Shidan Toloui-Wallace is an admired contemporary Baha’i chanter.
Her reputation was established in the 90’s during her service in Haifa at the Bahá’í World Centre, as she was regularly selected to chant on special occasions. The greatest honour among all other occasions for Shidan, was the invitation to chant at observances of Holy Days in the sacred grounds of the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh.
It was in Haifa that, with the permission of the Universal House of Justice, Shidan recorded her first album with her dear friend and fellow Bahá’í World Centre staff member Taraneh Rafati, titled the Call of Carmel. Accompanying them was Shidan’s uncle, the late Massod Missaghian, on the santoor (a hammered dulcimer).
Shidan’s daughter Shadi, is also a talented songstress who has produced albums, Leather Bound Book (2009), Verdant Isle (2011) and Daughter of the Kingdom (2016). In all three of these albums Shidan was invited to collaborate with Shadi. This was the beginning of a very unique fusion of the Western and Eastern music, set to the Baha’i writings.
In 2012 Shidan recorded her second album, Phoenix of Love, produced by American Bahá’í guitarist, producer and a dear friend, Louie Shelton. Shidan invited her daughter to collaborate with her on three tracks on this Album. In August 2019 Shidan released her third Baha’i inspired album, Radiant Heart. A mix of old and new collaborations with her daughter Shadi, the album features their unique ability to blend the East and West through soul stirring melodies in English, Farsi and Arabic, set to the Baha’i writings. In early 2019 they launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to produce their first fully collaborative album, Radiant Heart.
Her music contains predominantly a style that reflects Shidan’s heritage and experience in Persian song and tones, it also has a taste of the wonderful fusion of East and West so loved by those who appreciated music from all parts of the world. Shadi’s soulful contribution is joined with Shidan’s melodious tones in three tracks to bring you a taste of this melding of two cultures. Shidan Toloui was born in Tehran, Iran, was raised there until she was 16 when her family relocated to Canada. After marrying an Australian Bahá’í, Paul Wallace, and adding his surname to hers, she moved to Australia in the 1980s. Since then, Shidan Toloui-Wallace has chanted at national and international conferences and gatherings in countries including Australia, Canada, Israel and the United States. Her latest honour was to chant at the opening ceremony of the Chilean temple in 2016.
Shidan was raised in a family of musicians. She learned her art form from her father and mother, who chanted prayers every morning. They imbued the love and respect for this sacred music into their daughter.
“As a Bahá'í I was brought up to believe that music is the food for the soul so to me life without music would be like starving my soul, to me chanting is like an expression of my soul the same way artists express their feelings in a painting.”