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News & Letters
pages 2 - 6
Beyond Words, South Africa Performing Arts Group.
The Beyond Words, South African Bahá´í Youth Performing Arts Group is busy
preparing itself to organize its first tour, to be started July 2000 and
finish 11 months later in June 2001. Beyond Words is a result of the
private initiative of two youth (Ali Monadjem and Anis Parsa) studying at the university of Cape Town.
Drawing by TBA
in the ABS art exhibition, Gryphon Gallery, Melbourne, Australia,
photograph by Kouhyar Rowshan, Australia.
Beyond Words will use as many of the arts as possible---dance, drama,
singing, public speaking, acting... ...Only 12 performers (6 guys and 6 gals) are needed. So, youth eighteen to thirty years of age from around the globe,
interested in doing a year of service, please contact BeyondWords by
e-mail: BeyondWordsWksp@email.com or through the regular post:
Beyond Words, 603 Palo Alto, Knysna Rd., Milnerton 7441, South Africa.
Marty and Wendy Quinn performing in the The Seven Valleys.
Wendy and Marty Quinn, U.S.A.|
We are pleased to announce the completion of our 90 minute stage adaptation
of Bahá'u'lláh's The Seven Valleys. Designed and tested for professional
presentation to the general public, it presents Bahá'u'lláh's mystical work
through music, drama, dance, singing, drumming, beautiful silk costumes,
sets and calligraphy. Performed by the Quinn family, it is a unique
integration of art and performance.
Cost AUS$33 including postage payable by cheque, money order, or credit card. Orders from the US, Canada or
AUS$28, Orders from within Australia: AUS$24.
Ryan Telfer, Canada
...My involvement in music has been a significant part of my life and it has really changed me. As a child I have always
listened to music. Anything
from Bahá´í children's song to the popular music of the 80's...
In high school I formed a rock band with my friends and swithced from guitar to bass,
which is now my primary instrument. I still play in this band. although we don't do covers, we play almost all original material, which I
have helped to compose and write lyrics for...
Ryan Telfer, Canada.
Letter from Bruce Grover, U.S.A.
In my mind a musician is one who produces a sound that touches the head,
heart or hips of a listener. 'Abdu'l-Bahá says that music is a ladder for
the soul. We tend to think about this ladder business fairly simply but
I think that ladders for the soul take the soul to where it needs to
grow. And as we all know, growth can happen in very, very odd ways and
very, very odd times. Consequently, avant-garde noise, hardcore punk,
blues, salsa, Gregorian chants, ragas and all of Earth's many
sound-poems can all be ladders for the soul.
Letter from Lindsey Shields, New Zealand.
My tour from Dunedin northwards and back again was lovely.
You could call it a working holiday, but really there
was nothing like hard work about it. I really enjoyed my concerts, the
audiences who listened to my stories, the opportunity to share some
time and experiences, meeting new people who took the time to talk to me. I
learnt that doing what you really like to do is easy, it feels like love,
perhaps it is. Surviving financially and doing all sorts of organising feels
more like hardwork, less like love! The tour worked so well because I had it
organised by someone else, a tour promoter called Gill Winter of Flying
Piglets. She did most of the planning and negotiated guaranteed fees for all
the concerts. So it really was my job to just go out there and do good
concerts, stress-free! That was a key part of its success.
On a global scale, in fact, on any scale, this was a small tour. Seven gigs
over the space of three weeks and none of the audiences big. I had never
played at any of the venues before and had only ever visited one. They moved
from a quiet Sunday in an Irish bar, through local halls, one house concert
(with a tiny audience) and some folk clubs...
I have been feeling
very comfortable about my solo performing. Of course there is a certain
level of nervousness beforehand, but nothing like the anxiety which has been
a great weight holding me down. I think its been a matter of confidence too,
which has nothing to do with how "good" your work is, or what other people
think of it. Always I would think I needed other musicians around me to
make my music okay, or that I should be able to perform in any situation, no
matter what - bar, cafe, where ever. Of course, the
personal themes in my songs is
completely unsuited for those situations so I set about working for my kind
of audience - people who want to listen to my stories...
Letter from Jan Lopez, U.S.A.
Here are a few thoughts on the subjects of
artistic perfection, passion and professionalism.
Through many years of exposure as a musician, I have come to the conclusion that in
this world there are basically three kinds of
approaches to any endeavor: (1) technical, (2) passionate, and (3) where
that unique individual manages to combine both approaches into their
art/work and creates a pure heavenly experience, clear and simple.
In other words, there are (1) people who do what they do, and (2) people
who are what they do, and (3) then those who are and do what they do.
However, I would like to speak here about those of us who
fall somewhere between technical and passionate on the scale. Most of
us, if we are honest about it, are on the path to one or the other and
are hopeful of striking a good balance between the two.
