Bellwood Press has created a series of books for junior youth and young readers called the Change Maker series which tells the true stories of individuals who worked to bring about positive social change. So far the series includes three titles: Robert Sengstacke Abbott: A Man, a Paper, and a Parade; John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie: A Man, a Trumpet, and a Journey to Bebop; and Richard St. Barbe Baker: Child of the Trees.
Susan Engle authored the first two titles, and I wanted to hear more from her about the book about Dizzy Gillespie (you may also remember Susan from when she shared all about her enchanting tiny books). Susan is a delight and I hope you enjoy this conversation:
Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about who Dizzy Gillespie was?
If you had lived in his neighborhood when he was a child, you might have heard his family and neighbors calling out, using his first two names as is a southern tradition, “John Birks, sit a spell, why don’t you?” He was constantly on the move. When he was in elementary school, he was provided with a trombone for a small school band. From then on, he channeled most of his energy into playing music. Since his arms were too short to play all the notes on trombone, he would often borrow a neighbor’s trumpet, taking turns with Brother Harrington, practicing for hours at a time. As he grew and became better and better, finally leaving South Carolina for Philadelphia and New York City in his teens, he had years of playing and working out sounds and keys for trumpet tunes under his belt.
Trying out for the Freddie Fairfax Band when he was about 18, one of the band members said, “That dizzy little cat’s from down South.” The nickname “Dizzy” stuck. By the time he had helped bring about a new style of jazz called Bebop, performed for more than one President of the United States, traveled around the world for the State Department, and recorded dozens of records, Dizzy was well-known and loved—not only by many of his fellow musicians, but by jazz fans across the U.S. and around the world. He had many official and unofficial titles, including “King of the Trumpet,” “Ambassador of Jazz,” and “Diz the Wiz.” By the end of his life, he had also received many awards including 14 honorary degrees, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys, and the Kennedy Center Honors. He even has a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California.
The Baha’i Blog TV app (or BBTV as we like to call it!) is now available as a website as well! (Woohoo!!!)
Baha’i Blog TV showcases hundreds of Baha’i-inspired videos: just like the Baha’i Blog TV iPhone and Android app, when you go to tv.bahaiblog.net, you’ll find a wide variety of Baha’i-inspired videos handpicked by the Baha’i Blog team! So whether you’re looking for inspiring Baha’i talks, beautiful Baha’i music, or other Baha’i films to share with your friends, we’ve got it covered! Continue reading
I was excited to learn about an awesome new initiative called ‘Nurturing Human Beans’, a series of free activity booklets aimed at helping children put spiritual principles into practice.
These activity books were created by a couple of my friends named Anisa and Dina, both mothers, who were trying to figure out what activities they could do with their children, especially during this time of isolation as a result of the current pandemic. Their first activity booklet is titled ‘LOVE – A Practical Guide for Kids (During Social Distancing)’, and like all their booklets, they aim to connect children and their actions with spiritual principles that bring meaning to the circumstances they find themselves in.
I wanted to learn more about this wonderful free activity booklet and the ‘Nurturing Human Beans’ initiative as a whole, so I got in touch with Anisa and Dina to find out more. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading
We’re super excited to share 100 musicians, musical initiatives and albums featured on Baha’i Blog so far!
It’s been so awesome seeing all the amazing initiatives and talent from all over the world, and so now, in order to celebrate the fact that we’ve featured 100 posts in this category so far, we thought it would be a good time to list them all, starting from our very first interview with producer, Navid Bahmani, to our most recent interview with Persian Baha’i rapper, Ahdi, and everything in between! Continue reading
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
It’s great to see the development of so many wonderful Baha’i-inspired media initiatives around the world, and with podcasts becoming more and more popular globally, it’s no wonder that the creation of Baha’i-inspired podcasts, like our very own Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson, are becoming more prevalent in the online space.
I was excited, therefore, to learn about a new podcast series called ‘The Soul Salons‘, created by Zarrin Caldwell, which aims to explore our spiritual world and the world of the divine, through the works and teachings of prophets, poets, mystics, and philosophers throughout the ages. Whether it’s taking a deep dive into the works of several known – and unknown – English poets, or exploring some of the teachings of Confucius, each episode is designed to reveal insights that can be applied to our own daily lives.
I caught up with Zarrin to find out more about ‘The Soul Salons’ and here’s what she had to say about her new podcast series:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Zarrin, can you tell us a little bit about ‘The Soul Salons’ podcast?
The aim of the podcast series is to look at the work of prophets, poets, mystics, and philosophers throughout the ages whose teachings have focused on our divine, or spiritual, reality. ‘The Soul Salons’ are purposefully kept short – about 12 minutes each – so that they are easy to listen to and to reflect on.
I grew up listening to William Sears read some of the stories from The Dawn-Breakers for children and I am delighted that I can now share that same recording with my own kids. Zoe Meyer originally wrote Stories from the Dawn-Breakers and William Sears’ reading of it is warm, captivating and charming — which makes it a fantastic resource for children and junior youth.
Restored and remastered in honor of the upcoming bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, the the four disc set is now available for purchase.
If you’d like to read more about The Dawn-Breakers, we shared an article that introduces that priceless historical text here on Baha’i Blog. Continue reading
It’s been awesome to witness more and more Baha’i-inspired study guides appear online as individual initiatives, all with their own flavours and variety of resources! One of the newest to hit the online space is called The Crimson Academy and it’s the loving work of Ehsan Bayat. Ehsan reached out to Baha’i Blog to tell us about his online courses: 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
Here at Baha’i Blog we’re passionate about the arts, and we love celebrating the diverse ways in which Baha’is and their friends around the world express the Revelation of Baha’u’llah through various forms of artistic expression.
During the recent global celebrations of the 200th Anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, we witnessed an exciting wave of artistic initiatives in all parts of the world to honor this special period in history, which the Universal House of Justice called “…the single greatest worldwide opportunity there has ever been for connecting hearts to Baha’u’llah”.
Inspired by “this special period in history”, a Baha’i in Austria named Arno Kerche decided to release an album called OMG. Most of the songs on OMG are based on the Baha’i Writings in German, and the style is grunge rock. Baha’i-inspired music in this genre is rare, and Baha’i-inspired music in this genre in German is even more rare, so I decided to get in touch with Arno to find out more about his story and how OMG came to be: Continue reading