Hosting the Feast of Might, and All That Jazz

Hosting Feast this Sunday instead of Prayer Station

This Sunday, Sept 7, 2014, dear friends, I will not be holding the weekly Prayer Station devotional gathering because my girls and I will be hosting the Arlington Baha’i community for the Feast of Might that evening. The Baha’i Feast is a gathering of the Baha’i community held every 19 days (at the beginning of each Baha’i month) for purposes of collective worship, consultation on community affairs and social fellowship.

We will resume with our Spiritual Conversations and Prayer Stations next Sunday, Sept 14th, but until then I wanted to leave you with some more musical announcements and food for thought.

Tierney Sutton’s Jazz and the Baha’i Faith

Tierney Sutton: Jazz and Baha'i Faith

Tierney Sutton: Jazz and Baha’i Faith

The superb jazz singer Tierney Sutton — a 6-time Grammy nominee and a fellow cat lover — was featured on NPR by Tom Ashbrook:

“Jazz singer Tierney Sutton came up out of Omaha, Milwaukee, a bit of Boston.  A singing cocktail waitress.  Some Wisconsin roadhouse.  Lapsed Catholic parents.  A hunger for the world.  And she found two things.  Jazz, and the Baha’i faith.  A faith of peace and shared humanity.  You can hear it in her song. Or when she sings Sinatra, or Joni Mitchell.  When she praises Dizzy Gillespie.  This hour On Point:  jazz and Baha’i, with Tierney Sutton.”

Tierney Sutton’s NPR profile follows the New York Times’ wonderful presentation on the influence the Baha’i Faith has had on her growth as a jazz singer:

“For Ms. Sutton, 51, the discovery of jazz and the discovery of the Baha’i faith came nearly simultaneously. And neither of those epiphanies would have seemed especially likely for an atheist teenager in 1970s suburban Milwaukee, a stronghold for the thumping likes of Styx and REO Speedwagon.”

Tierney Sutton’s performance in the Rosslyn Jazz Festival in Arlington, VA a few years ago can illustrate her caliber:

Book your calendar for a house concert and Jazz Prayer Station on Nov 9, 2014 with Ana Velinova

Ana Velinova will perform at the Musical Prayer Station on November 9, 2014

Ana Velinova will perform at the Musical Prayer Station on November 9, 2014

I am very excited to announce that on November 9th, 2014, I will be hosting my friend Ana Velinova, a Bulgarian jazz singer from Seattle, for a house concert – a Jazz Prayer Station. The concert will be part of a mini tour to promote her new holiday song CD. Gergana, as she was known 10 years ago, established a Bulgarian children choir  in NYC which adopted her name after she moved to the Northwest. The choir recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a concert attended by the Bulgarian ambassador and praised throughout the Bulgarian community on the East coast.

Some time ago I had interviewed Ana (then still Gergana) and upon one of my visits to Bulgaria, which had coincided with hers, we paid respect together to the resting place of one of the earliest Baha’i pioneers in Bulgaria, Marion Jack.

Our paths to the Baha’i Faith — from Bulgaria and through music — are somewhat similar, and I can’t wait to introduce more of you to her talents.

Here is one of Ana’s poems — an ode to those who follow their unique path:

This Road

This road i walk on is narrow and hidden.
My bear body covered with thorns.
My mouth ever so dry.
Bloody drops drip from my small feet,
smear the soil and stones.
I meet others who travel,
wandering why i wish to walk here. Not there.
When all i could do is make a small step, change my direction.
Why do i only eat seeds,
when i could feast ’round the big human fires.

Why? Why? Why?
I don’t know.
Maybe i’m in love with a Bird
who’s tripping around, singing:
follow me, follow me,…and you shall find.
Yes, i do bleed.
Yet something inside me
pushes me forward, waters my mouth.
Maybe i ought to be crazy
when seeing the trails of my blood,
i hysterically laugh,
for it shows me that i am alive!

This road i walk on is narrow and hidden.
Here, you must learn to feed from the soul,
and drink from the lakes.
Here, you can shower with rain,
and shelter your body with blankets of leaves.
Here, you can talk to the plants,
and play with the beasts.
And when your heart tells you a poem at midnight,
you may ask the Moon kindly, she’ll lend you her light.

This road i walk on,
so narrow and hidden,
is just what i’ve searched for
since the day i was born.

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