In the first, one comes close to perfection in areas of training and
application, while in the second, although generally not as perfect in
application, one carries a level of energy that in a sense takes the
listener or reader into an area of appreciation that doesn't require
validation by technical standards. In the third, the art speaks for
itself, balanced and beautiful; the artist is just a conduit.
There are times when we see/read/hear artists who make "technical
mistakes", who do not hit all the notes, who forget or misread lines, who
stumble, who design outside the standards: and yet, even though we are
aware of all these things, we really do not care at all! Why? Because
whatever it is that they did, they caught our hearts and
souls. They don't care if they perform to one person or 20,000. Or
just the sky itself. The burning passion demands release, so they release
If any artist is feeling sensitive to comments others make regarding our
art forms, then perhaps they need to examine internally
what brings up that feeling. We artists sometimes forget
that we do not need to compare ourselves to others, and often we just do
it automatically, without thinking.
Striving for achievement does not have to include putting others down.
Nor does it have to do with setting ourselves apart from others. Our art
forms will speak to our skills, training and abilities we do not need
to make a special effort to seek approval...
Letter from Caroline Ruizeveld, The Netherlands.
By Caroline Ruizeveld sculpted in Indonesia.
The third part of my sculpting triglogy ends with working on the island of Bali for 3 months, ending in February 1999.
Each day I travelled by small bus from Ubud, a painter's village, to Batubulan, a long street full of sculputre shops. Here lots
of men sat sculpting between the numerous sculptures of Balinese and Hindu gods and demons. I took my place behind on such
shop, sitting on a cardboard on the damp ground among the mosquitoes. I found the stone very difficult...
...here the stones used for sculpting, cut from a riverbed, were damp, soft, full of holes and not to be trusted...
In short I had to completely adjust all my ideas about sculpting to this new situation and this new type of stone, using
tools borrowed from one of my co-sculptors there.
My next barrier was language. Not one of the 14 men I worked with spoke any English, so it was hard to explain that I had
not come to copy Balinese sculptures but to be inspired by them in making my own work which was more abstract...
Letter from Mark McDowell (U.S.A.)
I'm a member of the Iowa Bahá´í Schools Committee, and at last year's
Winter School I presented the idea of putting together a school orchestra
to perform at this year's summer school. The idea was enthusiastically
received, so I volunteered to do the work.
First came the music. I wanted to do two pieces, one with the orchestra
and choir (that would also a part of the school) together, and one
instrumental. I had composed a piece for cello and guitar called "Royal
Falcon" after the 'Abdu'l-Bahá quote referring to Bahá´ís as ". . . royal
falcons on the wrist of God..." I liked the melody and decided to arrange
it for the orchestra. It has a Spanish feel to it and I loved the cello
part. I also thought that doing a familiar song with the choir would be
more likely to be successful, so I arranged Anne Biswell's song "Home of
The orchestra consisted of one flautist (experienced), one clarinet player
(about 12 years old), one trumpet player (about 16 years old), one
bassoonist (about 14 years old), three violinists (a 15 year old, a 40+
year old and a 50+ year old ), two cellists (both very
good and about 18), and a pianist (8 years old) for "Home of Peace," and an
adult for "Royal Falcon". The 8 year old played the maracas in "Royal
The musicians had received the music about a week and a
half before the school, which, needless to say was not really enough time for the level of
experience that most of the orchestra members had. Then once summer
school began we had four days to come together as an
orchestra. The first two days were sheer panic. It was my
first conducting experience and I attempted to use consultation -with
mixed results. Eventually some of the Bahá´ís present at the rehearsals
encouraged me to just be firm and insist on discipline. It was hard for me
to do so, but I succeeded.
The music was difficult since the pieces were in keys that required some
of the musicians to use a lot of sharps and flats.
Also, because this was my first conducting experience...by the third day, I could actually hear
the music I had composed and arranged...
The fourth day, we performed the pieces for the closing ceremonies of the
school. It was well received. The participants were happy and said
they'd do it again if the school wanted another orchestra... I'd do it
again! It can only get better. It was a terrific experience for me...
Letter from Nina Bailey, U.S.A.
Impressions from the 1999 Voices of Bahá Tour
On July 25 this year, the RiverExplorer departed from Cincinnati on her
first Bahá´í Musical Travel-Teaching tour down the Ohio and Mississippi
rivers. I decided to jump on
board. The tour sounded like a unique fun-filled opportunity for deepening
and teaching. However, it unfolded into one of the best vacation and
soul-inspiring experiences of my life!
