More than 25 years ago I was praying at the Mansion of Mazra’ih, asking God for guidance on what to do next as I was leaving the Baha’i World Centre after two and a half years of service. While I was thinking of pioneering or travel-teaching, instead, I was startled to hear the word “music” pop into my head. That was so out of left field that it felt like a very clear answer to my prayer. Since then, I have been devoting more and more of my time and studies to music. Over time, I’ve been asking myself about the importance of music in the Baha’i Faith. Here is a small snippet of what I’ve learned so far. Continue reading
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
The Universe Within is a creative initiative that brings artists from diverse walks of life together to explore the pressing topics of our times by creating original art, animation, and music inspired by quotations from the Baha’i Writings. The creations thus far explore, for example, racism, the prison of self, and life after death.
The Universe Within is unique from other artistic expressions we’ve featured on Baha’i Blog previously and we were excited to hear from the team behind The Universe Within about the initiative. Here’s what they shared with us: Continue reading
You may recognize the name James Mohajer, or perhaps you’re familiar with his voice! He participated in three Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions that were recorded in London: “O Thou Candle”, “Let Your Joy” and “Apple of Mine Eye”. We also interviewed him about his album Ascend (you can read that interview here on Baha’i Blog).
It’s a joy and a pleasure to hear from James again, this time about his latest album The Orb. Here’s what James said: Continue reading
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:
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
I’m really excited to share a special arts initiative by the Ballarat Baha’i Community. In honour of the centenary of the Baha’i Faith in Australia
, we have invited renowned Ballarat musicians Geoffrey and George Williams to create a virtual choir
using a choral piece based on the Writings of Baha’u’llah. It is a song that they composed for the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah in 2017 and now, as a virtual collaboration, my Baha’i community is really hoping the song can foster connection, bind hearts, and induce joy and happiness during a time when feelings of isolation and sadness are rife around the world.
The choral piece is taken from Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah:
Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face…Be an ornament to the countenance of truth…a breath of life to the body of mankind.
The end result is bound to be spine-tingling, and my community and my friends are so excited to see the final production. Submissions are encouraged from everyone. Whether you believe in God or not is irrelevant. Whether you have a lot of experience singing or not is irrelevant. Whether you are Baha’i or not is not the point. One thing is for certain – knowing that people will be coming together to sing words centred around generosity, gratitude, compassion and joy is sure to bring about some much-needed relief amidst a global crisis, not to mention the inspiration we are all bound to gain. For as Baha’u’llah says:
We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your souls, a means whereby they may he lifted up unto the realm on high.
I’ve included some details on how to participate in the virtual choir below but before I get to that, I wanted to share how this project came about and what I’ve been reflecting on in the process. Continue reading
The Baha’is of the United Kingdom have released an elegant website dedicated to sharing prayers and resources for elevated conversations. The site is called Elevate. This is how they describe the project: Continue reading
Nikolai Clavier is the creative mind behind The Trumpet Blast, a musical score for a play about the life of Baha’u’llah by that same name. Performed in Norway to celebrate the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, this 15 track instrumental album includes pieces titled ‘Ridvan’, ‘The Heavenly Maid’, and ‘The Mansion of Bahji’, among many others.
Nikolai Clavier’s Trompetstøtet, or The Trumpet Blast, premiered in Beitostølen, Norway in July of 2017. Each song accompanies a scene about the life of Baha’u’llah but listening to the soundtrack, even without the dialogue and action of the play, is nevertheless a dramatic experience. Nikolai gladly agreed to tell us more about this musical arrangement and the performance it accompanied. I hope you enjoy our conversation! Continue reading
It is humbling to see such an incredible flourishing of creative expression blossom in honour of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith! You can feast your eyes and your ears on works of art, poetry, music, videos and dance from all corners of the planet on bicentenary.baha.org. Continue reading