“We have made music a ladder by which souls may ascend to the realm on high.” These are the words of Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. The Blessed Beauty, Prince of Peace, World Unifier, Light to the World; these are a few of the many titles of this Divine Messenger of God.
Bahá’u’lláh shared a bounty of beautiful writings and teachings that center on unity, oneness, and spiritual progress, among many other themes. Connected to the quote referenced above, Bahá’u’lláh has exalted the arts and music to the station of worship.
October 22, 2017 marked the 200 year anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh. To celebrate this special time, I’ve written a blog post to share 10 beautiful songs that give praise and tribute to Bahá’u’lláh, Light to the World.
Light to the World: 10 Songs about Bahá’u’lláh
1) Colby Jeffers – “Treasure”
Starting off with my personal contribution to this list, “Treasure” shares the journey of 6 Baha’i youth in discovering and embracing Bahá’u’lláh. Using the powerful storytelling art form of rap, coupled with cinematic, ocean-themed visuals, we hope this music video resonates and inspires!
2) Seals and Crofts – “Hummingbird”
Soft-rock duo, Seals and Crofts, released a major hit in “Hummingbird” in 1973. Hitting number 20 on the U.S. Billboard charts, Hummingbird makes symbolic and direct references to Bahá’u’lláh. Singing out “Oh hummingbird, mankind was waiting for you to come flying along”, this song highlights the the new day which Bahá’u’lláh brought to the world.
3) Elika Mahony – “Ancient Beauty”
Vocalist, composer, pianist, and artist, Elika Mahony shares a soul-stirring piece in “Ancient Beauty”, which gives us a glimpse into the Personage and Mission of Bahá’u’lláh. The Blessed Beauty…The King of Glory…The Most Great Ocean, what else can we feel but incredibly grateful and humbled as we listen to the beautiful vocals and reflect on the Names of Bahá’u’lláh.
4) Shadi Toloui-Wallace – “Royal Falcon”
Iranian-Australian singer-songwriter, Shadi-Toloui Wallace brings your soul up the ladder with this song! Putting one of Bahá’u’lláh’s beautiful Writings to music, “Royal Falcon” is another song that informs us of the glorious station of this Divine Figure. “I am the guiding Light that illumineth the way. I am the royal Falcon on the arm of the Almighty. I unfold the drooping wings of every broken bird and start it on its flight.”
5) Ramine Yazhari – “This Newborn Child”
Physician by day, musician by night, Portland-based singer-songwriter, Ramine Yazhari’s resplendent song “This Newborn Child” was inspired by a recent publication titled Days of Remembrance. The book features a selection of Bahá’í Writings revealed in commemoration for Bahá’í Holy Days. One passage that inspired Ramine was designated for the celebration of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh. Again, these Writings gives a twinkling of an insight into the rank and station of Bahá’u’lláh: “All dominion belongeth to this newborn Child through Whom the face of creation hath been wreathed in smiles, and the trees have swayed, and the oceans have surged, and the mountains have taken flight.”
6) Tom Price – “O Bahá’u’lláh”
Songwriter, conductor, and musical director of the international choir “Voices of Baha”, Tom Price gives us another moving composition with “O Bahá’u’lláh”. In this rendition, we hear soloist Susan Engle recite the vocals accompanied by the Bahá’í World Congress Choir and Orchestra. The lyrics share the wish of those who devote themselves to the service of Bahá’u’lláh’s Cause: “O Bahá’u’lláh! May my life be sacrificed for Thee!”
7) Margie De Rosso – “Praise Bahá’u’lláh”
New York based vocalist, Margie De Rosso, offers a simple, yet deeply profound chant and song in her composition “Praise Bahá’u’lláh”. “Praise Bahá’u’lláh, praise Him forever”. This short phrase chanted in repetition reminds us of the nature of our relationship with this Great Messenger.
8) Shirley Flynn – “1817”
1817 is a unique and uplifting creation by Welsh-Australian singer-songwriter Shirley Flynn. Titled after the year Bahá’u’lláh was born, the song is written to Bahá’u’lláh’s mother, Khadijeh. Flynn sings out to this renowned woman of the Baha’i Faith, “All those years ago, your time had come. You felt the birth pains, and how were you to know He’d change our lives…”
9) Smith and Dragoman – “The Darkest Pit (siyya-chal)”
A fusion of musical styles coupled with amazing harmonies and touching lyrics, Smith and Dragoman take us to one of the most paradoxically saddening, yet utterly joyous moments in the life of Bahá’u’lláh, in a most moving style. The song recounts Bahá’u’lláh’s unjust imprisonment, “Barefoot and bareheaded, chains dig deep into His skin, He is made to enter, descend into the darkness, descend into the darkest pit.” Yet, it was also in this place where Bahá’u’lláh received His divine revelation, as sung by Smith and Dragoman, “‘I beheld a maiden…suspended in the air before Me’ And the words that were said as she pointed to His head transformed the darkness into light…”
10) Colby and Awu – “I Believe”
One more personal addition to add to the list! “I Believe” is a international collaboration between Cameroonian singer Awu and myself. The pop/hip hop track highlights the concept of progressive revelation and the oneness of religion so beautifully articulated by Bahá’u’lláh in His Writings. As I state in the final verse of the rap, “Bahá’u’lláh brought God’s Message for today, and now the quest for global unity is underway.”
I hope you enjoy listening through this playlist and that it brings light to your eyes, ears, and soul! If you have any thoughts on the playlist, please leave a comment below!
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