Category Archives Interviews

Immerse: An Interview with Bahareh Khademi

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Born to Persian parents, and brought up in Australia, Bahareh Khademi feels fortunate to have been raised in Australia, not taking for granted the freedoms that wouldn’t be available to her in her parents’ homeland – among them, the right to free speech and to education.

Bahareh first discovered her passion for music at the age of 16 when she auditioned for the school musical ‘Les Miserables’. Singing in the chorus, she fell in love with the songs and, more significantly, with the potential that music has to ignite the heart of others.

Bahareh has just released her debut album called “Immerse” — its title being inspired by the Writings of Baha’u’llah:

Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.

I recently had the pleasure of attending her album launch in Sydney, Australia, and rather than it simply being a performance, the atmosphere of the evening was more like a beautiful devotional gathering, and the audience was swept away by her angelic voice and musical grace.

I decided to catch up with Bahareh about her musical endeavours and her debut album: Continue reading

The Bassoon King: An Interview with Rainn Wilson about his Autobiography

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Baha’i actor Rainn Wilson, who’s best known for playing the role of Dwight Schrute in the hit TV show The Office, and founder of the ever popular “Soul Pancake“, has just released his autobiography called The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

In The Bassoon King, Rainn openly and honestly “chronicles his journey from nerd to drama geek (“the highest rung on the vast, pimply ladder of high school losers”), his years of mild debauchery and struggles as a young actor in New York, his many adventures and insights about The Office, and finally, Wilson’s achievement of success and satisfaction, both in his career and spiritually, reconnecting with the artistic and creative values of the Baha’i faith he grew up in.”

Every time I’m in Los Angeles, I always look forward to catching up with Rainn and getting what I like to call “my Rainn fix”. There are some people whom when you spend time with them, you walk away afterwards feeling like not only did you have fun, but that you learned something new, and that you just had a really nice ‘wholesome’ experience, and spending time with Rainn is not only like that, but he also always has me feeling enthused, encouraged, and energized to continue to serve.

When I was last in LA, Rainn spoke to me about his new upcoming book, and he agreed to do an interview with Baha’i Blog once the book was out, so here it is: Continue reading

Child of Mine: A Baha’i Inspired Composition for Expectant Parents

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There is a wealth of information and differing opinions about pregnancy-related issues online and in print, so much so that expectant parents often feel quite overwhelmed when sourcing information. When I first fell pregnant, I avoided reading like the plague in fear that I would get confused and (more) anxious about my impending role as a parent. I decided the best way to source information was to turn to the Writings, and most other things could be learnt on the job.

A dear friend of mine, Kamelia Khoshmashrab has made it easy to find information about pregnancy-related matters from a Baha’i perspective with the release of her compilation Child of Mine. The publication brings together Baha’i Writings on a range of topics and is the perfect go-to resource for anyone who is planning, expecting or has just given birth to a baby.

Child of Mine is divided into five chapters as follows: pre-pregnancy matters, matters within pregnancy and breastfeeding, infant health, matters after birth and the spiritual environment of infants. Topics covered include (but are not limited to) chastity and the purpose of marriage, IVF and surrogacy, miscarriages, vaccinations, naming a child, godparents, and postpartum depression.

Baha’i Blog spoke to Kamelia to find out more about the new release: Continue reading

Spirit of Life: An Interview with Steve Lockie

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There are so many hidden gems of Baha’i-inspired music scattered around the world, and now hailing from “the land of the long white cloud” (New Zealand), I’m happy to introduce to everyone the wonderful musical works of Steve Lockie.

Steve Lockie has just released his fourth album titled Spirit of Life, and it’s clear from his music that he’s not only a seasoned singer and songwriter, but he’s a natural at it, and it’s great that he’s shared his talents with us by exploring the Baha’i revelation through the art of his music in the short seven years he’s been a Baha’i.

I decided to touch base with Steve about his music and his latest album: Continue reading

Champions of Oneness: A New Book about Louis Gregory

There are countless heroes and heroines in the Baha’i Faith, all who devoted their very lives for the progress of the Cause. Luckily, we have access to innumerable works of literature which profile these heroic figures and provide inspiration for us to serve the Cause in our own way. One such work, Champions of Oneness: Louis Gregory and His Shining Circle, does just that.

Written by American author Janet Ruhe-Schoen, the book focuses on the years between 1898 and 1921 and portrays the lives of a handful of Baha’i pioneers of race amity in the United States. At great personal sacrifice, these early Baha’is traveled extensively to share the teachings of their newfound Faith, even if it meant facing severe challenges from those resistant to change.

