Category Archives Interviews

‘What Good Will Come’: A Children’s Book by Jana Hannigan

What Good Will Come is a new children’s book written by Jana Hannigan and illustrated by Henry Warren. It shares a heartwarming story about problem solving and relying on God during times of tests and difficulties.

What Good Will Come tells the story of Pasha Dev and his beloved cat, Mustafa, who live in Delhi, India. One night Mustafa goes missing, and Pasha ends up sleeping next to his window in the hope that Mustafa will return. When Pasha wakes the following morning, he finds that he has come down with a cold and that Mustafa has not returned. Despite feeling unwell, Pasha must travel to the Baha’i House of Worship, where he will serve as the keeper of people’s shoes—a responsibility he takes very seriously. During his service, Pasha learns to put his faith in prayer and God, and comes to realize that tests and challenges can lead to some exciting, life-changing opportunities.

Jana Hannigan is the wordsmith behind this children’s book and she graciously agreed to tell us how the story came together:  Continue reading

An Interview with Ramine Yazhari About ‘Rejoice’

Ramine Yazhari has released a devotional album in honour of the bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah. The album is titled Rejoice and its melodies are soaring (you can stream it here on Bandcamp). Last year, Ramine released a single called ‘This Newborn Child’ and I listened to it over and over and over again, finding inspiration each time I heard it. You may also recognize Ramine’s voice from his devotional album dedicated to the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s travels to the West, Long Journey. I was glad to learn that Rejoice had been released and Ramine very graciously agreed to tell us a little about how the album came together. I hope you enjoy our conversation:

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Circling Spirits: A New Album by Roman Orona

(Photo credit: Robert Doyle/Canyon Records)

Raised in the culture of his Apache roots, Roman Orona, also know as “Ish Hish Itsaatsu” which means “One Who Dances With Eagles” in Apache, is a Native American performer and musician whose new award-winning album of Apache songs called Circling Spirits, expresses his people’s sacred values and acknowledges the spirits of the ancestors who sacrificed their lives, families and lands, so that their tribal communities could endure.

I had the pleasure of meeting Roman while briefly living in Arizona, so I decided to catch up with him to talk about his new album and how his faith as a Baha’i and as a Native American heritage have shaped his life and his music. Continue reading

‘Economics of the Future Begins Today’: A Book by Badi Shams

Badi Shams has combined his love of economics and his ardor for the Baha’i Teachings in his book Economics of the Future Begins Today. This book explores some possible ideas for how we can implement Baha’i principles in our daily economic dealings. He gave us a little teaser in his article Practical Economic Suggestions for Everyday Use and my interest was piqued. Badi lovingly agreed to tell us more about his book.

Baha’i Blog: To begin, could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in economics?

I was born in Iran and became a Baha’i at the age of 15 but I didn’t realize the importance of the Faith till at 19 I had a serious accident that almost blinded my eye but opened my spiritual eye. At the time, 1974, there was a plea for pioneering which I obeyed and went to India. There I studied, learned English and tried to serve in various capacities that I could. I made a change of direction in my education from engineering to economics because I dreamt of doing my Ph.D in Baha’i economics and that was my idea of service to the Faith. In order to do that I had first to do my Bachelors and Masters degrees. After completing those I wrote to the beloved House of Justice to request the Baha’i Writings on economics. It informed me that the Research Department did not have a compilation on economics and that maybe I should collect the Writings. It also reminded me that there is no Baha’i economic system so the best title for my research would be “Study of the Baha’i Writings on Economics.” This was the 1970’s and there was no computer or internet so I spent a few years collecting and cataloguing the Writings related to economics which was published by the Baha’i Publishing Trust of India as a compilation in 1989 called “Economics of the Future”. I couldn’t finish my academic research because I had to leave the country and so I came to Canada in 1988 after the dedication of the Baha’i Temple in India.  Continue reading

Serenades & Odes to a Cracked World (Part 1): A New Album by Jody Cooper

Jody Cooper is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and performer who draws his musical inspiration from an array of musical icons ranging from The Beatles to Mike Oldfield, and his thought-provoking lyrics are drawn from life experiences, as well as being a Baha’i.

