All posts by Naysan Naraqi. Browse Other Authors

Naysan is the editor of Baha'i Blog and he has worked in various avenues of media for two decades. He’s passionate about using the arts and media to support and explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith and he has produced and collaborated on popular music projects like the "DawnBreaker Collective" and the successful Ruhi-inspired sequence of "MANA" albums. His experience as a producer for CNN was invaluable while working on a number of special projects for the Baha’i World Centre, including the "Building Momentum" and "Pilgrimage: A Sacred Experience" videos. If there’s a media-related Baha’i project out there, chances are that Naysan was involved with it somehow!

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Luces de Guia: A Musical Family Band from Bolivia

If you were following all of the wonderful initiatives and celebrations happening around the world to honor the 200th anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah late last year, you may have come across this music video featuring four junior youth from Bolivia.

Well those vibrant junior youth are part a musical family in Bolivia, who have formed a group called ‘Luces de Guia’, which is Spanish for ‘Lights of Guidance’.

I wanted to get in touch with the family to find out more about their band and their music, and so through the help of some of my family and friends from Bolivia, I was able to interview Casto Limachi Kally, band member father of the youth you see in the video. Special thanks goes out to Jay Pizarro, who helped with the interview and translated it from Spanish to English: Continue reading

The Age We Live In – A Talk by Dr. Robert C. Henderson

In this talk titled “The Age We Live In”, Dr. Robert Henderson reflects on the powerful forces which have been released by the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, forces that are coursing through nations — reshaping global order, creating opportunities for growth, and confronting us with destabilizing challenges. He looks at the United States, where the fraying social fabric is evident in the differentiation of human value by race and class and in the sharp decline of conditions needed for marginalized populations to lead safe, healthy, and dignified lives.

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Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 27: Shadi Toloui-Wallace

Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode I’m joined by my dear friend, Shadi Toloui-Wallace, a singer and songwriter who also hosts her own podcast called ‘Cloud 9’. We talk about striving to be coherent in our everyday lives while trying to be a professional artist, and the creation of Baha’i-inspired music versus secular music. She tells me about the music she’s been working on, the exciting things happening with the youth in her neighborhood, the importance of service, and she shares a little about her family and upbringing, plus some exciting news in her personal life. We talk about Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions and the need for Baha’i-inspired grassroots music, and Shadi sings a beautiful song for us at the end of the podcast, so press ‘play’ and tune in to this fun conversation! Continue reading

Cloud9: Ruha Fifita and the Unifying Tongan Art Form called Ngatu

Cloud9 is a podcast produced by Baha’i Teachings. Its aim is to feature interviews with artists and discuss what inspires them to make a positive contribution to the world. In this episode, Baha’i Teachings’ arts editor Shadi Toloui-Wallace interviews Ruha Fifita, a multi-disciplinary artist from Tonga. Ruha is of mixed Tongan and New Zealand heritage and now lives in Brisbane, Australia, where she works as an artist and volunteers in community based initiatives.  Continue reading

Mercy’s Blessing: A Film by May Taherzadeh

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working on numerous film projects with the wonderful May Taherzadeh, who’s like a dear sister to me, so when she told me about a new film she was making, I couldn’t wait to see it!

‘Mercy’s Blessing’ is the name of May’s recently released film, and it’s not only beautifully made, but this touching story was filmed in the nation of Malawi, where May was raised for many years. The story is inspired by true events, and May is using the film as a tool to create awareness and foster a discourse on issues relating to the equality of women and men, and the importance of educating girls.

The film has already won numerous awards, and I was excited to talk to May about the film for Baha’i Blog.

Before reading on, you can watch the trailer to Mercy’s Blessing here, or scroll down to see it at the bottom of this page.

