Category Archives Interviews

Portraits in Faith – Video Interviews About Faith from Around the World

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I wanted to share with everyone a wonderful initiative a couple of my friends told me about. It’s called Portraits in Faith, and it’s a series of video interviews and portrait photographs aimed at taking a look into the lives of people of faith around the world.

Created by Daniel Epstein, a Marketing Director who was born and raised a Jew, Portraits in Faith was carried out as a sort of spiritual exercise where Daniel would keep his own faith alive by gaining from the experience of others – regardless of their religion or beliefs. By interviewing and documenting their spiritual experiences and the role of faith in their own personal lives and told in their own words, now, nine years, 27 countries and 400 spiritual journeys later, Portraits in Faith delivers a new Portrait each week.

I decided to get in touch with Daniel Epstein to ask him more about this wonderful initiative: Continue reading

Reach Out: A New Album by Karim Rushdy

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Best known for being one half of the Baha’i hip-hop and RnB duo Nabil & Karim, Canadian-based rapper and producer Karim Rushdy has released a new solo album containing 14 tracks that are sure to get you talking about positive change in the world!

Karim introduces his new album by saying:

It is inevitable that life will throw challenges our way. what’s important is how we chose to deal with our struggle – whatever that may be. I believe that we are all noble beings with infinite potential, we just get bogged down by so many distractions that it sometimes feels impossible to change. This album attempts to capture those trans-formative moments where hopelessness becomes courage, and a pebble becomes a pearl. My hope is that by listening to this, you will be reminded of what you struggle with, yet be inspired by the greatness that you inherently possess to rise above whatever situation you’re in and Reach Out to help someone else in need.

I decided to catch up with Karim and ask him a few more questions about his new album Reach Out: Continue reading

Music with Zest – An Interview with Lemon Soul Trio

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As the Faith grows and develops, the artistic expression of its followers blossoms and grows. Recorded devotional music in French are rare gems so I was ecstatic when I learned about Lemon Soul Trio, a band whose motto is “un antidote contre le blues” (which roughly translates as “an antidote for the blues”) – a clever turn of phrase considering their jazzy, bluesy, world-music style.

Their first album, which bears their band’s name, was released in October 2014. It contains 9 tracks – a propitious number! While the majority of their lyrics are in French, their music is global in its appeal. The group is composed of three very talented musicians: Margaret Harmer, a percussionist; Nicolas Leroy, a guitarist; and Yasmin Farhoumand, a vocalist.

I was eager to find out more and Yasmin agreed to share some behind-the-tunes information on behalf of the band about their exciting work. Continue reading

Happy Heart Kid: Character-building Activity Kits for Kids

Empathy Activity Kit. Photo courtesy of Happy Heart Kid

Empathy Activity Kit. Photo courtesy of Happy Heart Kid

I get really excited when I find out about products for children that aim to assist with their moral and spiritual development. I am so grateful to live in this age of instant communication so I can ask other Baha’i mothers questions about the materials and tools they have created and use in their daily lives but there are so few resources out there that are already thoughtfully assembled and ready to go. So you can imagine my joy in discovering Happy Heart Kid, a company that makes character building activity kits for little ones! I was eager to find out all about it and Archana Jiwnani, the woman behind Happy Heart Kid, was happy to oblige. Continue reading

Music of the Heart: An Interview with Michelle Koay

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It always puts a smile on my face when I find out about individuals from different parts of the world who take the initiative to put the Sacred Writings of the Baha’i Faith to music, and share it with others.

So it gives me great pleasure to share Music of the Heart, the fourth and latest album by Singaporean Baha’i Michelle Koay. All of the ten songs on Michelle’s album consist of the Chinese translations of Baha’i prayers by The Bab, Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha put to music, and the album also includes the karaoke versions of the prayers too.