I flew into Memphis and boarded the 198 passenger river barge, the first
and only hotel barge on America's waterways. There, I met over fifty
talented dedicated servants of God, mostly singers, with a common mission
to teach and live the Bahá´í faith. Down the Mississippi River the
RiverExplorer sailed towards New Orleans propelled by the towboat, Miss
Nari. Along the way we docked at various towns giving free public
concerts. The performances were fabulous and the melody of Baha'u'llah's
words were sung to "..kindle thine own soul, and attract the hearts of all
..." (BahBahá'u'llBaháh, Bahá´í Prayers, p. 5, 1954 edition).
Marcia Day, promoted the tour by traveling ahead on the
road. A total of over 2500 people attended the concerts over the two week tour.
Although the "Voices of Bahá" were composed of thirty-five singers, they
sang like a choir of over a hundred. Love and unity filled the concert
hall and it felt like the Abhá Kingdom on earth! Red Grammer gave children
shows that always got the children jumping out of their seats, and the
Bahá´í Gospel Singers almost brought the roof down several times. Chris
Hampton performed, The Noble Thief, a musical about transformation
that incorporates principles from the Bahá´í Faith.
(info from: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Letter from Pam Brode, U.S.A.
Here are some impressions of the ten day "Harvest Tour" (May 1999) through
the Southern States and Ohio with Eric Dozier and the One Human Family
Choir, and the recent two week "River of Life Teaching Trip" (July-August,
1999) through the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers with Tom Price and the
Voices of Bahá Choir. I thank my family for their support and the North
Carolina Bahá´í communities for enabling me to participate in both events.
The music sung by the two choirs differed greatly, but the spirit was the
same. Both tours were happy, joyful, learning experiences and strong
affirmations of the power and effectiveness of teaching the Faith through
the performing arts. From personal experience I can say that I am not
aware of any other method or modality of teaching in which the Faith can be
presented so directly to so many people at one time in a more attractive
and appealing package.
Although the spirit and purpose of the two teaching trips were similar, the
nature of the tours differed greatly. The Harvest Tour which promoted the
Bahá´í message of unity in diversity through traditional African American
gospels and spirituals, was, as most choir tours, physically strenuous and
exhausting. The Riverboat Tour, which was an experimental teaching project
utilizing many different types of music and drama, involved travelling in
ultimate luxury. Also, the Riverboat Tour was a national teaching project
using the arts. The air conditioned barge was equipped with a lovely
theater. Nights were particularly spectacular when the stars came out and
shimmered upon the lovely moonlit river.
Every day, choir members had the option to begin their mornings on the
upper deck with dawn prayers, while watching a glorious, hazy red sunrise
appear over the river. Then following a sumptuous breakfast, the entire
choir met in the theater for prayers and readings. Following devotions,
Jena Khodadad, facilitated an enlightening, well-researched and extremely
inspiring deepening on the Dawn-Breakers that incorporated visual aides,
music and dramatic readings. For me it was particularly exciting to learn
about the Babi heroines from that period.
Following the noon-day meal of banquet proportion, soloists and choir
members would often meet for rehearsals, but there was also usually some
free time for the participants to sneak off and do some teaching. The crew
members were really quite splendid - always gracious, friendly, courteous
and accommodating. They seemed to love our performances, and it was not
uncommon to walk through the halls of the barge and hear over loud speakers
various CDs of Bahá´í musicians singing the praises of Bahá'u'lláh. I
really had to chuckle to myself the day one of the chief officers walked
passed me singing aloud to himself, "Bahá'u'lláh - the Glory of God"!
Beginning at 3 pm, it was SHOW-TIME! On most days, five different shows
would be presented throughout the afternoon and evening. The barge would
stop at port, where local Bahá´í communities had done the publicity. It
was truly amazing that crowds of people actually waited in line outside the
barge before our shows because we were in the midst of a sizzling,
record-breaking heat wave all through the first week of our tour.
There were also a number of volunteers on the barge who helped guide
people to the theater and helped with information. Bahá´í booklets and
pamphlets were displayed on a table near the entrance and Bahá´í CDs and
cassettes of the performing soloists were for sale at a table outside the
First on the program was Red Grammer, a Bahá´í who is a multi-talented
children's performer. He gave a show at every port. Not only is Red an
outstanding singer, composer and children's performer, but he is an
excellent Bahá´í teacher. In his shows he mentioned the Faith frequently
and was able to promote the teachings in a very gentle, non-preachy manner
that appealed to both the children and parents in the audience. At 4 pm,
a variety show was presented by various performers, followed at 5 pm, by
singers, Van and Cookie Gilmer, their son Sean, and Adrienne Ewing-Roush,
who dazzled the audience with the beauty of traditional African American
gospel and spiritual music. The purity of their voices sparkled.