We caught up with Janet to find out more about her work and the inspiration behind her latest book. Continue reading

Noite De Estrelas No Céu – An Interview with Joze Marcelino

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While I was in Europe last year, I had the pleasure of meeting the talented Joze Marcelino, and he kindly gave me a copy of his latest album Noite De Estrelas No Céu, which in Portuguese means “A Night of Stars in the Sky”.

Currently living in Portugal, Joze Marcelino is an accomplished singer and songwriter originally from Angola, and he shares and uses his music as a voice to express his inner beliefs rooted in the Baha’i Faith of ‘unity in diversity’ and the world being one country and mankind its citizens. He plays acoustic and electric guitar, as well as the guitalele, and he has appeared on a number of television and radio channels, and has also played as an opening act for popular Angolan singers such as Don Kikas.

As you’ve probably noticed from Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series, I love listening to Baha’i-inspired music from around the world, and so I was happy when Joze Marcelino agreed to do an interview with Baha’i Blog: Continue reading

Eleven – A New Book by Paul Hanley

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A friend of mine in Australia told me how he had read a book which had such a profound impact on him, and in fact he felt was so important for everyone to read, that he bought dozens of copies of it to give to all of his staff. That book was Eleven, by Paul Hanley.

Critically acclaimed as “the read of our times”, the author of Life of Pi Yann Martel said “Every concerned citizen of this planet needs to read this book.”.

Paul Hanley’s Eleven “…is an inspired map of the road ahead, drawn in lines of truth we turn our gaze away from every day. More than that, though, this sweeping book makes an audacious but coherent and thoroughly-researched case for the possibility that, by awakening to the reality of what we are doing to the earth and our own souls, we may already be getting ready to walk the road with our ‘better angels of our nature’ fully in charge.

I had the fortune of meeting Paul Hanley at the recent 2015 Association for Baha’i Studies Conference in Orange County, California, where he was the recipient of the 2015 Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Book Category.

Paul Hanley agreed to do an interview with Baha’i Blog: Continue reading

A Nightingale’s Cry: A New Album by Mea

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A couple of years ago, Baha’i Blog featured a great Baha’i-inspired musical initiative out of Finland called Refuge, and now one of the participants of that initiative, Mea Karvonen, has just released her very own debut album entitled A Nightingale’s Cry.

A Nightingale’s Cry is an instrumental album of piano pieces inspired by the Baha’i Faith, and the tracks comprise of both original pieces composed by Mea, and also ones inspired by songs composed by other Baha’i musicians such as Tom Price, Jean Rebstock Murday and others which have touched her in one way or another, like the piece called Grace & Favor, based on an Iranian Baha’i song she’s been singing since she was a child. Additionally, Mea has also included a download of the sheet music to these songs as well, which is always great!

I recently caught up with Mea to find out more about her music and her debut album: Continue reading

Esto es Fe: A New Album by Leonor Dely & Millero Congo

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Esto es Fe (which is Spanish for “This is Faith”) is the new album from Leonor Dely & Millero Congo, a Baha’i-inspired group coming from the musically rich South American nation of Colombia.

You may have heard the music of Leonor Dely & Millero Congo in the Frontiers of Learning video in the segment about Colombia, and Esto es Fe is Leonor Dely & Millero Congo’s fifth album, which takes the listener on a spiritual journey that combines drums, vocals, native flutes and harmonies releasing the sounds of Colombia’s rich Afro-Latin heritage. The album is a continuation of four previous albums: Amame, Talisman, Ora Tambo, and Makerule – all produced by Grammy-award winning KC Porter.

I decided to catch up with Leonor Dely to find out more about her and the band, and about this wonderful new album: Continue reading

Leaves of Wisdom: A Baha’i Colouring Resource for Children

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Monika Mackenzie is the artist behind the newly released Leaves of Wisdom: A Baha’i Colouring Resource for Children (Volume 1), which contains over 100 illustrations. She’s also the illustrator behind the Facebook page Bahai Colouring Pages, where you are warmly encouraged to save, share and print what’s posted. Her work includes beautifully illustrated quotations from the Writings, or phrases like “Happy Naw Ruz”, and is a wonderful resource for parents, children’s class teachers or for programs for little ones during Holy Day celebrations, Feasts or other gatherings. Leaves of Wisdom was launched on Ridvan and I was delighted when Monika agreed to tell us a little bit about herself, her unique artwork, and her desire to share it with everyone. Continue reading