One of the things I love about Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions is the discovery of all the wonderful music and talented people around the world! Someone we recently learned about is James Mohajer, and you may recognize him from this Baha’i Blog Studio Session recorded in London, UK called “Apple of Mine Eye” by James & Kyan.
Well, I’m excited to share that James Mohajer has recently released an album of Baha’i-inspired devotions called Ascend, and this nine-track album is full of beautiful meditative music which will make you feel like James is with you singing at your devotional gathering.
I wanted to find out more from James about him and his album, so here’s our conversation: Continue reading
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.
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
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
Our friends at Bahaiteachings.org have recently started a podcast called “Cloud9”, which shines a light on the artistry and creative process of artists around the world.
The host of the series is Shadi Toloui-Wallace, the Arts Editor of BahaiTeachings.org and an incredible artist in her own right. We’ve interviewed Shadi before about her music (such as her most recent album, Daughters of the Kingdom), and she was also a guest on the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson. This time we wanted to hear more about Cloud9 and Shadi graciously obliged, so here’s what she shared with us: Continue reading
I was excited when I heard about a recent choir festival that occurred in Johannesburg called “5 Countries, 1 Love”, which was a collaboration of five different choirs from around Africa, who came together to learn and share music with each other and the Baha’i community. They came from Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Africa. Hosted in South Africa by the Joburg Baha’i Choir, the festival was held at the Baha’i National Center in Johannesburg. You may have seen the Joburg Baha’i Choir before, as they participated in Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions with their songs “Be a Baha’i” and “O Thixo”, plus we also featured their “Usifiwe Naw Ruz” music video and their album, Homage.
A few friends who participated in the event told me how uplifting the festival was, so I decided to chat with Page, one of the festival participants, to find out more about it: 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
A little over a year ago I had the bounty of visiting the Holy Land for a few days, and while there, I had the privilege of meeting a young man named Nima Majzoubi, who was on Baha’i Pilgrimage at the time. Nima and I spoke about music and his desire to produce an album, and now friends, here it is!
Nima’s debut album is titled Promised Land, and I’m happy to share my interview with him about the music and inspiration behind the album: Continue reading
Over two years ago we launched Baha’i Blog’s YouTube channel, where we set out to create our very own original Baha’i-inspired video content. Now, about 200 videos later, we have a variety of content to offer, including informative animations like our What are Devotional Gatherings?, our popular music series called Studio Sessions, Baha’i-inspired talks, our short film series on creatives called The Art Of…, and the funny What’s That Word? series aimed at junior youth.
We are excited to be a part of the steadily growing ecosystem of Baha’i-inspired video content online, and we also contribute to this ecosystem by helping and collaborating with others to make specific videos such as the The Last Time I Saw My Father and the short film Switch.
We’ve been trying to reach 10,000 subscribers on our YouTube channel, and we’re almost there, but could really use your help to get us across the line! YouTube has studios located in different parts of the world, and if we have over 10,000 subscribers, we can gain access to them and hopefully use them for some of our future initiatives, so if you can take a few seconds to help us make this happen by clicking here to SUBSCRIBE, we’d really appreciate it! We’d also be very grateful if you could help us spread the word and ask everyone you know who likes Baha’i Blog to help us achieve this goal too!
So now that that’s out of the way (and thank you so much for helping out with that!) let’s get on with counting down our 10 most popular YouTube videos of the year, from Naw-Ruz 2017 to Naw-Ruz 2018, starting with number one: Continue reading