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
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
Many Baha’is around the world have listened to the smooth and funky sounds of Baha’i RnB/Hip-hop duo Nabil & Karim, but perhaps many haven’t heard the solo albums of these two great artists!
One half of the well known Baha’i duo Nabil & Karim is Nabil Moghaddam – or ‘Nabilinho’ as he’s known by his Portuguese friends and fans. Of Persian descent, Nabil was raised in both Portugal and Canada and he’s a musician, sound engineer and producer who’s passionate about using the arts and music to serve the Faith and to celebrate the Revelation of Baha’u’llah. I’ve spent hours on Skype with him, and I really love his dedication and passion for the Faith, the arts, and life in general.
Nabil has just released his third solo album called Nabilinho Vol.III, where he continues to serve up smooth RnB tracks based on the Baha’i Writings, so I thought it was time to do a Baha’i Blog interview with him to find out more about his new album and the man behind the music: Continue reading
I’m excited to introduce Baha’i Blog’s readers to Shidan Toloui-Wallace, one of the most admired contemporary Persian and Arabic chanters in the Baha’i world. Now ‘chanting’ is not to be confused with singing – although Shidan does that beautifully as well – but as she explained to me, chanting is a form of improvised singing usually based on Holy Scriptures or poetry, and a person chanting may chant the same piece of scripture differently every time.
Shidan Toloui-Wallace recently released her second album titled Phoenix of Love, which features Baha’i prayers and poems chanted in Persian and Arabic, as well as English collaborations with her daughter Shadi Toloui-Wallace, whom we interviewed here on Baha’i Blog as well.
Shidan’s reputation was established during the time she was a volunteer at the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa, Israel from 1991–1997. She was regularly asked to chant on special occasions such as Holy Day observances, and it was during her time in Haifa that she recorded her first album entitled The Call of Carmel with her dear friend Taraneh Rafati, and Shidan’s uncle, the late Masood Missaghian played the Persian Santoor (also called a Hammer Dulcimer) on the album.
Some 15 years later in late 2012, Shidan decided to record Phoenix of Love, and so I thought it would be great to catch-up with Shidan to find out more about this wonderful album, which although it is predominantly in Persian and Arabic, also includes wonderful musical fusions of East and West . Continue reading