Later in the evening, Chris Hampton, a Bahá´í from Florida, a skilled
actor, playwright, composer and singer, performed in an original solo
musical play, "The Noble Thief," which is about a tough "hoodlum" from the
Bronx, New York. In the play, the "thief", who accidentally learns about
Baha'u'llah, eventually embraces the Faith, and, of course, is completely
My favorite time of the day began when the clock struck 8 pm. Dressed in
black and wearing my royal blue satin choir shawl the choir quietly entered
the darkened stage. Being a soprano, as well as the smallest member in the
choir, I stood in the first row, center stage. Rhythmic shakers began to
rattle, drums began to beat, and the sopranos came in softly with the
African folk song sung in the Zulu language, "Siya Hamba". Lights dimmed
over the audience, and stage lights beamed brightly on the choir members,
who simultaneously turned on their brightest smiles. At every port, we
sang our hearts out.
During intermission and after the concerts, the choir members had the
opportunity to meet with audience members and it was a lovely time for
socialization. After the visitors left the barge, most of the choir
members would go up to the sky deck to soak in the Jacuzzis (such
sacrifice!!), eat popcorn, or just relax on the chaise lounges, chatting
with fellow choir members, or simply gaze over the river.
Because the tour was much more relaxing and less strenuous than other
previous choir teaching trips, many of the participants felt they had
greater opportunities to get to know each other on a deeper level, and
extremely close friendships grew out of the experience.
My favorite moment of the tour took place in Louisville, Kentucky, when the
choir sang on another barge that carried a giant, 66,000 ton "Peacebell".
In front of a huge crowd of people standing on the dock, all of whom had
come to see the mammoth Peacebell, our choir sang three songs: the Bahá´í
Prayer, "Blessed is the Spot", an old-time Spiritual, and ending with "Y
Bahá 'u'l-Abhá,". Before we began singing, Tom Price looked at the choir
and said, "Okay, let's bless this bell." We sang, and the resonance of our
singing under the bell was really quite exquisite - it sounded as if angels
were singing from Heaven. However, it wasn't until the choir sang the last
song with the "Greatest Name" that Tom Price finally nodded his head in
approval and said, "Now it's a "Peacebell!" That night hordes of people
packed the theater abroad the barge to hear our concert!
The concert soloists were stellar, including Red Grammar, Van and Sean
Gilmer, Lucy Dube, Paul Seaforth, Adrienne Ewing-Roush, and the Price
Sisters (Rachael, Emily and Juliette). The 30-member choir was also
marvelous - rich food in the tummy and all. It was a tour well worth the
Bahá´í artists and friends from the U.S. and Canada gathered in Brackley area,
Prince Edward Island, Canada over the weekend of August 14-15 to attend the first annual
Arts Weekend of the Atlantic Provinces.
The purpose of our event was primarily to meet to discuss how the Bahá´í
artists of the Atlantic Provinces of Canada may advance the process of
teaching and propagation of the Faith through the arts. There was also
discussion of forming a network of Bahá´í artists from the region as well
as making the Arts Weekend an on-going annual event.
The activities of the weekend included a show of visual art
by the artists; Kathleen Bunin, Catherine Moir, David
Taylor, Angela Kelly and Cheryl Cudmore.
Through the day of August 14, we also enjoyed poetry readings
by Angela Kelly, Francine Giroux, Ashley Alvis and
There was a presentation about The Seven Valleys and The Four Valleys
of Bahá'u'lláh by Ashley Alvis (of Atlanta, Georgia,
U.S.A.) which addressed the
various stages of the journey of the human spirit towards God. This was
followed by a reading of poetry inspired by The Seven Valleys and The
Four Valleys of Bahá'u'lláh by Ashley Alvis and Cheryl Cudmore...
Next year, registration information will be made available in late
April or early May so that there will be ample time to make better
plans and arrangements and hopefully to attract a larger number of
artists and friends to attend.
North American ABS Conference
by Susan Lewis-Wright U.S.A.
The Assn for Bahá´í Studies conference this past June in Tempe,
Arizone incorporated the arts into it better than any Bahá´í conference I've participated in or
attended to date.
...Susan Lewis Wright opened the program singing Don't Laugh At Me, a song depicting the pain of labeling and name-calling.
On Friday evening a group from Phoenix performed traditional Turkish dance, singer/songwriter,
Susan Lewis-Wright gave a 40 minute concert, and three indigenous Bahá´ís from Alaska , members of the Drums of
Light, performed and gave a presentation on the "demystification of the American Indian", which was educational, entertainig
as well as painful, as it exposed the racism and oppression fo the native peoples...
pages 7 - 8
The Creative Inspiration, Arts & Culture in the Bahá´í Faith
Conference organized in Melbourne, Australia by the Australian Bahá´í Studies Association,
held at the Melbourne University, 21st - 26th September 1999.