I decided to catch up with Michelle to find out more about her and this wonderful musical initiative: Continue reading

Townshend International School – A Baha’i-inspired School for Everyone

Townshend International School

“Imagine a school where your teachers are your friends and mentors, looking for the best within you, and helping you see strengths within yourself that you may not have known were there…where helping you develop your character is as important as helping you develop your mind…where helping you be the best person you can be is as important to helping you be the smartest person you can be…a school that sees you essentially as a spiritual being, and nurtures the life of the spirit…”

That school exists, and it’s called Townshend International School.

Townshend International is a Baha’i-inspired school located in a town called Hluboka nad Vltavou in the south of the Czech Republic. It’s about a two hour train ride from the nation’s capital, Prague, and its students come from all over the world to attend. I’ve visited the school and I know many people who have studied there, and I have to say that everyone I know who’s attended Townshend International School can’t say enough good things about it, and how the school had a profound effect on both their spiritual and academic growth.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Vivek Williams, the School Director of Townshend, and I thought it would be great to ask him a few questions to find out more about this wonderful Baha’i-school and to share it with everyone: Continue reading

Sea of Mystery: An Interview with Sonbol

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There are some people whom, when you cross their path, you can immediately tell that they’re passionate about everything they do. Whether it be their work, their faith, their service, their family or their art, they pursue it to their utmost, and Sonbol is one of those people.

Sonbol is a New Zealand based singer and songwriter, and in fact her husband played a big role in my family’s life, as it was him who told my parents about the needs in Papua New Guinea, which then resulted in my family moving to Papua New Guinea and living there for 20 years, so I’ve always been profoundly grateful to them for this.

I first heard Sonbol perform about 20 years ago while I was studying in New Zealand, and our paths have continued to cross in different parts of the world over the years. She’s produced several albums, and the last time I saw her, we were both passing through the US about a year ago, when she was on her way to Prague with Tom Price to record her new album with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

Sonbol has now finished that album titled Sea of Mystery, and so I decided it was time to catch up with Sonbol to find out more about her, her music, and her new album. Continue reading

Love Story – A Matchmaking Site for Baha’is

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In the Baha’i Faith, marriage is not a law, but it’s definitely encouraged, and when we’re getting to know a potential life-partner, we’re supposed to become thoroughly acquainted with the character of the other. But what about the step which comes before getting to know someone? The step of meeting someone who may be a potential life-partner.

Hello online world of dating, and hello Love Story!

Love Story is a new online matchmaking site created by a good friend of mine Dr. Mieko Bond. The site is aimed at helping Baha’is around the world find their future partner, and like most other dating sites, you can sign up to the site and add your profile picture and basic information, but what’s really cool and unique about Love Story, is that they offer a ‘matchmaking service’ where you can privately be ‘matched’ and introduced to potential life-partners.

More and more of my friends have met their life-partner online, and it totally makes sense considering how so many of us seem to have less-and-less time to meet people, and how geographically scattered so many of us all are nowadays, so I decided to get in touch with Mieko to find out more about the site and this initiative: Continue reading

Nabilinho Vol.III: An Interview with Nabil

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Many Baha’is around the world have listened to the smooth and funky sounds of Baha’i RnB/Hip-hop duo Nabil & Karim, but perhaps many haven’t heard the solo albums of these two great artists!

One half of the well known Baha’i duo Nabil & Karim is Nabil Moghaddam – or ‘Nabilinho’ as he’s known by his Portuguese friends and fans. Of Persian descent, Nabil was raised in both Portugal and Canada and he’s a musician, sound engineer and producer who’s passionate about using the arts and music to serve the Faith and to celebrate the Revelation of Baha’u’llah. I’ve spent hours on Skype with him, and I really love his dedication and passion for the Faith, the arts, and life in general.

Nabil has just released his third solo album called Nabilinho Vol.III, where he continues to serve up smooth RnB tracks based on the Baha’i Writings, so I thought it was time to do a Baha’i Blog interview with him to find out more about his new album and the man behind the music: Continue reading

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