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Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 26: Syda & Kelsey

Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode I’m in Chicago again, and I’m joined by my friends Syda Segovia Taylor and Kelsey Taylor, an awesome couple who live here in the Chicago area. Syda works as a consultant in issues relating to social justice and Kelsey owns his own civil engineering company. They are both members of the Baha’i Faith and are passionate about working on issues around social justice and youth empowerment. In this conversation we talk about the work they’re doing, issues relating to race, youth, violence, social inequality in the neighbourhood and the lessons they’ve learned. They also really open up and talk about how they’ve separated twice within their 21 years of marriage, what that was like, and the hard work they put in to strengthen not only their relationship, but themselves as individuals.

I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did! Continue reading

The Qiblih of a World Community: A New Photo Book of Baha’i Holy Places

After volunteering in the Holy Land, a dear friend from Brazil, Nabil Sami Silva, was inspired to put together a visually stunning book called ‘O Qiblih de uma Comunidade Mundial’, which translates into English as The Qiblih of a World Community“Qiblih” means “point of adoration” and it is a reference to the Shrine of Baha’u’llah in Bahji, Israel. It is the direction to which Baha’is turn and face during our Obligatory Prayers. (If you’re curious as to why the Qiblih is located in Israel, you may wish to check out our article “Why is the Baha’i World Centre in Israel?”)

Nabil’s book takes us on a breathtaking photographic pilgrimage to the Baha’i holy places and historic sites in Haifa, Akka and their surrounding areas. The book is in Portuguese and it features sweeping photos of the Shrine of the Bab and its terraced gardens, the Shrine of Baha’u’llah and the Mansion of Bahji, the prison in Akka, and many other places that you visit as part of a Baha’i pilgrimage.

You may recognize Nabil’s work: he was one of the contributing photographers to our project, Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith from Around the World, and we also featured his work in this images post, 11 Beautiful Photos of the Baha’i House of Worship in Chile. I wanted to catch up with him and talk about his latest project and I hope you enjoy our conversation too:  Continue reading

Cloud9: Film Producer, Steve Sarowitz and the Making of The Gate

Cloud9 is a podcast produced by Baha’i Teachings. Its aim is to feature interviews with artists and discuss what inspires them to make a positive contribution to the world. In this episode, Baha’i Teachings’ arts editor Shadi Toloui-Wallace interviews Chicagoan Steve Sarowitz about his documentary film The Gate. Steve first heard about the Baha’i Faith in his early 20s while attending college, and was instantly attracted to the Baha’i concept of progressive revelation. Although he was deeply moved by the Baha’i Teachings, he waited almost 30 years before declaring his faith publicly, while on a serendipitous trip to Akka, Israel, where he visited the Baha’i Holy Sites and Shrines. When he returned to Chicago, eager to share his news, he was encouraged by a friend to make a movie about the Baha’i Faith.  Continue reading

The Six Million Dollar Kid – An Interview with Bobby Aazami

A dear friend of mine, Bobby Aazami, mentioned to me a while back that he was working on a monologue called The Six Million Dollar Kid, and if any of you have ever met Bobby, you know that he’s hilarious, and a great storyteller too. “What’s it about?” I asked Bobby. “My experience as a survivor of child sex abuse.” he replied. Oh… that wasn’t the answer I had expected to hear…

I recently had the privilege of attending Bobby’s one-man show called The Six Million Dollar Kid live in Sydney, Australia, and it was an amazing evening of music and storytelling about the heavy topic of child abuse. The event was emotional, and had me laughing one minute and crying the next. Even though it was difficult and confronting, it was still full of love and hope, and thoughts of it still linger in my mind, even now some months later.

Through The Six Million Dollar Kid, Bobby tells his story of being an Iranian boy obsessed with Steve Austin from the American TV show The Six Million Dollar Man, and when the Islamic Revolution breaks out and his family flees to the U.S., he believes it’s all part of his destiny to become the next Bionic Man. Soon after the move, tragedy strikes, and his family asks him to cover up a dark secret.

I wanted to interview Bobby about The Six Million Dollar Kid to find out more about it, and to help bring awareness to a topic that gets swept under the rug far too often: Continue reading