Category Archives Interviews

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

Azadeh & Mark Perry’s Book ‘Our Friend Mona’

Our Friend Mona is a new biography about Mona Mahmudnizhad, an Iranian teenager who was killed 35 years ago because of her beliefs, such as the universal spiritual education of children.

Mona was a remarkable young woman, known for her love of children, her dedication and devotion to the principles of the Baha’i Faith, her courage, and her sweet voice. She was arrested and eventually executed along with nine other Baha’i women in Shiraz; they were forced to watch each other hang in a final attempt to persuade them to recant their Faith. Mona, the youngest of the women at only 16 years old, asked to go last. She was killed on June 18, 1983.

Azadeh Rohanian Perry knew Mona and Our Friend Mona is a biography of this radiant lion-hearted young woman. Co-written with her husband, Mark Perry, Our Friend Mona shares poignant details of Mona’s story that you may never have read before. I remember watching Doug Cameron’s music video Mona With the Children when I was a child, and her story is etched on my heart. I am so thankful to Azadeh (or Azi, as she is affectionately known) and Mark to creating this book and for taking the time to tell us a little bit about it:

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The Unquenchable Flame: A Musical Drama About Tahirih

The Unquenchable Flame is a musical drama composed by Russell and Gina Garcia and performed principally by Tierney Sutton, a masterful vocalist. It tells the story of Tahirih, heroine and 19th century Iranian emancipator of women’s rights (you can read more about her in this Baha’i Blog article).

Composed and recorded in the 1990’s, this incredible contemporary opera was never released until recently when Gina, and her granddaughter Kristy Corwin, fulfilled Russ’ dying wish that this score be made available to the world. In this interview, Kristy tells us a bit more about this musical drama, its composers, and its exciting release: 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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Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani: With Newly Translated Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha

A literary gem has just been released: it is brilliant not only because it tells the life story of an incredible person and is written by an incredible person, but, most significantly, it includes newly translated tablets of Abdu’l-Baha. Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani: With Newly Translated Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha is a loving tribute by Mr. Ali Nakhjavani about his illustrious father who translated many Baha’i tablets and letters into Russian. Mirza Ali-Akbar-i-Nakhjavani also had the great honor of traveling with Abdu’l-Baha as part of His entourage on His journey through North America in 1912. Abdu’l-Baha’s fondness for this young man is evident not only in the details of their interactions but in the many tablets that the Master addressed to him.

Mr. Ali Nakhjavani is also distinguished in the services he has rendered the Baha’i Faith over the years: Mr. Ali Nakhjavani has served on the Universal House of Justice, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Central and East Africa, as an Auxiliary Board member, and in the 1950’s, as a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran.

Mr. Ali Nakhjavani shared some precious words with us about his new book. To say that we are deeply honoured and immensely grateful for this would be the understatement of the year. We hope you cherish this interview as much as we do:  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

New Book ‘Did You Ever Wonder: A Story About the Bab as a Child’

It is not very often that I get to promote the Baha’i-inspired work of an author who lives nearby but Dr Will van den Hoonaard lives only a couple of Canadian cities away! He recently published a children’s book about the Bab when He was a child. The book is titled Did You Ever Wonder: A Story About the Bab as a Child. Children love to hear stories about other children and I think the approach Will has taken is brilliant. He cheerfully agreed to share with us how this book came to be and in honor of the Declaration of the Bab, we want to share these details with you:

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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

New Documentary Film ‘The Gate’: An Interview with Steve Sarowitz

About a year ago I got a call from Rainn Wilson asking me to have a chat with a guy who wanted to create a feature length documentary about the Bab. His name was Steve Sarowitz. He was an entrepreneur and had absolutely no experience in getting a documentary made, plus he had only recently become a member of the Baha’i Faith, but we had an amazing conversation for a couple of hours over the phone about the idea, and I have to say that his enthusiasm and determination for making the documentary was contagious!

Now a year later, Steve actually did it! He made the film, and I’m so excited to let everyone know about it! It’s called The Gate: Dawn of the Baha’i Faith, and it’s a visually stunning documentary, rich with interviews and reenactments. It tells the story of the life of the Bab and describes some of His Teachings. Engaging, captivating and creatively put together, this film will be of interest both to those who have heard of the Bab and His Teachings, and those who have never heard of Him.

We just featured Steve Sarowitz on the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson, and I also asked him a few questions to find out more about The Gate: Dawn of the Baha’i Faith. Before we get to that, if you haven’t done so already, I recommend you watch the movie’s trailer here, and then move on to the interview:  Continue reading

The Trumpet Blast: Music Inspired by the Life of Baha’u’llah

Nikolai Clavier is the creative mind behind The Trumpet Blasta musical score for a play about the life of Baha’u’llah by that same name. Performed in Norway to celebrate the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, this 15 track instrumental album includes pieces titled ‘Ridvan’, ‘The Heavenly Maid’, and ‘The Mansion of Bahji’, among many others. 

Nikolai Clavier’s Trompetstøtet, or The Trumpet Blast, premiered in Beitostølen, Norway in July of 2017. Each song accompanies a scene about the life of Baha’u’llah but listening to the soundtrack, even without the dialogue and action of the play, is nevertheless a dramatic experience. Nikolai gladly agreed to tell us more about this musical arrangement and the performance it accompanied. I hope you enjoy our conversation! Continue reading