Report from the Association for Bahá´í Studies of Australia.
The Association's 18th Annual Conference on the Arts and
Culture attracted more than fifty presenters and performers,
and approximately a hundred and fifty participants. The
conference included workshops and seminars, a dinner, an
exhibition, a play, and a concert. Its aim was to provide an
opportunity for those involved in the arts in the Australian
Bahá´í Community to meet each other so as to become informed
of each others' work, to bring the arts to the wider
community, and to foster discussion of critical issues
facing Bahá´í s in the arts at the present time.
The first three days consisted of workshops in drama, the
visual arts, creative writing, dance, and music. Sessions
were conducted by Jan Coker, Maxien Bradley, Grant Hindin
Miller, the Centre Theatre Company, Ruth Park, Artworks
Visual Arts Theatre, Greg Parker, Shirin Lagha'i, Kath
Podger, Michael Knopf, Ron Price, and Michael Phillips.
Painting by TBA
in the ABS art exhibition, Gryphon Gallery, Melbourne, Australia,
Kouhyar Rowshan, Australia.
The Visual Arts Exhibition, held in the Gryphon Gallery in
the University's splendid 1888 Building, was officially
opened on the evening of 23rd September, with a reception
and music by the Melbourne choir, "Breezes of Harmony".
Over the next three days the work of twenty artists
attracted hundreds of visitors. The exhibition included work
by J.J.Jannu, Karel Fontaine, Steve & Angela Clark, Vahid
Payman, Ruth Park, Chris Reid, Kath Podger, Diane Arjomand,
Katayoun Mottahedin, Claus Barabbas Mayrhofer, Anne
Williams, Yvonne Chapman, Terry Eichler, Lorni Hyland, Sonja
van Kerkhoff, Ebrahim Malekzadeh, Haifa Mehdizadeh, Mehrzad
Mumtahan, and Carolyn Newport.
From Friday to Sunday participants chose between forty or so
sessions, almost all focused on the arts. These included
performances and seminars on poetry (Ron Price - "The
Passionate Artist"; Belinda Belton - "Bahá´í Poetry: the
Power of the Word", Narelle Kinneally Tolstoff - "Spiritual
Symphonies"), Literature (Jamshid Fanaian; Camilla Fligelman
"Is it nearly impossible for a mere human being to write a
good work of art with a religious theme?") and Music
(Michael Knopf); artists presentations about their own work
(Kath Podger; Sonja van Kerkhoff, Jan Coker "Mnemonic",
Steve & Angela Clark "Making a living whilst maintaining
artistic integrity - The Artists Dilemma"; Karel Fontaine
"The Creative Impulse: Symbolism and Seeing", Robin
Chandler: This Artist's Life: A presentation of twenty-five
years of life and work as artist, administrator,
sociologist, and CEO as one model to integrate the life of
art into spiritual service & teaching", Monir Rowshan
"Inspiration/Visualisation of Dreams") and thoughts on the
artistic process (Philip Hinton "The Search for the Beloved:
The Artist as Spiritual Voyager", Ben Hinton "An exploration
of the diverse concepts of creativity, imagination, and
inspiration"; Negin Sanaei "Creativity and Spirituality -
are they related?"; Simon Hinton "Will Celine Dion Eat the
World? - Globalisation and The Cultural Marketplace").
There were also papers on the position of the arts in the
Bahá´í Community (Mahyar Amjadi "Arts Can Move the Youth";
Bahá´í Institute of Performing Arts "Performance: A Sacred
Act", Simon Hinton "Artists, Institutions and Money - An
Unholy Trinity? - Arts Funding and Infrastructure Support in
the Bahá´í Community"; Robin Chandler "Building Creative
Communities: approaching the arts as social & economic
development through professionalizing, training, and
There were also presentations on other subjects (Sepehr
Manuchehri, "The Practice of Taqiah (self-denial) in the
Babí & Bahá´í Religions" and Graham Hassall "Current issues
in Bahá´í Scholarship"). Neda Rahmani presented "The Asia
Pacific Newsreel", and there was a display by fashion
designer Afsoon Missaghi.
Lunch times were given over to the launching of publications
(Michael Knopf "The Paramount Project - New Bahá´í
Devotional Songs for Community Singing") and a website (the
Victorian Bahá´í Community Website official Launch), and a
demonstration of wood carving by South Australian artist
On the evening of Friday 24th September the Association
presented an evening of performance at Performance - Melba
Hall. Those present were privileged to experience a three
hour program featuring Amir Farid, Artworks, John Grey, Greg
Parker, Alice Chew, Jamshid Hatami, Behzad and Anis
Khoshmashrab, Vafa Ferdowsian, Michael Knopf, Grant Hindin
Miller, Ruth Rowshan and Bernardo Soler (Nougat). Special
thanks goes to Erfan Khadem for assistance at the concert,
and to Master of Ceremonies, Omid Master.
