Category Archives Interviews

Sea of Mystery: An Interview with Sonbol

sonbol - 864x569

There are some people whom, when you cross their path, you can immediately tell that they’re passionate about everything they do. Whether it be their work, their faith, their service, their family or their art, they pursue it to their utmost, and Sonbol is one of those people.

Sonbol is a New Zealand based singer and songwriter, and in fact her husband played a big role in my family’s life, as it was him who told my parents about the needs in Papua New Guinea, which then resulted in my family moving to Papua New Guinea and living there for 20 years, so I’ve always been profoundly grateful to them for this.

I first heard Sonbol perform about 20 years ago while I was studying in New Zealand, and our paths have continued to cross in different parts of the world over the years. She’s produced several albums, and the last time I saw her, we were both passing through the US about a year ago, when she was on her way to Prague with Tom Price to record her new album with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

Sonbol has now finished that album titled Sea of Mystery, and so I decided it was time to catch up with Sonbol to find out more about her, her music, and her new album. Continue reading

Love Story – A Matchmaking Site for Baha’is

LoveStory

In the Baha’i Faith, marriage is not a law, but it’s definitely encouraged, and when we’re getting to know a potential life-partner, we’re supposed to become thoroughly acquainted with the character of the other. But what about the step which comes before getting to know someone? The step of meeting someone who may be a potential life-partner.

Hello online world of dating, and hello Love Story!

Love Story is a new online matchmaking site created by a good friend of mine Dr. Mieko Bond. The site is aimed at helping Baha’is around the world find their future partner, and like most other dating sites, you can sign up to the site and add your profile picture and basic information, but what’s really cool and unique about Love Story, is that they offer a ‘matchmaking service’ where you can privately be ‘matched’ and introduced to potential life-partners.

More and more of my friends have met their life-partner online, and it totally makes sense considering how so many of us seem to have less-and-less time to meet people, and how geographically scattered so many of us all are nowadays, so I decided to get in touch with Mieko to find out more about the site and this initiative: Continue reading

Nabilinho Vol.III: An Interview with Nabil

Nabil - Nabilinho 864x570

Many Baha’is around the world have listened to the smooth and funky sounds of Baha’i RnB/Hip-hop duo Nabil & Karim, but perhaps many haven’t heard the solo albums of these two great artists!

One half of the well known Baha’i duo Nabil & Karim is Nabil Moghaddam – or ‘Nabilinho’ as he’s known by his Portuguese friends and fans. Of Persian descent, Nabil was raised in both Portugal and Canada and he’s a musician, sound engineer and producer who’s passionate about using the arts and music to serve the Faith and to celebrate the Revelation of Baha’u’llah. I’ve spent hours on Skype with him, and I really love his dedication and passion for the Faith, the arts, and life in general.

Nabil has just released his third solo album called Nabilinho Vol.III, where he continues to serve up smooth RnB tracks based on the Baha’i Writings, so I thought it was time to do a Baha’i Blog interview with him to find out more about his new album and the man behind the music: Continue reading

From Up There: An Interview with Tom Francis

Tom FrancisAfter leaving his home in New Zealand and performing and touring around Australia for a couple of years, Tom Francis found himself arriving in the Australian coastal town of Byron Bay with a car load of instruments and a head full of new songs. After spending six days in a studio with a jazz drummer and an Aria nominated producer, Tom’s second album From Up There was born.

Tom’s new album of Indie and Soul songs were recorded live in the studio, and it really captures the warmth of his voice fused with the simplistic, yet rich sounds of guitar, vintage keyboard work, and smooth drumming which lend themselves well to the emotionally deep and thought provoking journey the album takes you on. Tom’s cover of Doug Cameron’s 1985 hit Mona with the Children, which is based on the true story of a Baha’i girl named Mona Mahmudnizhad who was hanged in 1983 at the age of 16 because she was a Baha’i, and also his song titled This Is Where I Stand, which was inspired by a poem by Mahvash Sabet and is dedicated to her and the many other Baha’is who are currently imprisoned in Iran, are definitely worth mentioning.

I’ve known Tom for a while now and I’ve always been a big fan of his music, so I decided to catch up with him to ask him a few questions about his musical journey and his new album: Continue reading

Clean Cut, Clean Start – How Nasir is Helping the Homeless

Clean cut clean start 2 - nasir sobhaniZipping through the streets of Melbourne, Australia on his skateboard, Nasir is on the lookout for Melbourne’s less fortunate and homeless population, many of whom are living on the streets. Every Monday Nasir hits the streets seeking out those who are dealing with difficult times by offering them a free haircut.

Nasir’s a barber and a Baha’i, and so he’s passionate about two things: cutting hair and serving others. He calls his initiative ‘clean cut, clean start’, and he knows first hand about what it’s like to need a clean start in life because he went through his own battle with drug addiction in his early 20’s in Canada where he was raised.

