Musician, Pianist, Composer, Vocalist, Artist

Elika Mahony

Welcome! My passion is creating music that inspires the soul and nourishes the spirit.  My new album, ‘The Ancient Beauty’, created in honor of the Bicentenary of Bahá’u’lláh, has just been released!  Join the mailing list to be the first to hear new music and updates!

The Ancient Beauty cover

Browse my music page to listen to other releases and to view my arts and crafts projects on the Art Creations page. Also take a moment to visit a new page on the site of resources on love and marriage. Enjoy!

 

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I often create songs that are given away for free. If you would like to contribute to cover the costs for such projects, please consider making a donation.

 

Recent Blog Posts

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Blessings in Disguise

Inspiration

When I think of all the challenges that I encountered in creating two albums for the Bicentenary of Bahá’u’lláh, I can only think of how grateful I am. Now that the journey is complete I can see how I was guided every step of the way.  I learned to listen to my intuition, to pray and rely on God and to have faith that the outcome would be victorious.  The process required patience, resilience, perseverance and the constant act of letting go and allowing God to take over.

I remember the moment I felt inspired to create an album for the Bicentenary of Bahá’u’lláh. We were on Pilgrimage as a family in December 2016.  On our last day we were walking towards the Shrine of The Báb.  I suddenly felt this strong urge that I must seize this opportunity to create an album in English (I had already been working on an album in Chinese for the Bicentenary). At the same time I thought it would be crazy to try to produce an album in just six months as it usually takes at least one or two years to compose, record and produce a quality album. But I knew I had to do it and so I prayed to find a way to make it possible. Through prayer and some creative brainstorming, I found a collection of songs that I had recorded previously but were not on any albums and decided to take on the task of composing a few new songs, including one about the Titles of Bahá’u’lláh in honor of the Bicentenary.

Blessings in disguise

As it turned out, making the album was the most difficult project in my entire musical career. There were so many obstacles and challenges that I started making a list of them – and I counted 19 difficulties in total!  But in the end those challenges turned out to be blessings in disguise. The most striking example of this was that the sample disc we got back from the duplicator was unusable because of distortion. After trying to fix it twice (sending it back and forth to Shanghai where the duplicator was located), it was clear that we would have to find a different duplicator.  Amazingly, we were able to find a new duplicator in Beijing in a day. Only later we realized it would have been impossible to get the CDs done in time from the first duplicator because it was in Shanghai.  Being forced to find a new duplicator in Beijing ultimately made it possible to finish in time.  So what originally looked like a huge crisis turned out to be the greatest blessing.

Yet another challenge came right at the end of the process. After numerous delays we were finally set to receive the packaging the last week before we left for our summer holiday but as fate would have it one of the heaviest rain storms to hit Beijing in 25 years stopped all delivery of shipments for a couple of days just when our packaging was set to arrive. In addition the factory that produced the beautiful red and gold paper cut packaging hadn’t sealed them in plastic so we were afraid that they would arrive not only late but also water logged and completely unusable.

By the grace of God, however, they arrived just in time and completely dry and undamaged.  However, all of the delays meant that, while I had planned to spend two weeks shipping out orders, I had only two days to send them all out and ended up spending every final minute at the post office. I was half afraid my family would leave without me but I was able to send them out just in time to catch a taxi and go to the airport on our last day!

I often relied on this quote during the challenging days:

Everything of importance...

 


A new video – Intimation

At this time when Bahá’ís and their friends the world over are preparing for celebrations for the Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, I am excited to share a new video titled, ‘Intimation’, from my album, ‘The Ancient Beauty’. A couple of weeks ago, I shared another video of His Titles.

The words of Bahá’u’lláh that are used in this song are taken from His own sublime description of His first experience of the descent of Divine revelation at a time when He was imprisoned in the Black Pit (Siyah-Chal) in Tihran. He describes this moment in the following words:

“During the days I lay in the prison of Tihrán, though the galling weight of the chains and the stench-filled air allowed Me but little sleep, still in those infrequent moments of slumber I felt as if something flowed from the crown of My head over My breast, even as a mighty torrent that precipitateth itself upon the earth from the summit of a lofty mountain. Every limb of My body would, as a result, be set afire. At such moments My tongue recited what no man could bear to hear.”

