MANA 3 and 4 arrived!
I love music. I love it live but I also love it recorded. I’ve always loved the feeling of getting a new CD in my hands, unwrapping it with anticipation of the joy of hearing the music for the first time. Years ago, in Bulgaria, I used to run a small business selling tapes and CDs on the main street of my home town. I started the business the year after I became a Baha’i, and it turned out to be a nice venue for introducing those who walked by my music table to the Baha’i teachings by directing them to the other table covered with Baha’i brochures. The Baha’i travel teachers visiting from the U.S. thus introduced a number of dear friends to the Baha’i Faith and invited them later to discussions and prayer meetings. From those days of new music and new faith, I love the feeling of receiving my shipment of CDs and anticipating the joy of introducing others to the music.
Today I received my shipment of 30 brand new CDs by MANA, the Baha’i inspired Pacific Island music and cultural performance group based in Australia. The word MANA means ‘The Almighty’ or ‘The Powerful’ and signifies strength of spirit in most languages of the Pacific. As their website indicates, the members of MANA are originally from Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti and the Cook Islands, so the songs on their CDs are in a mix of English and their native tongues.
My introduction to the music of MANA coincided several years ago with my plunge into the study circles based on the courses developed by the Ruhi Institute. MANA had recorded a joyful CD full of songs based on the quotations from the Ruhi 1 book “Reflections on the Life of the Spirit”. We all participants of the study circle so loved it that the songs became a favorite way of memorizing the quotations. A few years later MANA assisted by their new manager, Naysan Naraqi, produced a beautiful video based on the song “Backbiting“:
MANA’s creativity is put to service with the aim of assisting the spread of study circles, so they are not in the business of making money. Just as the other day New Creation and TaliaSafa indicated, most Baha’i musicians do not make profit from their recordings but strive to invest whatever proceedings they might have from selling the CDs into the recording of subsequent albums. That is exactly the case with MANA too. You too can help them by ordering their CDs. If you prefer download version you will have to wait a couple of more months until the MP3 versions of the songs becomes available on iTunes and possibly on DivineNotes. But holding the CD in your hands is always nice, plus you get to read the gorgeous CD cover. That is why I decided to order the CDs. And since MANA do not have a distributor in the U.S. yet, I sent an email around asking friends from the DC area if they would be interested in making a joint bulk order, and as a result I was able to order 30 CDs directly from the producer. Do not be scared by this number, though — ordering a set of 10 CDs would still make it economical, and you can mix and match your order from all 4 CDs MANA have produced so far.
Today, as soon as I received the shipment, I immediately opened “The Twin Manifestations” CD because I have always loved the Ruhi 4 book. My favorite songs from the first run are “They Suffered” and “No Time To Lose”:
…they suffered the most grievous difficulties and severe ordeals. They withstood the tests with wonderful power and sublime heroism. Thousands were cast into prison, punished, persecuted and martyred. Their homes were pillaged and destroyed, their possessions confiscated. They sacrificed their lives most willingly and remained unshaken in their faith to the very end. Those wonderful souls are the lamps of God, the stars of sanctity shining gloriously from the eternal horizon of the will of God.
(Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 138)
There is no time to lose. There is no room left for vacillation. Multitudes hunger for the Bread of Life. The stage is set. The firm and irrevocable Promise is given. God’s own Plan has been set in motion …. The powers of heaven and earth mysteriously assist in its execution …. Let the doubter arise and himself verify the truth of such assertions. To try, to persevere, is to ensure ultimate and complete victory.
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, p. 17)
I will listen to the “Teaching Children” CD tomorrow but in the meantime I encourage you all to contact MANA and order their CDs. Not only you will enjoy their music but you will also help them continue producing beautiful CDs for the whole sequence of Ruhi Institute books. And while you are at it, please order TaliaSafa’s CD as well as “Let All Associate” by New Creation!