Nasir’s like a little brother to me, so you can imagine how excited I was when I caught up with him again in Melbourne and found out about his wonderful service to others. He agreed to let me ask him a few questions about it all and to share it on Baha’i Blog. His service has also been getting a lot of media attention in Australia recently, so I’ve also included a cool video made about his ‘Clean cut, clean start’ initiative below: Continue reading

Infinite Bounty: An Interview with Elika Mahony

Elika-nase-edit-864x630

Vocalist, composer, pianist, and artist, Elika Mahony has been busy! Elika loves to design and create beautiful things that bring joy to people and enhance their spiritual experience, so somewhere in between raising a family and all of her artistic projects which include things like making prayer beads from Chinese water pearls, silk prayer book covers and hand made specialty cards using her original pieces of art, as well as exquisite Japanese paper and quotations from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, she’s managed to produce seven albums!

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Baha’i Temple in Frankfurt, Germany, and while I was at the bookshop in the Visitors Centre, I saw an array of Elika’s albums displayed on the shelves and I thought to myself “I wish Elika would release a new album so I could do an interview with her about it and her music”. About an hour later when I arrived at my friends place, there was an email from Elika waiting for me about her new album Infinite Bounty… woah… Continue reading

Unveiled: An Interview with Wiley Rinaldi

Wiley Rinaldi 864x576Unveiled is a new collaborative album by singer and songwriter Wiley Rinaldi in collaboration with his son Daniel and other musicians from around the world, where they share a handful of treasured songs, written from the 1960s to 2013, but never before recorded.

Wiley Rinaldi was behind some of the songs used in Book 3 of the Ruhi sequence of courses, and in this album, Wiley searches for truth through his music, asks important questions, seeks hope and faith, evokes nostalgia, and quotes spiritual verses.

I decided to catch up with Wiley to find out more about him and the album: Continue reading

Arising To Serve: An Interview with Max Weigert

MAX WEIGERT 371x557While Max Weigert was volunteering at the Baha’i World Centre, he realized that there was so much talent amongst his fellow volunteers, that he thought it was a shame not to share it with the rest of the world. So he got together with a group of artists who wanted to put together a collaborative album of Baha’i prayers, Baha’i inspired music and Baha’i inspired poetry, and the result is Arising to Serve!

Arising to Serve is a seven track compilation album of Baha’i music and poetry that Max and his friends (including Andrea Hope, who we interviewed here on Baha’i Blog as well) put together. They not only want to showcase their art, but they want everyone to be able to use it as an inspiration and as a resource for your devotional gatherings, events and other activities. Best of all, it’s completely free!

I decided to catch up with Max to ask him a few questions about this wonderful service that he and his fellow artists put together. Continue reading

Persian Calligraphy with a Twist: The Works of Reza Mostmand

Reza Mostmand 864x575Reza Mostmand has been practicing and developing the art of Persian Calligraphy since he was a young student in Shiraz, Iran.

Years later while volunteering at the Baha’i World Centre in Israel as a Digital Imaging Restoration Specialist, he had the unique opportunity of being exposed to marvellous works of early masters of Persian calligraphy. This exposure to those historic pieces along with the teachings of the Baha’i Faith are his continuous source of inspiration and motivation.

Now based in Toronto, Canada, Reza works as a senior designer at 19gale, a design, web and multi-media agency which he co-founded over 3 years ago. But that hasn’t stopped Reza from putting ink to paper and continuing the tradition of Persian calligraphy while adding his own unique spin to the art form. His work has been featured in local exhibitions and conferences, and he offers calligraphy workshops for youth and adults where they explore the history of calligraphy through drama, and are taught the basic rules followed by hands-on practice.

I’ve been following Reza’s artwork for quite some time now, and I was finally able to corner him and ask him some questions about his wonderful art: Continue reading

EBBF: Ethical Business Building the Future – An Interview with Daniel Truran

Daniel Truran 2014 864x520

In 1990 a group of Baha’is active in business and management met up in Chamonix, France, to discuss their concerns about the decline of ethics and values in the business world. The result of this meeting was the creation of the ‘European Baha’i Business Forum’ [EBBF], a non-profit association aimed at promoting the moral and spiritual wisdom and principles found in the teachings of the Baha’i Faith and the great religious traditions of the world, such as the principles of justice, respect, trustworthiness, integrity and unity.

From its beginning, EBBF members have attached importance to sharing their broad experience, and now 25 years on, it has evolved into a global learning community of mindful people with members in over 50 countries, and now ‘EBBF’ stands for ‘Ethical Business Building the Future’. The organization continues to accompany individuals by connecting them to new ideas, tools and other individuals around the world who are exploring and learning, through action, how to contribute to a more prosperous, just and sustainable civilization through their daily work.

This year I’m super excited about the fact that I’ll be attending the annual EBBF conference being held between the 2nd and 5th of October in Barcelona, Spain, and so I decided to catch up with EBBF Director General Daniel Truran to find out more about this wonderful initiative: Continue reading