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
Afshin Jaberi and I met in the year 2000 during a summer school in Almaty, Kazakhstan. This was where I first heard a beautiful piece that he composed for a drama inspired by The Dawn-Breakers. Back then he was engaged in his post- graduate studies at the Almaty Conservatoire while serving the Baha’i community of Kazakhstan. Born into a Baha’i pioneering family, Afshin Jaberi was deeply affected by the early history of the Baha’i Faith, the hardships of its Founders’ lives, and the heroes who sacrificed everything for the establishment of a new religion. Later in life Afshin found a creative outlet in music to convey his emotion and feelings about those historic events. I reconnected with Afshin to talk about his music and his recent album, Eroica, which is a musical tribute to the Bab.
The 2019 European Baha’i Choral Festival was held from May 29 – June 2 at the Baha’i House of Worship in Langenhain, Germany. At this, the second European Baha’i Choral Festival to date, over a hundred participants came together to sing, share music with others and to strengthen the bonds of fellowship and harmony amongst Baha’is and their friends across Europe. Continue reading
As Baha’is and their friends begin to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab, artistic expressions in all sorts of media are emerging that testify to the connection between people’s hearts and the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. Keivan Towfigh’s oratorio, The Martyrdom of the Bab, is one such example in a style we don’t often see or feature here on Baha’i Blog. What’s an “oratorio” you ask? An oratorio is a large-scale musical work for orchestra and voices, like Handel’s Messiah. It usually tells a religious story and is performed without costumes or staging.
I was curious to hear all about this special oratorio and how it came into being, so I connected with Keivan Towfigh to find out more: Continue reading
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
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