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
Relierlescoeurs.org is an initiative of the Regional Baha’i Council for Quebec (Canada) and it features music, readings on a variety of themes such as hope, unity and patience, and art — all with the aim to inspire and uplift our hearts, our thoughts and our actions. Continue reading
I’m super excited to be sharing the news that Baha’i Blog has just hit another massive milestone of having published 300 Studio Sessions so far! (Woohoo!)
There are so many wonderful songs I’d love to share, and I encourage you all to go to the Studio Sessions playlist and play them all, but for now, we thought a good way to celebrate this achievement would be to list one example from each of the locations we’ve filmed in, and then list one example from each of the languages represented so far as well. Continue reading
I call Prince Edward Island off the east coast of Canada home. Recently my community gathered on Zoom to study the 9 May 2020 message from the Universal House of Justice. The letter contains important guidance about navigating through this difficult time, but one particular point struck a chord with me, and I’ve been reflecting on it ever since. The section I’m referring to is this:
…while certain possibilities have been temporarily closed, others have opened up, and new means have emerged for strengthening existing patterns of activity. Flexibility has proven to be an asset, but so has vigilance in ensuring that the primarily local character of community activities is not diluted; efforts to nurture flourishing communities within neighbourhoods and villages and across clusters must continue.
Like most of us, I have embraced a more insular lifestyle in the interest of protecting myself and the more vulnerable members of my community. As someone who lives alone, over the last few months I have joined a few online communities and participated in a number of virtual events. Some are local initiatives: holy day commemorations, Nineteen Day Feasts, devotional gatherings and opportunities to study messages like the May 9 message from the House of Justice; others have been regional—I even attended a Zoom wedding this spring! But many have been international in scope, and while they enrich my life significantly, they also require a considerable investment of time and energy, which begs the question: is my participation online diluting efforts to nurture a flourishing community at the local level? How can I find ways to take what I am learning virtually and use it to invigorate my role within my own community? In exploring these questions, another arose: what exactly am I learning? Perhaps identifying the skills I am developing in these online communities, and what I find so enriching about participating in them will help me to identify practical ways that I can better support local activities too. Continue reading
Rap artist Randy’d’dawn has released an album of Baha’i-inspired music titled New Day. Although unnamed, I first came across his work on the official website of the world-wide bicentenary celebrations of Birth of the Bab with this music video called “The Story of Love – The Bab, The Gate“. His gentle yet profound lyrics and his catchy rhythms were easy to recognize when I stumbled across New Day. I caught up with him to hear all about his work and I hope you enjoy our conversation: Continue reading
In the early days of Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series, The Licata Brothers, Jimmy and Tony, were among some of the first we recorded (they sang “O Thou Divine Providence” and “Is There Any Remover”). I remember these two young brothers coming into the studio in Los Angeles, and when they started singing, I was struck by the folksy, nostalgic, and classic pop-rock sound coming from these two young men. The singer/songwriter duo continue to share their gift of music with others, and they recently released an album called Kindle the Flame. I got back in touch with Jimmy and Tony about their new album, and asked about the process and inspiration behind their art. Here’s what they shared with us: 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.
I thought it might be helpful to highlight some of the Baha’i-inspired online resources for children that we’ve shared on Baha’i Blog over the years as more and more families around the world isolate themselves indefinitely in their homes.
My go-to media is books, but as postal services are affected by the pandemic, I decided to focus this list on online resources that are immediately accessible. I know that this list isn’t exhaustive and I’d love for you to share some of your favorite resources, or resources you recently found, or you’ve created, in the comments section below. Continue reading
Navid Lancaster has produced an orchestral album in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith. The official website for the bicentenary celebrations around the world, www.bicentenary.bahai.org, gives us glimpses of the diversity of artistic expressions that have flourished from all corners of the planet. We’re also really honoured when people reach out to us and tell us what they’ve been working on such as Navid and his album, The Gate. Here’s what he shared with us: Continue reading
Danny Stevenson is a friend I met years ago in Namibia, and some of you may recognize him from his Baha’i Blog Studio Session recorded in the UK called “Crimson Ink”. It’s always great to hear when someone who’s participated in our Studio Sessions series goes on to record their first album, so I was excited when I heard that Danny has released Worlds Within, a devotional album inspired by the Baha’i Writings.
I wanted to find out more about the album and the inspiration behind it, so here’s what Danny shared with me: Continue reading