The Conference Dinner attracted more than a hundred guests,
who enjoyed an outstanding premier of jazz classics
performed by Kylie Richardson, and Grant Hindin Miller's
personal journey into the creative life. In the closing
session of the conference, Philip Hinton performed his solo
play "Portals to Freedom" at RMIT's Kaleide Theatre.
Wood relief by Chris Reid
in the ABS art exhibition, Gryphon Gallery, Melbourne, Australia,
Kouhyar Rowshan, Australia.
Did the conference meet its aims? For new ABS Board member
Vahid Payman the conference exploded a number of stereotypes
sometimes experienced in the Bahá´í community. In
particular he mentioned a middle aged Persian man singing
opera from Mozart's Don Giovanni - who would ever have
thought..., the brilliant fusion of scholarship and art
in the life and work of Robin Chandler, and Narelle
Tolstoff's poetry performance which had eight year old
children and seventy year old adults spellbound (not to
mention those between these two extremes!), and Grant
Hindin-Miller's personal story of search, love, wonder, and
all the other Valleys..."
Impressions of the ABS arts concert
by Kris Bernard-Urrutia, Australia.
It opened with Greg Parker doing a couple of ballad-type
songs, then Amir Farid, our eighteen year old classical
pianist. A wonder boy, from Melbourne did a fifteen minute
set of three classical pieces that were just incredible
diverse and quite stimulating for the audience as well. A
young fellow from Dizzy Dance, Vafa Ferdowsian, gave a good
dance performance with a multi-media slide
presentation going on the screen behind him, which added a
very special effect. Jamshid Hatami sang a couple of
well-known classical numbers from opera in Italian, well
done and one quite humourous!
Another Melbourne Bahá´í, John Grey, who plays trumpet here
professionally did an absolutely fantastic jazz medley of
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue accompanied by a woman on
grand piano. The piece lasted about ten to twelve minutes
and every moment was different and stunning. He had special
caps to put on the trumpet which made it sound like a
variety of wind instruments, as the piece was written for
piano and a full wind section!!
Then to finish Behzad Khoshmashrab and his fourteen year old
son Anis did a few lively Russian and Persian violin
numbers, with son playing piano and electronic keyboard in
accompaniment. Again fantastic.
And all this was just the first half of the program!! To
start the second half, Ruth Roshan and Bernardo Soler
performed playing classical guitar and mandolin together,
some lovely pieces with a Latin American - Spanish sound.
Then Alice Chew, a beautiful young, ballerina did a very
evocative ballet number en pointe called 'Maid of Heaven' to
create imagery of the 'maid of heaven' that Baha'u'llah saw
in the Siyal Chal. Michael Knopf followed with two guitar
pieces. It was just incredible to see how his fingers flew
move so magically up and down the neck of guitar. Grant
Hindin Miller followed with a few songs. He was so well
loved here and played so beautifully that people virtually
would not let him leave the stage. Of course, last but
certainly not least came Artworks. With new numbers and more
even more variety of dance and music in the show...
Costume by Karel Fontaine
in the ABS art exhibition, Gryphon Gallery, Melbourne, Australia,
Kouhyar Rowshan, Australia.
pages 8 - 9
Two workshops and a session at the ABS arts conference
by Michael Knopf, Australia
For the Paramont Project Workshop about 20 people learned to
read basics quickly and we went through about 11 songs.
I presented the Cheve system of rhythm language for
notation. Each note has its own syllable...
...We learned each piece by reviewing its rhythm using Cheve, its melodic
pitches using Solfa , and then the text was added and practised until
learned. The aim of the workshop was to make the group independent of a
teacher. We broke into smaller groups each of which had the task to learn a
new song on their own with only a little help from the facilitator. Most
groups got most of their songs correct after having only a rudimentary
introduction to the systems used...
My presentation, ´On the Edge of Failure´ reflected the risk
taken by spontaneous creators (such as Jazz improvisationists and free
improvisation proponents) in creating something meaningful for audiences...
Demonstrations of spontaneous composition were conducted on the classical
guitar using jazz, classical, flamenco techniques and drumming sounds...
Painting by TBA
Kouhyar Rowshan, Australia.
Book Review, The Seven Year Hitch - A family Odessy
by David R. Grant
reviewed by Carolyn Sparey-Gillies, U.K.
