So Powerful is a touching and genuine short film by Isabel Miranda and Emmanuel (Manny) Lopes. It is a documentary about two individuals from very different cultural backgrounds, Max and Shoghi, who build a deep friendship through music.
So Powerful is a joy to watch and a sweet film to derive inspiration from. I’m grateful to Isabel and Manny for taking the time to tell us about their 17 minute documentary. Here’s what they shared with us: Continue reading
Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series just reached the massive milestone of having published 400 Studio Sessions!
For those of you unfamiliar with our Studio Sessions, it’s a musical initiative where we invite Baha’is and their friends in different parts of the world, to come into a studio to sing an original song based on the Baha’i Writings or letters of Shoghi Effendi or the Universal House of Justice (though we’ve made some rare exceptions to this rule such as this tribute to Mona Mahmudnizhad by Tom Francis where he sings a cover of Doug Cameron’s “Mona With the Children”). We then make these videos and audio recordings available on our YouTube Channel and SoundCloud page for everyone to listen to!
Studio Sessions started around five years ago and we were 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.”
Straight outta Phoenix, Arizona, Baha’i rapper Colby Jeffers has been busy continuing to pump out songs, and it’s been inspiring to see his musical projects multiply and develop since we interviewed him about his last album Wizdome. We’ve featured his work on Baha’i Blog over the years which include songs like a rap in honor of the Twin Holy Days, or a virtual musical Ridvan celebration alongside Karim Rushdy, among many other initiatives and songs. This time, we’re interviewing Colby about his latest album called Created Noble, which covers topics close to his heart, and here’s what he had to say:
Lucie Dubé is a singer, songwriter, and composer originally from Sherbrooke, Quebec (Canada). For over 25 years she has been composing and performing music all over the world. Her most recent musical initiative is an album titled Hommage à Abdu’l-Baha, which is French for “Tribute to Abdu’l-Baha” as this work was created in honor of the centenary of His Passing. The album includes 13 Baha’i Writings sung in French by a choir (comprised of 40 singers and soloists) accompanied by piano, string quartet and flute.
Lucie graciously agreed to tell us about her album. Here is what she shared:
What Hast Thou Done? is an album by Vedad Theophilus. It’s a collection of sacred writings and poetry and its songs perfectly marry Flamenco and Persian musical styles.
It’s not every day that you come across such unique music so I was delighted when Vedad agreed to tell us more about her album. Here’s what she shared:
Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a fifth generation Baha’i, beginning with an early believer, Haji Mulla Mihdi-i-‘Atri, the father of the poet and martyr Varqa. For generations my family esteemed the arts of music and poetry. As everyone, while still in my mother’s womb, I listened to the rhythmic beating of my mother’s heart in the darkness. As a child, I awoke early each dawn to the sweet melody of prayers chanted by my father. I was persuaded to memorize many prayers and I developed a passion for chanting and singing as a young child. If I was not singing, I could be found painting and drawing, evolving into another passion which later became my University major.
I feel fortunate to have begun singing so early in my life. Much research demonstrates that musical training enhances a child’s brain development by producing physical changes in brain structure and function. Abdu’l-Baha recommends that music be taught in the school “because of its power to uplift the spirit and to brighten life with enjoyment.”
Although I grew up in a Persian culture, I quickly became attracted to the Flamenco music of the Gypsies after my family and I immigrated to Spain. I found an underlying coherence between native Persian music and Spain’s Flamenco music. What began as an experiment in blending the two musical traditions together evolved into a unique style of sharing the beauty and truth of spiritual reality.
One of the prayers of Baha’u’llah that I first memorized as a child begins with the words, “Blessed is the spot.” Over the years, we’ve shared several Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions based on this prayer that are in different languages and sung by Baha’is in different locations and in this post, we’d like to share them all in one list.
Here is the prayer by Baha’u’llah:
Blessed is the spot, and the house, and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified.
So without further ado, here are nine Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions based on the “Blessed is the Spot” prayer: Continue reading
In preparation for the release of his new album in honor of the centenary of the Passing of Abdu’l-Baha, Home of Light, singer-songwriter Luke Slott took viewers on a 19 day journey of storytelling and music during the month of the Baha’i Fast.
Luke’s wonderful recounting of the events and stories of the history of the Baha’i Faith, coupled with his beautiful music, was captured in a series of 20 videos called ‘A Story of Light’. I wanted to connect with my dear friend Luke to find out more about this wonderful initiative and to share it with our readers. Here’s what he had to say: Continue reading
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
Prayer is an integral part of Baha’i life, and Abdu’l-Baha said that “the most blessed condition is the condition of prayer and supplication”. We are so fortunate to have so many different prayers Revealed by Baha’u’llah, the Bab and Abdu’l-Baha, and a prayer which I personally love is the following prayer for healing by Baha’u’llah:
Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.
With so much going on in the world, I’m sure we could all use this prayer and also offer it for others as well, so I thought it would be nice to share a selection of songs from our Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions series, which are based on the above prayer for healing by Baha’u’llah: Continue reading
The Sign of Love is the beautiful new album by New Zealand singer/songwriter, Grant Hindin Miller. Grant has already released several albums over the years, and his songs are loved by so many around the world.
Grant’s ability to tell stories through his music is amazing. I remember the first time I heard one of Grant Hindin Miller’s songs some 20+ years ago while I was in New Zealand. A friend played me “Nine Lighted Candles“, a song about Sulayman Khan Tabrizi, one of the followers of the Bab who was publicly tortured and killed. Halfway through the song, tears were streaming down my face; Grant’s ability to captivate the listener as the story unfolds, combined with his beautiful melodies, is an absolute work of art.
Grant Hindin Miller has also written three feature films, three books, a stage-musical, and teaches creative writing. I’ve been blessed to have gotten to know him over the years, and he recorded “O Son of Dust” and “Humble Thyself” for Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series. I also interviewed Grant for the Ink of Light Writers’ festival. When I heard about his new album, I had to reach out to find out more and share it with the world: Continue reading