Musician, Pianist, Composer, Vocalist, Artist

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Welcome! ‘Edge of Forever’, my latest album featuring diverse styles of music, is now available. I’ve also released a piano instrumental CD, ‘Glimmerings’. Feel free to browse the music page to listen to my other releases.

Instrumental piano album Glimmerings
Edge of forever

 

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Recent Blog Posts

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Cura – a duet with Eric Harper

I’m sure many of you have heard Eric Harper’s beautiful piece Cura (the healing prayer) from his album ‘Romper a madrugada’.  It was released several years ago and is sung in Portuguese.  I had the fortune of first meeting Eric when he came to China to play guitar as a part of Cheng Lin’s tour in her home-town in Luo Yang in the spring of 2009. One night after rehearsals, we started jamming and Eric began playing his song, ‘Cura’. I loved the melody and started singing with him and spontaneously added English lyrics of the healing prayer to the spaces in the song. Eric liked the combination of the languages and asked if I would sing it as a duet the following night at his concert in Beijing! At first I thought he was joking. I barely knew the piece and was quite nervous about the idea of performing it without practice but after singing it a few times together, I decided to challenge myself… Eric’s concert was wonderful and I’m glad I had the opportunity to sing with him.  That was the beginning of many collaborations together (he plays guitar on several of my pieces on my latest album ‘Edge of Forever).

A year or so afterwards Eric was approached about using his piece ‘Cura’ for a project called ‘Mosaics, Songs of the Spirit’, which is a compilation album of music devotions from different parts of the world.  Jarome, one of the producers of that project, asked Eric and I if we were interested in recording and adding the English part to his piece, Cura. We both agreed (I have a particular fondness for integrating different languages into one piece) and so I proceeded to record my part and am so happy with the outcome.  Below is the track of the song – ‘Cura’ as well as some photos of Eric’s concert.  If you want to hear more songs on the album or would like to purchase Cura, here is the link for the whole album.  ‘Cura’ is #6 on the album.  I have another song on the same album called ‘My Love is My Stronghold’ (#13) which can be downloaded for free by signing up on my mailing list.

Eric and I performing Cura during his concert in Beijing

Eric and I performing ‘Cura’ during his concert in Beijing

After Cheng Lin's concert in Luo Yang

After Cheng Lin’s concert in Luo Yang

Eric performing during his concert in Beijing

Eric performing during his concert in Beijing


Bonding while Baking

I’ve been spending a little more time in the kitchen lately baking with my daughter.  I am always looking for creative ways to spend time with her and we have found that bonding while baking is a great way to do something we enjoy together.   Recently we have had several opportunities to be creative in the kitchen…

We had a baby shower for a friend and baked 2 home-made cakes.  We searched on Pinterest for ideas and found a cake that inspired us.

This is the result of the cake we baked below for the baby shower called ‘The Baby Buggy Cake’.  We used pocky sticks for the handle, M&M’s to decorate the buggy and doughnuts for the wheels.  Such fun!

Baby Buggy Cake

Below is a photo of my daughter adding all the beautiful details to the buggy decoration:

Putting on details on Baby Buggy Cake

Here is another cake we baked for a friend. Roses add so much beauty to a cake.
Rose cake

My daughter baked a 3rd cake (below) and decorated it that same day as a surprise for her friend’s birthday and delivered it right to her door! So sweet!
Amelia's cake for a friend

So glad to create such fun memories with my daughter and looking forward to our next project together.


Spontaneous Instrumental – The coming of Spring

The Baha’i New Year, Nawruz, is upon us. This is one of my favorite times of year. The beginning of spring, the new growth of buds sprouting in the garden and the warmth in the air all bring such joy and delight.  It is also a period of inward growth as a result of taking the time during the Fast to reflect upon the previous twelve months to prepare for the coming year. How perfect it is that Nawruz marks the passage from winter into spring and the start of a New Year!

About a week ago, as I was reflecting on the importance of the Fast and the coming of spring, I sat at the piano and played what came to my heart spontaneously. I love capturing through my music these moments of inspiration.  I never know what will come out till I play!

