Soon the whole world, as in spring-time, will change its garb. The turning and falling of the autumn leaves is past; the bleakness of the winter-time is over. The new year hath appeared and the spiritual spring-time is at hand. The black earth is becoming a verdant garden; the deserts and mountains are teeming with red flowers; from the borders of the wilderness the tall grasses are standing like advance guards before the cypress and jessamine trees; while the birds are singing among the rose branches like angels in the highest heavens, announcing the glad tidings of the approach of that spiritual spring, and the sweet music of their voices is causing the real essence of all things to move and quiver. – Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 4, pp. 2-3.
All over the planet, music by Baha’is has exploded lately. In pop, rock, hip-hop, opera, jazz, Latin, gospel, classical and every other kind of genre, Baha’i recording artists are making inspired and inspiring new contributions to humanity.
Many of those contributions have become well-known in the wider world, but a whole category of Baha’i music, much of it extremely spiritual and moving, has also begun to blossom recently. You could call it sacred song, I suppose, because it sets the actual Baha’i writings and prayers to music for voice and instruments. It’s not only beautiful, it’s deeply touching and spiritually profound, too, all at the same time.
I run a website called Baha’i Blog, and our new “Studio Sessions” initiative showcases this wonderful sacred music. We invite Baha’is in different parts of the world to come into a studio and share the Baha’i Writings put to music, while we film and record them. We then make the song and video available for everyone on Baha’i Blog’s YouTube Channel and Soundcloud page. It’s free, and we’re currently releasing one song/video per week.
I’ve lived in and travelled to many parts of the world, and while attending various Baha’i gatherings in these different places—I’d be sitting in a Baha’i gathering in Malaysia, or in Canada, or in Spain, and someone would pull out a guitar and sing a beautiful composition of the Baha’i writings they had put to music, and I would think, “Wow, I wish others could hear this right now!”
I really love music, and I love the important role it plays in the Baha’i Faith—especially at the grass roots, where we’re all encouraged to “mine” these gems and latent talents within us. These Studio Sessions are our way of encouraging and celebrating the Baha’i writings being put to music by Baha’is and their friends across the globe. We also really want it to be a resource, and we include the quotation used for the song and the chords to the song wherever possible so others can learn it. Music penetrates the hearts and when you combine that with the Baha’i writings, it’s like light upon light!
So far we’ve recorded in Sydney, the Australian Gold Coast, Toronto, London, Arequipa, Peru, and Madrid—and the response has been amazing! We’ve had so many people contact Baha’i Blog to tell us how much they love the initiative and how helpful it’s been for them. There are a lot of people using it in their own personal prayers and in their weekly community-based devotionals, too.
Actually, I was just in Los Angeles a few days ago, and a Baha’i was dropping a few of us off after a meeting, and he starts playing one of the songs from the Studio Sessions in the car and asking all of us if we’d heard the song! He said we all had to get online and download these songs. It was funny because he was looking at me in his mirror and telling me: “You gotta listen to this man! Have you heard this before? Have you heard of Studio Sessions? I’ve got this song on repeat, man. I love it!”
For a second I thought he was joking and doing it because he knew I was involved, but then I realized he had no idea, so I told him I actually just filmed that song a few weeks ago. I’ve had a few similar experiences like this, and it makes me happy because it’s a testimony to how popular it has become, and how it’s affecting so many people on the ground. It’s also good to know people are listening to the Baha’i writings—put to music, they’re so spiritually uplifting!
If you’d like to hear this wonderful music, just ‘subscribe’ to Baha’i Blog’s Youtube channel where you can find our Studio Sessions series and also a whole bunch of other cool Baha’i-inspired videos. It’s free! Doesn’t cost a cent.
We’re also in the middle of a indiegogo crowdfunding campaign where we’re aiming to produce 52 new Studio Sessions around the world, so any help with this would be greatly appreciated.
Anyway, give it a try—tune in to our YouTube channel and check it out!