With three albums and an EP already under his belt, this year Jody released a new concept album called Serenades & Odes to a Cracked World (Part 1), so we decided to catch up with Jody to find out more about the album and his music. Continue reading

Sole Desire Serve Cause: A Book by Don Brown

Don Brown has written a memoir of Gale and Jameson (or Jamie, as he was fondly called) Bond, two Knights of Baha’u’llah who pioneered to the Canadian north. It’s called Sole Desire Serve Cause and it’s a new George Ronald publication (you can purchase it here).

The incredible stories of the Baha’is who sacrificially arose to spread the teachings and principles of the Baha’i Faith in remote and desolate places never cease to uplift and inspire and I am really excited that Gale and Jamie’s story is now in print. I love to get an insider’s story on new Baha’i-inspired publications and Don graciously agreed to tell me about his new book. Here’s what he shared:

Baha’i Blog: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Don. To start things off, could you please tell us a little about yourself and your work as a writer?

Professionally I worked as a management consultant throughout my career providing organization systems and strategic planning services to public and private sector businesses in Canada and in Jamaica where we pioneered for five years from 1982 to 1987. My wife, Christine and I served at the Baha’i World Centre from 1991 to 1996. Throughout my career I did extensive report writing. In 2001/2002 I wrote and self-published a book To Build Anew: Creating Baha’i Inspired Enterprises.

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‘The Apostle of Peace’: A New Reference Book about Abdu’l-Baha

George Ronald has recently released the first in a fascinating historical two-volume set by Amin Egea. It’s called The Apostle of Peace: A Survey of References to Abdu’l-Baha in the Western Press, 1871-1921 and it offers a comprehensive look at the news headlines and press articles featuring Abdu’l-Baha. The first volume, which has been printed and is now available for purchase here on Amazon, covers the years 1871-1912 and ends with Abdu’l-Baha’s return to Europe after His travels in North America.

It is difficult to imagine what it would have been like to see Abdu’l-Baha’s name appearing in all the major Western papers but thankfully Amin Egea dove into that time period in order to put together these books for us. Here is a little bit of the story behind how The Apostle of Peace came to be:  Continue reading

An Interview with Elika Mahony About “The Ancient Beauty”

The melodious Elika Mahony has composed an album, titled The Ancient Beauty, in honour of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah. Elika’s voice has a way of elevating your soul and this celebratory album is particularly uplifting.

Elika graciously shared with us what it was like to put together this album for this historic celebration.  Continue reading

Twin Witnesses – A New Book about the Bab and Baha’u’llah by Tom Lysaght

To help Baha’is with their personal bicentennial goals and to help share the story of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, award-winning playwright Tom Lysaght has just published a new short book called Twin Witnesses. Just 35 pages, and only $5, Twin Witnesses is a concise and inexpensive dramatic narrative which looks at the history of the Founders of the Baha’i Faith, the Bab and Baha’u’llah, and it is ideal for sharing with others.

Professor Nader Saiedi wrote that Twin Witnesses is “A captivating account of a dramatic summer that questioned traditionalism and patriarchy, and celebrated the resurrection of the human spirit,” and actor Rainn Wilson wrote, Twin Witnesses is an expertly written look into the parallel histories of the founders of the Baha’i Faith, the Bab and Baha’u’llah. It evokes the spiritual passion and political complexity of mid-nineteenth century Persia in beautiful prose. Makes a GREAT gift for friends of the Faith. I can’t recommend it more highly.”

As soon as I received my copy, I decided to catch up with Tom Lysaght to find out more about the book and why he decided to write it:  Continue reading

Equality: A Persian Hip-Hop Album by Pouya Ebrahimi

As someone who’s a huge fan of hip-hop and rap, and someone who listens to a lot of international hip-hop too, I was so excited to hear the beats and rhymes of Persian rapper Pouya Ebrahimi as he took the stage at the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference last year in Arizona, USA.

Pouya moved to the U.S. two years ago as a Baha’i refugee from Iran, and he recently released an album called Tasaviye Hoqooq which in Persian means ‘Equality.’ I decided to catch up with Pouya to find out more about him and his music, and because he was more comfortable speaking in Persian, I interviewed him in Persian and then translated it into English. Here’s the interview: Continue reading