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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Music gift download & Video introducing Infinite Bounty

I wanted to give you a quick update about my upcoming album ‘Infinite Bounty’.  We are in the final phases of the project and I am counting the days to be able to share the new music with you.

I recently made a promotional video with some background detail about my upcoming album, ‘Infinite Bounty’. On the video I discuss the theme, inspiration, artwork and introduce the musicians that I have collaborated with.  The musicians have each added so much beauty to the project.  Later on I will blog in more detail about some of the songs and the collaborations with the different artists.   The video ends with a gift download from one of the songs on ‘Infinite Bounty’.  Click here to view the video.

Here is the link for the gift download of the song ‘Immerse Yourselves’.  I can’t wait to share the rest of the music with you very soon!

Infinite Bounty Cover


In Honor of the Birth of The Bab: A Prayer set to music

I find that the Baha’i Holy days are sources of great inspiration. Today is the Birth of The Bab and in honor of this special day, I felt moved to compose a short prayer from The Bab. I was in a very meditative mood when I composed it. Happy Holy Day!

Lyrics are below:

“O God, my God, my Beloved, my heart’s Desire.”
-The Bab

Shrine of the Bab


My vocals featured in Jaguar Commercial!

I would like to share with you a song that I recorded vocals for which is now being featured in a video.  The song, entitled Seian, is from an album called Beyondsphere (released in 2010) in which the songs were all composed, written and produced by Ali Kesanto.  Ali found me on twitter and soon after decided to hire me to sing vocals on his music.  The genre of the album is dream electronica, mixed elements from ambient, trip-hop and classical orchestration…  It was an exciting music project that was very different from anything I have worked on before.

Below is a video that Ali Kesanto created and produced for Jaguar F-TYPE S Coupé in which he used one of the songs from the album Beyondsphere.  Enjoy!


A Duet with a Renowned Musician

One of my favourite things to do in music is to collaborate with other musicians. Today I was in the studio with my producer recording with my dear friend, the talented musician Cheng Lin. I feel honoured that she is singing a duet, in English and Chinese, entitled ‘We Must Look Higher’, with me on my new album. There are several other duets on the album (including ones in Spanish and Arabic) and I’m excited to share them soon.

Originally, I had asked Lin to play her erhu for the song. After listening to it, she offered to sing as there were many spaces for more vocals and I knew her voice would add so much beauty and dynamics to the piece. We promptly set about verifying the Chinese translation and then proceeded to work on fitting the parts into the existing composition so that it would flow with the English. As time was short (I’m already working on final mixes of the other songs on the album), we worked intensively to practice her parts so that she could record quickly. I’m thrilled that the recording went beautifully today and Lin’s vocals were flawless.

This piece is unique on the album as it includes four separate quotations. It was a challenge to get all the vocals recorded in both languages without the piece sounding cluttered but I think we found the right balance and I can’t wait for you to hear it!

The lyrics of ‘We must look higher’ are so uplifting. I’m sharing them with you below:

“We must look higher than all earthly thoughts; detach ourselves from every material idea, crave for the things of the spirit;…”

“Let nothing grieve thee, and be thou angered at none.”

“When calamity striketh, be ye patient and composed.”

“Be thou not unhappy; the tempest of sorrow shall pass; regret will not last; disappointment will vanish;…”

Cheng Lin recording 'We Must Look Higher'  in the studio

Cheng Lin recording ‘We Must Look Higher’ in the studio

Cheng Lin and I in the studio

Cheng Lin and I in the studio


‘Pun Intended’ Wangjing Soho performance

Last Friday evening, my son and the band he plays with, ‘Pun Intended’, were invited to perform for the opening of Wangjing SOHO Beijing, a major office complex designed by renowned architect, Zaha Hadid!

The band has been playing together for the last few years and have really grown and developed their own sound.  They looked so comfortable on stage and the crowd loved their performance.  Afterwards so many young ladies surrounded them and asked to have their photos taken together.  I’m so proud of what they have accomplished so far and look forward to them recording an EP hopefully in the spring if they are able to find the time.

This is the bands last year together (they are all in the 12th grade) so it truly was a privilege for them to have performed for such an occasion.  Below are some photos from the opening…

Zaha

 

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Cover for ‘Infinite Bounty’ Chosen!

