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
Every single one of the world’s seven (soon to be eight) Baha’i Houses of Worship is unique – unique in history, in design and in surroundings. But the one thing they all share in common is that they are The Dawning Places of the Mention of God.
I have always wanted to visit the Wilmette Temple. I don’t think photos can do justice to its utmost majesty, its intricate ornamentation, and the feeling of awe one must feel when standing in its presence.
American author Bruce Whitmore’s work The Dawning Place explores the very wonders of this House of Worship, providing a chronological account of events from before the Temple’s construction through to the present day. We spoke to Bruce to find out about him and his book, which is now in its second edition. Continue reading
Born in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea and raised by adopted parents in Australia, Klare Kuolga was blessed with having the privilege of belonging to two distinct cultures, both of which music played an important role.
Klare is an old friend of mine, and I just found out that she’s just released a new EP called “Blessed”, so I decided to catch up with her and interview her on Baha’i Blog: Continue reading
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
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
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