In an age where travel is associated with holidays in the
sun, cheap flights to Disneyland, and for the more
adventurous, organised hikes through the Himalayas, "The
Seven Year Hitch" proves that the human spirit is still
occasionally driven by a sense of adventure and the
This book is the story of some of the adventures which
befell us during our seven years travelling around the world
with our horses and caravan, the author, David Grant,
begins his preface; he goes on to explain that the primary
purpose of the trip was to give his children a wide look at
the world they will inherit, in the hope that experience of
different places, peoples and cultures will enable them to
become more understanding, caring, tolerant and wiser
citizens of it than if they had simply slogged through the
The children, being 10, 9 and 6 respectively when the
adventure began in 1990, fill the pages of this book with
their extraordinary achievements and their ability to be
responsible in situations which most of us will never even
dream of. Their resilience is matched by the horse, Traceur,
who managed to pull the caravan more than half way across
the world, despite various mishaps and several bouts of
ill-health; his unspoken story threads its way through most
of the book, until the reader is thoroughly captivated by
his enormous spirit and individual personality. David Grant
carries his reader, day by day, mile by mile, through the
beautiful highways and bye-ways of our planet, moving ever
eastwards across Holland, France, Italy, Austria, Hungary
and the Ukrain, towards Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China,
and the great Pacific beyond. At times joined by his wife,
Kate, who was unable to accompany her family for the entire
seven year trip, David not only saw to the day to day
business of keeping his family fed, washed and warm, but
also found himself, at times, bureaucracy which
only superhuman patience and a stream of local heroes helped
It was while passing through Mongolia in 1995 that David met
some Bahá´ís and made the decision to become a Bahá´í himself;
My best memories of Mongolia, he writes, were and remain
the warmth, simple sincerity and decency of most Mongolians,
in one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen.
Personally, the highpoint of our eleven months there was my
acceptance of the Bahá´í Faith. A recognition rather than a
Here, then, is a travel book
with a difference; adventure, intrigue and suspense fill the
pages alongside poetic descriptions of the landscape, and
the every-day problems of simply staying alive. David
Grant's panoramic view of the world, experienced from
grass-root level, is readable, fascinating,and often
humorous; in his own words, we discovered that the world is
full of a truly remarkable number of kind, warm-hearted and
decent people. Yet nearly all of them ... not excluding
ourselves ... come equipped with a baggage of in-built
preconceptions, misconceptions and frequently prejudices. In
dedicating thisbook to my family, our three gallant horses
and the three dogs, I hope that in a small way, which is the
only way possible for most people, we did something towards
breaking down those barriers and increasing understanding
The Seven Year Hitch -A Family Odyssey by David R.
Grant, published by Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-85802-9
pages 9 - 10
Gallery as Tabula Rasa
Site specific installation by Karnik at the Cafe Gallery, London, U.K.
Review by Michèlle Fuirer, U.K.
...Karnik has made a series of highly charged, playful, interconnected site
specific works. Debris, ephemera, leftovers, scraps and scrapings, dirt and
pigment, carrier bags and cheap paper, have been installed in the gallery
space in various guises. Striding paper figures, bird forms,
dogs, shadows, ropes and lines range through the space.
Karnik's work readily makes visible the physical act of drawing, of
inscribing and carving lines, of cutting or tearing, of making pigment and
Drawings originate from marks made by
stain or blot, or use
wire or tape to describe lines in space.
from materials ready to hand, or transforming found
materials, the artist suggests the process is
akin to the mental act of sifting through stores of information, drawing
upon the conscious and unconscious alike.
Detail of the site specific installation,
Tabula Rasa by Karnik
Cafe Gallery, London, U.K. 1998.
In spite of what the chosen
materials may suggest, the process operates far more by design than by
accident. Each work in the exhibition connects, both to site and to each
other, juxtaposition and coincidence is carefully contrived to make an
Bird in search of a cage
detail of the site specific installation,
Tabula Rasa by Karnik
Cafe Gallery, London, U.K. 1998.
...Opposite, in ´a cage in search of a bird´, a dead blackbird is hunched in a
chrome cage. Next to it, simply pinned to the wall, is another bird. Dry,
wizened, miniature, every fine detail of its feathers and
talons take on the
quality of a soft drawing. Alongside, some frenzied and
heavily gouged marks in the plaster have struck through to
the bricks beneath. The text cage
in search of a bird is scored into the wall. This scratching is an
intrusion: the skin of the building has been pierced. The suggestion of
pain, rage, frustration, or of the desire to despoil, to break open or
rupture the surface, suggests a mischievous willfulness that could be
dangerous to know...
...Balanced with humour,
there is a mournful undertow present here which seems to connect with the
idea of the city as a place of lost souls, who, made of the very stuff with
which they are surrounded have become one with the flotsam and jetsam. Mute
birds and daft dogs are the travelling companions.
