Hamilton (Ontario) Local Spiritual Assembly. Continue reading