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
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
Participants of the 2017 European Baha'i Choral Festival gather outside the European Baha'i House of Worship in Germany. (Photo: Zarrin Munusamy)
In a few weeks (May 29-June 2), participants from across Europe will come together at the European Baha’i House of Worship in Germany, to join voices and take part in the European Baha’i Choral Festival! This is the second year the event is taking place, and besides the singing and sharing of glorious music with others, the event aims to strengthen the bonds of fellowship and harmony amongst Baha’is and their friends across Europe.
I caught up with the festival’s musical director, Ameli Dziemba, to find out more about the event and to hear about her experiences: Continue reading
We live in amazing times; I’ve become friends and have been able to collaborate with some fantastic people online. Alan and Lorraine Manifold are one such example. It’s been a pleasure to work together with them. For example, Naysan interviewed Alan about his mystery novel (that features a Baha’i detective!) titled Consulting Detective and they wrote an article called “It’s OK to Be a Feminist” that involved some insightful consultations about the equality of women and men and how we write about this weighty teaching on a personal Baha’i-inspired blog — there’s a lot that happens behind the scenes here at Baha’i Blog and if you’re ever curious about the principles and ideas that guide our work, check out our Editorial Values.
I recently learned about the “Baha’i Composition Blast”, a new brainchild of Alan and Lorraine in honor of the upcoming Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, and it was fascinating to hear about it. Here’s what they shared with us: Continue reading
Over three 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, with over 350 videos on our channel, we have a variety of content to offer, including informative animations like What is the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program?, 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? educational 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 Last Time I Saw My Father and the short film Switch.
Over the last Baha’i year (from Naw-Ruz 2018 to Naw-Ruz 2019), Baha’i Blog’s YouTube channel had over 1.4 million views, and we thought it would be interesting to count down our 10 most popular YouTube videos of this last year, starting with number ten: Continue reading
It’s been eight years of Baha’i Blog, and we’re super excited to have come this far! The Baha’i Blog team is honored to be able to continue creating Baha’i-inspired content in the online space and we hope you’ve enjoyed our content and found it useful, informative, and inspiring over the years.
With so much going on here at Baha’i Blog, there’s no way we can cover everything we want to share in this article, but here’s a glance of some of the things we’ve been working on over the last Baha’i year: 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