Songs of Oneness

Photos from the “Songs of Oneness” concert at Hyde Park. Photo credit Rohan Golestani.

Songs of Oneness

Songs of Oneness is a free, all ages concert, celebrating the 200th birthday of Bahá’u’lláh. Shameem will be presenting a smorgasbord of mostly original music, accompanied her exceptional live band, on the theme of “the oneness of humanity”. Bring a picnic, enjoy the beautiful surrounds of Hyde Park, and be inspired by uplifting words of hope, soaring soulful melodies, and infectious beats.

“The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” – Bahá’u’lláh

Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892) was born into a noble family in Persia, but abandoned political prestige in order to tend to the poor and oppressed. The rapid spread of His progressive spiritual and social teachings lead Him to suffer 40 years of imprisonment, torture and exile at the hands of the Persian and Ottoman governments. He now inspires the efforts of millions of people who derive from His teachings inner strength and spiritual direction for their lives, as well as practical solutions to contemporary challenges facing the world.

Baha’i Blog – The Second City: An Interview with Shameem

Mostly I’ve been featured on music blogs, but this time I was featured on Baha’i Blog! Check out my interview here.

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Over 12 years ago while visiting Perth, Australia, I met an amazing young Baha’i who was singing her heart out at the Baha’i Centre of Learning there. Her name was Shameem, and even though she was only in high school at the time, it was immediately clear that this enthusiastic and talented young singer, songwriter and musician was really going places with her music!

Now on her third album, and with a bunch of awards under her belt, Shameem continues to bless the stage and the airwaves with her wonderful soulful sound.

I recently caught up with Shameem again to find out more about her and her music:
Read more

Why “The Second City”?

One pet question that I get whenever I’m doing an interview for a radio station, blog, streetpress or magazine is, “So, where does the title of your album The Second City come from?” So many people ask that question that I thought it would probably make for a good blog article, and that way I could take my sweet time explaining it, and not feel the need to rush to keep time available for other interview questions, haha.

So there’s a song on the album called “Chill in The Fire”. You can read in detail about the meaning of the lyrics in “Chill in The Fire” here, but the point is that it’s inspired by a Persian mystical work by Bahá’u’lláh called The Seven Valleys. The Seven Valleys is a highly poetic book describing the journey of the soul, using the imagery of travelling through seven valleys to explain ones spiritual journey. In the opening section it reads, “The stages that mark the wayfarer’s journey from the abode of dust to the heavenly homeland are said to be seven. Some have called these Seven Valleys, and others, Seven Cities. And they say that until the wayfarer taketh leave of self, and traverseth these stages, he shall never reach to the ocean of nearness and union, nor drink of the peerless wine.”

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The lyrics of “Chill in The Fire” are inspired by the second of these seven valleys, or seven cities, which is called The Valley of Love. I’m particularly enchanted by the imagery and language of that chapter in the book. So, since that song is inspired by the second valley/ city, and because this is my second album, I thought “The Second City” would make an apt title for the album. My second choice for the album title would have been “Beautiful Soul” (the title of the first track on the album), but I like the mystery behind “The Second City” more. Plus it gave me the excuse to have the album photoshoot with the skyline of my beautiful hometown, Perth city, in the background.

You can check out a lyric video that I made for “Chill in The Fire”, using photos from The Second City photoshoot, here. The album is available for purchase on iTunes or BandCamp.

ABC Radio National – The Baha’i soul of Australian singer Shameem

I did a really enjoyable interview with Geoff Wood on ABC Radio National’s The Rhythm Divine, talking about the spiritual inspiration behind my music and lyrics. Here’s a little except from the program, which you can download in full here.

Geoff posted a neat little blurb about the show before it was aired, and did this beautiful write up afterwards that was featured on the ABC home page for a few hours.

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It reads like a film script—struggling musician posts demos online and gets interest from a Grammy-winning producer who offers to co-write her new single—but it’s what happened to young Perth-based Baha’i singer-songwriter Shameem, writes Geoff Wood.

