A new anthem of diversity – Waves of One Sea – has just emerged from a year-long global singalong project with 240 participants from 44 countries and regions, featuring soloists in six languages.
The music reflects the beautiful diversity of the world by combining the voices of varied cultures, styles and instruments, including the djembe from Africa, acoustic guitar from Morocco, erhu, pipa and guzheng from China, the melodeon from France, and cello, piano, and flute.
The lyrics, from the Baha'i teachings, call for love and unity. The soloists sing Abdu’l-Baha’s stirring call to “Let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path,” and the 240 participants join in on the chorus taken from the writings of Abdu’l-Baha: “Ye are all the leaves of one tree. Ye are all the waves of one sea.”
Sometimes it seems that today’s world is so full of conflicts and prejudices that peace and unity are unattainable utopian ideals. But for Elika Mahony, the composer of the song and initiator of the project, those very challenges underscored the importance of sharing a vision of unity in diversity through music. Thus was born the idea for a global singalong, with the participation of singers from all over the world.
The initial inspiration for the project came during the early days of the pandemic when so many people were separated from their loved ones and in need of hope and support. Elika consulted with Jarome Matthew, her music producer of many years, and Ali Youssefi, an experienced creator of composite videos, about her vision for the project. They reflected on how to bring people together when it was not possible to gather physically. Since everyone was just then starting to meet on Zoom, they saw an opportunity to utilize the new technologies to create an uplifting song and video that would bring joy and spread a positive Baha'i-inspired message.
As with many things, the idea for the Waves of One Sea project was easier than the execution. Recording the music took over a year as the musicians, producers and singers were located on all continents except Antarctica! The final video project involved viewing, integrating and arranging more than two hundred video submissions sent by friends and family, young and old (from 2 years to 75+) from all over the world. That complex process turned into a labor of love for the entire group.
Waves of One Sea will accompany other songs on a special album that Elika will be release later this year titled “The Divine Mystery.” The album, created in honor of Abdu’l-Baha for the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his passing, will help listeners reflect on and be inspired by Abdu’l-Baha extraordinary life of service to humanity. One of the other songs on the album is based on Abdu’l-Baha statement that “when a thought of war comes” we should “oppose it by a stronger thought of peace.”
In The Waves of One Sea, the words of the chorus are “Ye are all the leaves of one tree,
Ye are all the waves of one sea.” The words sung by the soloists in English (Elika Mahony), Swahili (Auntieclare Rezin), Spanish (Ali Youssefi), Chinese (Tracy Chen), Italian (Naim Abid) and French (Elika Mahony) are:
English: Let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.
Swahili: Acha moyo wako uwake kwa wema kwa wale wote wanaoweza kupita njia yako.
Spanish: No os contentéis con demostrar amistad sólo con palabras; dejad que vuestro corazón se encienda con amorosa bondad hacia todos los que se crucen en vuestro camino.
Yao rang ni de xin wei suo you ni yu dao de ren ran shao chu chi re de ai huo.
Italian: Fate che il vostro cuore sia pieno di amorevole gentilezza per tutti quelli che incontrate sul vostro cammino.
French: Que votre coeur soit embrasé par une affectueuse bonté envers tous ceux qui peuvent croiser votre chemin.
The song has already generated an extremely heart-warming global response. Friends around the world have written that it has given them goose bumps and moved them to tears as they watched the radiant faces of people from different races, backgrounds and cultures coming together to sing about unity. Many have shared the video with their friends and family who have expressed similar sentiments. Perhaps the power of songs in praise of unity was best expressed by Abdu’l-Baha himself when he wrote:
Lift up your voices and sing out the song of the Kingdom. Spread far and wide the precepts and counsels of the loving Lord, so that this world will change into another world, and this darksome earth will be flooded with light ...
Elika hopes that this global singalong video project – and each of the songs on the upcoming album – will send thoughts of peace and unity in diversity to uplift and inspire the hearts and minds of people all around the world.