A battered portfolio
mounted on a pulley invites us to give its handle a tug, this action
activates a drawing to move in the opposite direction on
the line above...
The artist uses the site itself and its windows as
alternatively, a shutter to exclude, or an iris to focus an image for the eye. The places the artist constructs, as in fairy
tales and myths, can be both safe and unsafe; forests which tangle up and conceal, or forests which open out and
create a magical new world.
At one level the work suggests a reading of containment and repression, encasing the microcosm of the artist's world
within the gallery, and then within the macrocosm of the park in the network of the city. A series of concentric circles of
meaning embedded within each other seem to place the observer at the centre of the experience.
pages 10 - 11
CD: Bahá'u'lláh's Way: A Song Cycle
The Doug Shaffer Project
by Lynne Rach, U.S.A.
The ´song cycle´ part of the title is a clue to the journey
the listener will undertake in hearing the songs in order.
The title track, ´Bahá'u'lláh's Way,´ leads off like a
teacher unveiling the light to a seeker. Then follows
´Traceless Friend,´ which musically reminds one of something
that might have been performed by Sting, where the listener
bears witness to the seeker´s first steps in search for the
Subsequent songs admonish the seeker to be
steadfast (´Don't Be Foolish´), to persevere (´Shorten These
Days´), to keep focused on the horizon (´Mountain Rising´),
and to struggle for spiritual life (´Release Me´). The
solution to the struggle is revealed in "Turn to the Light,"
after which the goal is visible in "New World in This
World." The awakened soul travels though a very jazzy ´Walk
Through This World Together´ before reaching the best song
on the CD, ´Just One,´ which advises: Try your very best,
hold the note you sing, hold it while others take a breath
of spring, sing it by the river where God passed by, it's
all just one sweet lullabye...
At present I am working as a soloist, singing and playing acoustic guitar.
My style has developed in such a way that I work more with vocal rather than
instrumental improvisation. The songs on my latest album are concise
recordings of the material in my songs, but my live performances develop the
improvisational moment more, with the audience.
One way that my songs come to me is by my crafting a particular moment,
story or image into song, a process that can mean months of development. One
example of this process is my Dream Song. In 1998, while working on my
previous album, I set about writing a song cycle. I wanted each song to
stand in its own right, and the progression of songs to have meaning as
well. I used an arbitrary modulation scheme, with each song alluding to the
musical ideas of the previous and following songs, to give a subconscious
sense of connectedness within the whole cycle. Some melodic themes also
appear in different guises throughout the cycle. The cycle moved through
group experience, to personal experience, then spiritual, mythical and
transpersonal experience and finally returning to the group, community and
Twelve Strawberries on a Terra-cotta Plate:
by Cal E. Rollins, U.S.A.
...but the Son of man hath not where... Matt 8:20
They rest on a cherry table, polished, old,
its body bowed like a corseted lady.
Lemon wall and curtains, softer yellow,
move together in the open window. Yellow
cat eyes stare in the shadow
where the berries are cool.
In another life, I pluck their stems,
feed them one by one. Hold the cup too,
know it better, drink deeper than all others.
I pull down the sky as a coverlet for the Son
of man, scattering, foxes and birds; soothe that
sweet brow; play on my lyre the music
that bridges peace at this time of day
when air is cooling.
from No Roosters in This Blue City, 1999,
Kalimat Press, U.S.A.
Beneath the Skin, 1991,
Kilkenny limestone sculpture
by Peter Randall-Page U.K.
pages 13 - 15
Making Your Own Books
Kim Hodges, U.S.A.
The program Pagemaker does everything, as far as I know, needed to set up book pages, allowing text to flow from page to
page. The editors at A Small Garlic Press use it and produce saddle-stitched (center-stapled) small poetry books...
However I use Word for my broadside (a single sheet presentation of poetry, often tri-folded, and used as a handout) although,
the graphic presentation is more inconsistent and a struggle...
A book of 100 pages is probably too much for the stapled approach... For a hundred pages you probably need perfect
binding (that's the glue binding on commercial books), or even tape binding...
You can also print books on your home computer printer, if the book is not too large and you don't need a lot of copies at one time.
If it is a laser printer, the quality might be better than some kinds of photocopy. This way, you can do a book at a time as you need
it, and avoid a large investment in printing costs and materials.
A Small Garlic Press: http://wwww.enteract.com/asgp
Kim's broadside is available for downloading as a pdf file under 'broadsides' (click on the battleship). If you have any questions
or information on this topic please email Kim Hodges at email@example.com
Arts Dialogue, Dintel 20, NL 7333 MC, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
http://Bahá´í-library.org/bafa email: firstname.lastname@example.org