As you may have noticed from things like Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series or all of the music-related interviews we’ve done, you’ve hopefully come to realize that here at Baha’i Blog we’re passionate about the use of the arts and music. That’s why I was thrilled when I found out about a wonderful initiative called The Baha’i Song Project, a unique and exciting website that was originally launched in 2011 to foster and encourage the incorporation of music and singing in community life. Created by Dayyan Smith and Nadine Reyhani, the The Baha’i Song Project includes videos of songs from the Baha’i Writings, in a multiplicity of languages, and downloadable lyrics and chords so anyone can learn the melody and the words. The site is easy-to-use and brimming with resources like their YouTube Channel, so I got in touch with Nadine and Dayyan who were happy to share more about this wonderful initiative: Continue reading
Perhaps you’ve already heard Sarah Perceval’s enchanting voice. She has recorded several story-telling audio collections such as Ancient Beauty: Stories from the Life of Baha’u’llah, The Bag of Jewels: A Sparkling Collection of Wisdom Stories Celebrating the Virtues, The Master: Stories of Abdu’l-Baha for Children, and Illumined Youth: Stories of Spiritual Transformation. Her latest project is an album of stories called Women Who Changed the World: Biographical Stories of Inspiring Women. Interwoven with music by Kelly Snook, these audio stories share glimpses of the lives of 10 women from various corners of the world who changed our world for the better — they include Tahirih, Florence Nightingale, and Rosa Parks.
I often get to ask musicians about their albums and their creative processes, but this is my first time interviewing a storyteller. Here’s what Sarah shared with me: Continue reading
Jim Dennis is passionate about pioneering new soundscapes when it comes to Baha’i-inspired music and his latest album, The Daystar of Baha, does just that. Jim has six albums available for download on Bandcamp and his latest is his second album with a deep connection to the Writings of the Baha’i Faith (his first is called Spreading Rays of Light and was inspired by his desire to better memorize the quotations found in the Ruhi books). Jim graciously agreed to tell us more about his music, his creative process, and how it all comes together in his studio: Continue reading
When Melissa Charepoo couldn’t find resources to explain Ayyam-i-Ha, the Fast and Naw-Ruz to her children, she went out and made them herself! I admire her gumption and devotion tremendously! She wrote and illustrated two books: Celebrating Ayyam-i-Ha Around the World and Observing the Fast and Celebrating Naw-Ruz Around the World. I am excited about Melissa’s accomplishments and wanted to hear more about the process of putting these books together.
Baha’i Blog: Hi Melissa! Thank you so much for joining us! To begin, could you please tell us a little about yourself and your work writing children’s books?
I’m so excited about featuring Yosi Mesbah’s album, Cellar and Sky, on Baha’i Blog. It’s a hauntingly honest, uplifting and moving album where her folksy and jazzy timbered voice beautifully sings about dealing with life’s tests and difficulties in a lyrical but down-to-earth way. I can’t help but feel moved when I hear her album, and I had the pleasure of meeting Yosi at the recent Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference in Arizona a couple of months ago. As you know I love asking artists about their creative process and was glad when Yosi agreed to tell us more about her album and her experiences in putting it together. Continue reading
I love giving and receiving cards for Baha’i Holy Days. With Ayyam-i-Ha around the corner, I thought I’d share some of the Baha’i-inspired greeting cards I’ve stumbled upon. If you know of any others, please feel free to add them in the comments section at the bottom! Continue reading
“One body, two souls!” a friend exclaimed when he saw me during my pregnancy. Shoghi Effendi explains that the soul or spirit of a human being is associated with the body at the moment of conception. The soul is a mystery, an intangible, untouchable and yet essential part of who we are. Abdu’l-Baha explains,
The essence of the human soul is clarified from material substances and purified from the embodiment of physical things. It is exclusively luminous; it has no body; it is a dazzling pencil of light; it is a celestial orb of brightness.
I was in a coffee shop when I found out I was pregnant and began reflecting on the transformation that was taking place, as well as this notion of the soul. Describing this discovery, I wrote: Continue reading
Before finding out I was pregnant, I had been speaking with friends a lot about the idea of transformation. Baha’u’llah writes:
…is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself both outwardly and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions?
Pregnancy, the most literal human example of transformation I could experience, inspired a kind of search. By engaging meaningfully with the ever-changing circumstances of our lives, we give ourselves the opportunity to transform. As I clocked the seemingly endless google searches of pregnancy and thought of my own rite of passage into motherhood, I yearned to read about the spiritual dynamics of this transformation. The following drawings and musings are my reflections about my spiritual transformation. Continue reading
Melanie King Dollie is a California–born creative with a background in printmaking and cultural anthropology. Having lived and worked in China, Israel, Latin America, and currently living in Sydney, Australia, she’s passionate about the exploration and use of the arts in helping with social change, so it’s no wonder that Melanie and I hit it off straight away when we fist met recently in Sydney.
Melanie agreed to be interview by Baha’i Blog about her art and the ideas behind her work: Continue reading
This article is for those of you who either feel “terrified”, or maybe just simply “at a loss” when it comes to integrating the arts into your study circles. You know that we are urged by the Ruhi Institute to “include artistic endeavours in the activity of every study circle”, and that we should not think of these endeavours as “entertainment or as an extracurricular activity…but as an essential element enhancing the spiritual development of the participants”.
But how do we do this when we don’t feel necessarily musical, artistic, or dramatic? Continue reading