There’s a soft, lightness about this piece and then three quarters of the way through the song, you’ll notice a change begins to happen.  The music at that point reminded me of a bursting of spring.  Wishing you a most joyous Nawruz and a year full of love, light and blessings.

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Music Inspirations during the Fast

I am enjoying this period of prayer and fasting as it has been nourishing to be able to reflect, create and spiritually rejuvenate. I would like to share a most recent rough recording that I made with my daughter (my son played the guitar) a couple of nights ago of the prayer ‘Blessed is the Spot’:

I thought I would also share below eight meditative music inspirations that i have recorded over the past year which I often listen to during the fast. If you would like to listen to more rough recordings, you can go to my soundcloud account:

Fasting Prayer by elikamahony

Be thou a Summoner to Love – Reflection by elikamahony

No Refuge Save Thee by elikamahony

Create in Me a Pure Heart – Reflection by elikamahony

Ye are the Stars by elikamahony

Make Thy Beauty to be my Food by elikamahony

Hold Thou My Hand by elikamahony

Bend me into Conformity – Reflection by elikamahony


Bahai Fasting and Creativity

The Baha’i Fast is a mystical and creative time for me.  I look forward to these 19 days of fasting and enjoy spending time reflecting, praying, meditating and creating.  One is able to delve deeper during these days and focus inward and really explore what needs to be adjusted and worked on for the rest of the year.  I find that the fast is also wonderful for creativity as I believe we are instruments through which inspiration passes.  So when we are more spiritually minded, prayerful and meditative during these days, the connection to our Creator and our creativity is greater.  I treasure this gift and look forward to seeing what will be inspired during this time.

Last year, my son and I recorded a spontaneous and rough composition of a prayer for the fast.  You can read about the process of making the song in a previous blog.  How I loved creating the piece together with him.  You can listen to the piece below.

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Easy Strawberry Jam Recipe

The festival of Ayyam-i-Ha has now passed and I just wanted to share a recipe of homemade strawberry jam that I made as gifts for our neighbors a couple of days ago.

Here is the recipe which I found on the web a few years ago and have edited parts of it according to my family’s tastes and added helpful suggestions and tips from others who have made this recipe:

2 lbs fresh strawberries hulled
1/4 cup lemon juice (store bought is what I use)
1 and 1/3 cups sugar (the original recipe calls for 4 cups sugar but I felt it was too sweet)
Containers for the jam (I used IKEA spice jars which worked perfectly)
Heavy bottomed saucepan (Use a deep pot as it really bubbles over when it starts to boil)

1. In a wide bowl, crush strawberries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berry (I blend them as my son doesn’t like chunks of strawberries).
2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved (it is important that the sugar is dissolved before you move on to the next step).
3. Slowly increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F (105 degrees C). (If you don’t have a thermometer, just keep boiling till the jam reaches a ruby, glossy color which could take up to about 15-30 minutes.  Keep stirring so that it doesn’t burn and be patient). :)
4. Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace, and seal. Process in a water bath. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don’t bother with processing and just refrigerate.  (Make sure and sterilize the jars in boiling water for 10 mins. then pour the jam in the containers and seal and then place back in the boiling water for 5 minutes to ensure it lasts longer).

TIPS
To test for jelling
Place three plates in a freezer… after about 10 minutes of boiling place a tsp of the liquid of the jam onto the cold plate. Return to freezer for a minute. Run your finger through the jam on the plate… if it doesn’t try to run back together (if you can make a line through it with your finger) it’s ready to be canned.

If you add about 1/2-1 tsp of butter to it before it boils it will not froth and/or boil over. If you MUST use a vegetable oil, add coconut oil or organic olive oil, but absolutely NOT margarine, canola or any other toxic rancid oil.

For more clarity, here is a link to watch a video on how to make this delicious strawberry jam by Katharine.

