When I was in Los Angeles recently, I had the pleasure of attending a beautiful evening of music at the home of some friends who invited the wonderful Zinnia to perform. Inspired by the writings of the Baha’i Faith, Zinnia’s powerful voice coupled with thought provoking lyrics and soul-stirring melodies immediately took a hold of everyone in the audience and she had us locked in our seats.
Needless to say, as soon as the performance was over, I immediately went up to her to find out more about her and her beautiful music, and she agreed to do an interview for Baha’i Blog, so here it is: Continue reading
Baha’i inspired literary journals are rare but the creative people behind the fantastic website Nineteenmonths have recently launched Vahid.
Vahid showcases fiction, photography, poetry, creative non-fiction, and other visual pieces: it is both beautiful to look at and wondrous to read. Two issues have already been published (available in print or electronically through Amazon) and a third issue is currently accepting submissions.
I was thrilled when Caitlin Castelaz, the founding editor of Vahid and the writing editor for the website, agreed to tell us about this exciting new publication. Continue reading
I’m so excited to share with everyone a wonderful new album called ‘Whither Shall I Turn’ by Bonnie Lisbeth.
Bonnie is based in Hertfordshire, UK, and you may have already heard her music in one of Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions recorded in London called “O Lord Provide” by Bonnie & Noor.
In this beautiful Baha’i-inspired acoustic album, Bonnie shares with us what she calls a little piece of her life over the last five years in the form of music.
I caught up with Bonnie to find out more about her and her album: Continue reading
I have long admired the writing style of Bahiyyih Nakhjavani. Her prose is so masterful that I often read a passage or two and then put the book down, the same way you would put down your fork in order to relish a morsel of truly flavourful food. Bahiyyih Nakhjavani is the internationally bestselling author of The Saddlebag – A Fable for Doubters and Seekers, Paper – The Dreams of a Scribe, Four on an Island, When We Grow Up, Response, Asking Questions: A Challenge to Fundamentalism, and most recently, The Woman Who Read Too Much: A Novel which is a work of creative nonfiction about the life of Tahirih.
In these early days of the Faith where we explore what it means to be a Baha’i artist, Bahiyyih has inspired me with a vision of literary excellence and I am truly honoured to ask her about her recent publication.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview! To begin, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your work as a writer, and about your latest book ‘The Woman Who Read Too Much’?
I’m a member of an ancient tribe, a venerable race whom some now say is bordering on extinction. There are still many of us around, although like other anthropological groups whose belief system runs counter to that of the majority, we tend to be invisible. High finance ignores us. Politics barely knows of our existence anymore, although at one time it was afraid of us. We are scattered across the five continents and come from different backgrounds, different cultures and generations, but we all share one common faith, one universal cause. We call ourselves Readers. Continue reading
Born in the light of the upcoming inauguration of the Baha’i Temple in Chile, I’m so excited about sharing a wonderful new musical initiative by a group of three Baha’is in Santiago, Chile who call themselves “Arrayanes”.
Arrayanes is a trio of close friends – Carlos Medina, Felipe Duhart and Eduardo Rioseco – bound together by friendship, laughter, and love of the Baha’i Faith, who set out to share their soundtrack of the vibrant community life developing around the Continental House of Worship for South America soon to be completed. The result is the creation of an album full of uplifting Latin American melodies and rhythms in pop-folk style, coupled with a compelling spiritual message.
I decided to get in touch with the three friends who have been playing together since 2011, to find out more about this wonderful initiative, and here’s what Eduardo had to say on behalf of the group: Continue reading
I’m so excited to share with everyone a new album by the ever-so-wonderful Tara Ellis called Deliver Me.
Living in Los Angeles, Tara began her musical career as a recording session musician with credits including Black Eye Peas, Common, Eve, and others. While under contract with Sound and Color records, she also released her own commercial album called Proper Lady, along with several EP’s, but for me personally, her best work by far is the contribution she’s made to the world of Baha’i-inspired music.
The first time I had anything to do with Tara Ellis was over 10 years ago when I was working on The Dawnbreaker Collective album with close friend and producer Benny Cassette. When I heard Tara sing the song called ‘Anis’, a song dedicated to a follower of the Bab named ‘Anis’ who was executed with the Bab. I was so deeply moved by the song that even to this day, I find it very difficult to listen to the song because it still has such a profound emotional effect on me.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Tara in LA just before she started recording her new album Deliver Me, and so now that the album is out, I decided to talk to her about it and find out more: Continue reading
The period of junior youth is one of transition and discovery. No longer children and not yet youth, those in this age group are searching for their identity and yearning for a sense of purpose. The Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program material plays a vital role in assisting these adolescents as they develop a concept of service and discover their place in society. According to the Universal House of Justice, these books “…assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization.”
The Discovery series of books, written by Scottish author Jacqueline Mehrabi, acts as the perfect complement to the Junior Youth material. The trilogy has been developed to prepare junior youth for the spiritual obligations that come with reaffirming their Faith in Baha’u’llah – using storytelling to familiarise the readers with certain laws and ordinances including fasting and obligatory prayer. We spoke to Jackie about her latest works and what she hopes the books achieve. Continue reading
If you have the opportunity to attend one of the Sunday morning programs at the Baha’i House of Worship in Sydney, Australia, you may have the fortune of hearing the thundering and captivating voice of Gary Sterling singing a solo part in the choir, giving you goosebumps from head-to-toe.
Born in Savannah, Georgia, USA, Gary Sterling grew up on traditional gospel music, where he started singing in a Baptist Church at the age of ten. His whole family are singers, but he is the only one who ventured into the field of the performing arts, and he says that although he grew up poor in the material world, spiritually he was privileged to be nurtured in the love of God, and Gary talks with a great deal of love and affection for the spiritual lessons his dear Baptist mother taught him.
Now a Baha’i and living in Sydney, Australia, Gary describes his music as inspirational gospel-style music for the nourishment of the human soul. 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