I am one step closer to releasing my album, ‘Infinite Bounty’, and am very happy to share with you that I have now chosen the cover design for the album. I had asked the friends on my mailing list to choose between a couple of options, and overwhelming preference was for the version below. Thanks to all who shared their thoughts and opinions!

I would like to thank Nate Smieja for contributing this gorgeous photograph for the album.

Infinite Bounty Cover


“Hands of the Cause” book released!

After a seven year labor of love, I am delighted to finally share that our book ‘Hands of the Cause of God: Amelia Collins, Dorothy Baker, Tarazu’llah Samandari’ has been published and is now available for purchase on my website.

The idea for the book originated because my husband and I wanted our children to know about their namesakes, Amelia Collins and Tarazu’llah Samandari. At the same time, we wanted the stories of these special souls to be available to a broader audience of youth and junior youth and not only our own children. So the family project became a book project. After doing our initial research and writing, we asked the Baha’i World Centre for photographs of the Hands of the Cause as I wanted their pictures in the book rather than illustrations. The original photos were black and white so I commissioned an artist to professionally color them and they came out beautifully (thank you Alice Williams).

We felt that the book should introduce more than two of the Hands so that the inspirational lives of these unique souls might be known by the generation of youth and junior youth growing up today.  I then asked my relative, Vered Ehsani, who is an author, whether she would be interested in writing about one of the Hands of the Cause and she graciously and enthusiastically agreed to write about Dorothy Baker. So that is how the book came to be about these three Hands. We also thought at one time about writing about 9 of the Hands of the Cause but decided to first finish these three short stories and hopefully later on complete others. That is now a future project!

Although the book was written with youth and junior youth in mind it can be enjoyed by “youth of all ages” as their stories are priceless and their photographs are precious (some have never before been published).

I am grateful to the Baha’i Publishing Trust of India for publishing this lovely book and to the following friends who brought the project to life: Kiser Barnes, Vered Ehsani, Tarry Mahony, Michelle Loyalka, Brent Poirier, Nancy Wong, Brigitte Aiff, Alice Williams and Taraz & Amelia Mahony.

Once again here is the link to purchase the book.

Cover of Hands of the Cause


ALS Ice Bucket challenge in honor of Morrie!

A few days ago, my dear friend Julie Iraninejad nominated me for the ALS ice bucket challenge! What is interesting, and I’m sure it’s no coincidence, is that I just finished reading the book ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ over the summer which is a beautiful and moving true story about a professor from Brandeis who died of ALS. His student, Mitch Albom, spent every Tuesday during the last few months of Morrie’s life learning from him life lessons about regrets, death, family, emotions, the fear of aging, marriage, culture and forgiveness (to name a few).

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was moved by how Morrie addresses each topic in such a real, no-nonsense way. Below the video I will share some of the advice in his book (so please scroll down to read them). So in honor of Morrie, I accept the challenge!

A few of Morrie’s life lessons:

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

“Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

“Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent… But detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That’s how you are able to leave it…You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief… But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. “All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.”

“Everyone knows they’re going to die but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.”

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

“Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own. Most people can’t do it.”

“Be compassionate,” Morrie whispered. And take responsibility for each other. If we only learned those lessons, this world would be so much better a place.”


A Surprise M&M Birthday Cake!

A few of days ago we celebrated my daughter’s 14th birthday and as she is a fantastic baker, I wanted to surprise her with a cake that was fun, colorful and one she would not expect. I found the idea of the cake on Pinterest and was inspired to see if I could match it (there are so many inspiring ideas on there).

Photos of the original cake that inspired me and the one I made are below. Which do you think is the original?

Wishing my daughter a most incredible year ahead as she starts high school! So very blessed to have her in my life (and yes she did love the cake and was surprised)!

Amelia's surprise cake
 
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Amelia birthday with Mom


Video for ‘Infinite Bounty’

I would like to thank you for your input on the album title. A great many friends wrote and shared their suggestions and creative ideas. In the end, the name liked by the largest number of people was ‘Infinite Bounty’ and I have decided to use that as the title of the CD.

I had recently also sent out a request for photos of oceans and was touched by how many lovely photographs I received. My daughter helped create a video of the photos that were contributed from all around the world.  The countries include: Kenya, South Africa, Australia, Namibia, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Seychelles and the United States.  The photographs accompany the title song of the album, which is also called ‘Infinite Bounty’.  I’m so excited to share the first song of the album with you.  The video is below.