Homemade strawberry jam made for our neighbors for Ayyam-i-Ha

Homemade strawberry jam made for our neighbors for Ayyam-i-Ha

 

 


Ayyam-i-Ha Song Free Download

The festival of Ayyam-i-Ha has almost arrived! For Baha’is this is a time of bringing cheer to others, visiting the poor and needy, giving gifts and enjoying the company of family and friends.  When we gather with our friends, one of the ways we like to celebrate is with music so here is a song that I composed a few years ago especially for this occasion.  You can watch the video here and for my friends in China, here is the youku link.  I have made the English version available as a gift download so that it can be sung and used with your friends for Ayyam-i-Ha. (Please bear in mind that this version is rough as there was no time to ask my son to do re-record the guitar but I think it should be fine for learning purposes). Enjoy!

To listen to or download the song, please click below:
 

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Love is Heaven’s Kindly Light

A friend of mine was telling me today that everyday should be Valentine’s Day and she’s absolutely right.  Telling our loved ones how much we love them cannot be overstated.

I’m dedicating this song to all my dear ones today.  It’s an acappella piece I sang with the beautiful and talented Cheng Lin a number of years ago.  Enjoy!

 

Love is heaven's kindly light

A photo I took in Thailand and was stunned to find this heart on the leaf!


New Silk Prayer Covers on Sale!

There are many joys of living in China and one of them is having access to the wonderful colors and patterns of Chinese silk.  For the past 10 years or more, I have been scouring the local markets to find silk stalls with rolls of beautiful cloth that usually come from Hangzhou (the silk capital of China). Often when I return to the same place, they have either closed down or moved elsewhere so the search for silk is continuous.

Beautiful rolled up silk with different patterns and colors

Beautiful rolled up silk with different patterns and colors

I recently found a new stall with lots of new vibrant colors and designs and had them made into prayer covers. I’ve updated all the covers on the website (as most of the old patterns/colors were no longer available). They are now all in stock and on special sale for $9 each (instead of $12) from now until the end of Ayyam-i-Ha (March 1, 2014). Here is a link to the prayer covers on the website and another link to many more colors and designs on my Etsy site.  Below are a few photos of the new prayer covers.  A big thank you to many of my friends who helped in coming up with creative names for the colors!

 

The new colors and designs now up for sale on the website

The new colors and designs for sale on the website

#4 Lavender Paisley Silk Prayer Cover

#4 Lavender Paisley Silk Prayer Cover

#5 Gold/Blue Porcelain Petals Prayer Cover

#5 Gold/Blue Porcelain Petals

#8 Carmine Gold Prayer Cover

#8 Carmine Gold Prayer Cover

#2 Golden Silk Prayer Cover

#2 Golden Silk Prayer Cover

Azure Nightbloom Prayer Cover on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/167452037/azure-night-bloom?ref=listing-shop-header-4

Azure Nightbloom Prayer Cover on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/167452037/azure-night-bloom?ref=listing-shop-header-4

Royal Blue Prayer Cover on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/103619067/royal-blue?

Royal Blue Prayer Cover on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/103619067/royal-blue?


New song – No refuge Save Thee

Yesterday I asked my friends on Facebook to assist me by contributing an uplifting quotation so that I could set it to music. I received a lot of wonderful responses (thank you to those of you who shared such wonderful passages). I tried many of them out as I had a melody in mind and the quote that seemed most suitable is the one below shared by Ladan Eshraghi (thanks Ladanjoon)! It is a beautiful prayer on the theme of steadfastness by Abdu’l-Baha. Parts of the prayer were not easy to set to music because of some of the long sentences and words but as I let go and allowed myself to feel the rhythm, I’m happy with how it came out. Please bear in mind that it is a rough recording.

O Thou beloved of my heart and soul! I have no refuge save Thee. I raise no voice at dawn save in Thy commemoration and praise. Thy love encompasseth me and Thy grace is perfect. My hope is in Thee. O God, give me a new life at every instant and bestow upon me the breaths of the Holy Spirit at every moment, in order that I may remain steadfast in Thy love, attain unto great felicity, perceive the manifest light and be in a state of utmost tranquility and submissiveness. Verily, Thou art the Giver, the Forgiver, the Compassionate.”   -Abdu’l-Baha

No refuge Save Thee