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Siria & Sophie – O Divine Providence!

Sisters Siria and Sophie Rutstein set this quote from a Baha’i prayer to some music.

Here is the full prayer:

“O Divine Providence! Lift to Thy lovers’ lips a cup brimful of anguish. To the yearners on Thy pathway, make sweetness but a sting, and poison honey-sweet. Set Thou our heads for ornaments on the points of spears. Make Thou our hearts the targets for pitiless arrows and darts. Raise Thou this withered soul to life on the martyr’s field, make Thou his faded heart to drink the draught of tyranny, and thus grow fresh and fair once more. Make him to be drunk with the wine of Thine Eternal Covenant, make him a reveller holding high his cup. Help him to fling away his life; grant that for Thy sake, he be offered up.” -Abdu’l-Baha

Baha’is on Instagram – Eclectic Images from Around the World

Here on Baha’i Blog we’ve highlighted a few galleries of beautiful photography, featuring Baha’i Houses of Worship, the Baha’i gardens, images of prayer and reflection and the work of professional Baha’i photographers. But with camera phones, every Baha’i is a photographer! Here’s an eclectic collection of imagery from Baha’is around the world on the social media site Instagram. You can find lots more by searching Instagram community site Iconosquare for #bahai.

From Up There: An Interview with Tom Francis

Tom FrancisAfter leaving his home in New Zealand and performing and touring around Australia for a couple of years, Tom Francis found himself arriving in the Australian coastal town of Byron Bay with a car load of instruments and a head full of new songs. After spending six days in a studio with a jazz drummer and an Aria nominated producer, Tom’s second album From Up There was born.

Tom’s new album of Indie and Soul songs were recorded live in the studio, and it really captures the warmth of his voice fused with the simplistic, yet rich sounds of guitar, vintage keyboard work, and smooth drumming which lend themselves well to the emotionally deep and thought provoking journey the album takes you on. Tom’s cover of Doug Cameron’s 1985 hit Mona with the Children, which is based on the true story of a Baha’i girl named Mona Mahmudnizhad who was hanged in 1983 at the age of 16 because she was a Baha’i, and also his song titled This Is Where I Stand, which was inspired by a poem by Mahvash Sabet and is dedicated to her and the many other Baha’is who are currently imprisoned in Iran, are definitely worth mentioning.

I’ve known Tom for a while now and I’ve always been a big fan of his music, so I decided to catch up with him to ask him a few questions about his musical journey and his new album: Continue reading

Clean Cut, Clean Start – How Nasir is Helping the Homeless

Clean cut clean start 2 - nasir sobhaniZipping through the streets of Melbourne, Australia on his skateboard, Nasir is on the lookout for Melbourne’s less fortunate and homeless population, many of whom are living on the streets. Every Monday Nasir hits the streets seeking out those who are dealing with difficult times by offering them a free haircut.

Nasir’s a barber and a Baha’i, and so he’s passionate about two things: cutting hair and serving others. He calls his initiative ‘clean cut, clean start’, and he knows first hand about what it’s like to need a clean start in life because he went through his own battle with drug addiction in his early 20’s in Canada where he was raised.

Nasir’s like a little brother to me, so you can imagine how excited I was when I caught up with him again in Melbourne and found out about his wonderful service to others. He agreed to let me ask him a few questions about it all and to share it on Baha’i Blog. His service has also been getting a lot of media attention in Australia recently, so I’ve also included a cool video made about his ‘Clean cut, clean start’ initiative below: Continue reading

Inspired Music from Latin American Musical Workshops in Ecuador

Taller de música 1I always love hearing about different Baha’i-inspired initiatives happening around the world, and a couple of friends recently told me about a wonderful musical initiative which took place in Ecuador, and so with the help of Eduardo Rioseco, one of the initiative’s participants, I thought it would be great to share this exciting experience and the music (which can be downloaded for free at the bottom of this post) with everyone! Continue reading

Doug Cameron – Mona With the Children

The official music video for the 1985 hit “Mona With the Children” written and performed by Canadian musician and composer Doug Cameron.

The song is a protest song based on the true story of a Persian Baha’i girl named Mona Mahmudnizhad, who, in 1983, at the age of 16, together with nine other Baha’i women, was sentenced to death and hanged in Shiraz, Iran, because she was a Baha’i. Cameron recreated Mona’s story in this music video which made the pop charts in Canada (#14 for the week of October 19, 1985) and was also nominated for a Juno in 1985.

To find out some background about the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran, you can read this Baha’i Blog article: Some Background to the Persecution of the Baha’is in Iran

Unfortunately the persecution still continues, and you can find out the current state of persecution and find out how you can help through the Baha’i International Community’s website.

So Powerful is the Light of Unity: World Unites after Sydney & Pakistan Tragedies

A girl with a teddy bear in Sydney's Martin Place overlooking the flower memorial dedicated to the victims of the Lindt Café siege by a lone gunman, where Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson were killed on Tuesday 16 December, 2014. (Photo courtesy: JAM Project via Flickr and adapted from original).

A girl with a teddy bear in Sydney’s Martin Place overlooking the flower memorial dedicated to the victims of the Lindt Café siege by a lone gunman, where Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson were killed on Tuesday 16 December, 2014. (Photo courtesy: JAM Project via Flickr and adapted from original).

After 17 hours of uncertainty and distress the heart of my country broke. Every Australian was touched by the hostage crisis that took place in Sydney’s Martin Place where two of the hostages were killed. Less than 24 hours later, 141 people lost their lives, including 132 children in an attack on a school in Pakistan. Amidst the horror of innocent lives being lost, our world community came together in peace and love. As you read this, thousands of souls are gathering to offer up prayers of consolation and healing for those affected by these events as well as the ongoing conflicts all over the world.

Out of so much grief came a brilliant beacon of hope for the worldwide community, for people of every race and religion that we will unite with peace in the face of every attempt to bring us down. #I’llridewithyou started as a single act of kindness towards one individual who would have denied their beliefs and identity for fear of backlash towards the Muslim community following the event in Sydney. One woman offered to accompany another and stand up for her so she could wear her religious attire without fear. From one to another became something that is, in it’s purest form, an act of love in the spirit of unity. A simple hashtag on social media became that beacon of hope and inspired the many to become one. Continue reading

Infinite Bounty: An Interview with Elika Mahony

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Vocalist, composer, pianist, and artist, Elika Mahony has been busy! Elika loves to design and create beautiful things that bring joy to people and enhance their spiritual experience, so somewhere in between raising a family and all of her artistic projects which include things like making prayer beads from Chinese water pearls, silk prayer book covers and hand made specialty cards using her original pieces of art, as well as exquisite Japanese paper and quotations from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, she’s managed to produce seven albums!

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Baha’i Temple in Frankfurt, Germany, and while I was at the bookshop in the Visitors Centre, I saw an array of Elika’s albums displayed on the shelves and I thought to myself “I wish Elika would release a new album so I could do an interview with her about it and her music”. About an hour later when I arrived at my friends place, there was an email from Elika waiting for me about her new album Infinite Bounty… woah… Continue reading

Bahai Arts, Stories, Media & Bahai Religion