‘It shows that MySpace isn’t completely dead,’ says Shameem, laughing as she recalls the day a Grammy-winning producer turned her life upside down.

‘I got this message on MySpace from James Bryan and I hadn’t heard of him. He’d actually found some demos that I’d done. He said, “I really love your voice and do you write your own music?”
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Radio interview 99.3 Northside FM (Sydney)

Interview on 99.3 Northside FM with Tony Pang on “The Asian Hour”.

[audio: Pang June 2012 Shameem.mp3]

“Keep ‘Em Shameem” – Drum Media article 17/11/11

Local songstress Shameem Taheri-Lee and her band launch their debut LP this weekend, and Jackson Best finds out the goss.

You first caught people’s ears with the Universe for Afternoon Tea EP back in 2009. What’s been happening since Afternoon Tea? Playing lots of shows, and writing lots of songs! Earlier this year we did a big WA tour, which was challenging and exciting for the band. I also did a songwriting trip to London mid-year and scoped out the music scene while I was there, and played a few gigs too.
Read more

In Time – inspiration

The lyrics for “In Time” are here.

This song was written late at night, not long before album was recorded. It is the most intuitive, raw track of the album, and was recorded in only two takes.

This song was inspired, in part, by a beautiful poem, shown below. It’s about the simultaneous ecstasy and torture of being in love with an invisible, incomprehensible God.

This is Faith” – poem by Ruhiyyih Khanum

To walk where there is no path
To breathe where there is no air
To see where there is not light –
This is Faith.

To cry out in the silence,
The silence of the night,
And hearing no echo believe
And believe again and again –
This is Faith.

To hold pebbles and see jewels
To raise sticks and see forests
To smile with weeping eyes –
This is Faith.

To say: “God, I believe” when others deny,
“I hear” when there is no answer,
“I see” though naught is seen –
This is Faith.

And the fierce love in the heart,
The savage love that cries
“Hidden Thou art yet there!
Veil Thy face and mute Thy tongue
yet I see and hear Thee, Love,
Beat me down to the bare earth,
Yet I rise and love Thee, Love!”
This is Faith.

In Time – lyrics

In Time

Saw the evening sky was crying
a star fell to the sea
and I saw the splendour dying:
a single teardrop shed for You and me

And though I can’t see You, it’s alright
’cause I know I’ll feel You in time

Felt the fire burn my will down
till my heart beat no more
I was tortured till I was found:
A candle humbled low upon the floor

And though I can’t see You, it’s alright
’cause I know I’ll feel You in time

In time, in time…

And though I can’t see You, it’s alright
’cause I know I’ll feel You in time

In time I’ll see
that this madness is Your mercy

Yin – lyrics


It is hard to rise when you are looked down upon,
When you are frowned upon
Oh, where’s my rightful crown?
It is hard to rise when you want to prove yourself
Why do I need to fight
To earn my rightful crown?

I am yin, I’m your kin
We are each a wing of the bird of life
We can fly together, or die and never know why
I am yin, I’m your kin
We are each a wing of the bird of life
We can fly together, we could fly forever if we fly together

How can I give when my gifts are minimised,
I offer you my crown
How can I give when my gifts are turned away,
When they are spurned away?
I offer you my crown

I am yin, I’m your kin
We are each a wing of the bird of life
We can fly together, or die and never know why
I am yin, I’m your kin
We are each a wing of the bird of life
We can fly together, we could fly forever if we fly together

(keys solo)

You are our fathers, brothers, husbands; we need you
We are your mothers, sisters, wives; you need us too
This is the balance for in spirit we are the same as you
But a one-winged bird will never fly, this much is true

I am yin, I’m your kin
We are each a wing of the bird of life
We can fly together, or die and never know why
I am yin, I’m your kin
We are each a wing of the bird of life
We can fly together, we could fly forever if we fly together