The song (Intimation) was first composed when I was studying Ruhi book 4 about the life and history of Bahá’u’lláh. We were asked to memorize this quotation and I thought to myself that the only way I could do so would be by setting it to music. It was a difficult endeavor as the passage contains long sentences and challenging words (such as “precipitateth”). A beautiful gift came as I was composing the last sentence, “Every limb of My body would, as a result, be set afire. At such moments My tongue recited what no man could bear to hear.” The composition suddenly flowed and blended with the words perfectly. It was one of those moments I knew I was being used as a channel for inspiration to pass through. The piece was initially recorded on my ‘Fire and Gold’ CD.  For ‘The Ancient Beauty’ album the song has been edited and harmonies have been added.

Click here to watch the video (or watch it below).

Click here to view the video on youku.

Special thanks to several individuals who enabled ‘Intimation’ to come to life: Martin Kerr for his beautiful vocals, Navid Goldrick for playing the santur for skillfully, Farshid Samandari for his help in arrangement, Jarome Matthew in editing and producing the song and Adeeb Afshar for the beautiful photograph of the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh.

Intimation lyrics


The Ancient Beauty – Titles of Bahá’u’lláh

‘The Ancient Beauty’ is the title song from my most recent album in honor of the Bicentenary of Bahá’u’lláh. The song is a powerful invocation of a number of the Titles of Bahá’u’lláh describing His unique station.

I had tried for a long time to set some of His titles to music but after several attempts I almost gave up. I wanted the melody to be fitting and appropriate but the pressure of creating an incredible composition for the Bicentenary of Bahá’u’lláh paralyzed me.

One morning in May, however, I felt inspired to give it one more try and marveled at how the composition flowed that day.  I immediately set about recording the piece as the deadline for the project was fast approaching.

Normally I start out a song quite softly and let the vocals build gradually, but for this one I wanted there to be nothing to distract from His glorious Names.  Please listen and tell me what you think. I hope you also find it moving!

Since releasing the video, I have heard from many friends who have shared that they have used it for devotionals, Feasts  and even plan to use it for their celebration of the Bicentenary!

The slideshow is below and is also available for download on vimeo.

Titles of Baha'u'llah
(Photo by Adeeb Afshar)

 


An Inspiring Video – The Ancient Beauty

As the Bicentenary of Bahá’u’lláh is rapidly approaching, I thought I would share with you an inspiring video of beautiful photos of the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh accompanied by the piece, ‘The Ancient Beauty’, from my latest album.

Click here to watch the video (or watch it below).  The lyrics for the piece consist of a number of the titles of Bahá’u’lláh.

I have made the video available for download on vimeo.  Feel free to use it however you wish.

Click here to view the video on youku.

Special thanks to Adeeb Afshar, Setare Rezvani, Azarnoush Dooki and the Bahá’í International Community for the beautiful photographs.

Click here to listen to the full album, The Ancient Beauty, created in honor of the Bicentenary of Bahá’u’lláh.

 

The Ancient Beauty video


A Radiant Heart – a duet with my daughter

‘A Radiant Heart’ is one of my favorite pieces from my recent album, ‘The Ancient Beauty’, in honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh.

One of the reasons I treasure this song is because it is a duet recorded with my daughter.  Since she was very little, we have loved singing prayers together every night and continue to do so regularly.

The quotation is taken from the Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh. This particular passage has special significance for all of us as individuals as it gives us a beautiful recipe for how to live. I often feel that if the world could only live this way it would be paradise (see the beautiful lyrics below)!

The song ends with the word ‘everlasting’ repeating.  My vision was for the music to finish in a meditative manner so that the listener could ponder on this word while the music continues and fades, giving the song a feeling of continuation that reflects the endless journey of the soul.

Originally the song was composed for guitar and was recorded on my first album, ‘Melodies of the Nightingale’. I had envisioned recording the song as an acappela piece for ‘The Ancient Beauty’ but as I was practicing it, I felt compelled to play it on the piano.  The music came together instantly and I knew I had to let the song evolve in its own direction.

As we were recording the cello for other pieces on this album, we had 10 minutes remaining to record the cello part for this piece.  I was worried that the cellist wouldn’t have enough time to record it but my producer and I decided to ask her to listen to the piece and play what came to her heart spontaneously.  I was amazed and moved by the melodies she came up with on the spot and could tell she was inspired.  We managed to record her just within the allotted time!

This was the last song we recorded for this album and it almost didn’t happen as I was recovering from a severe cold and my daughter was busy with the demands of high school.  I was determined to make it happen and am grateful we managed to record it as it is now one of my favorite pieces.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.  Listen/download ‘A Radiant Heart’ below.

Lyrics - A Radiant Heart


Hands of the Cause of God Volume II!

I’m excited to share that we have finally received from the publisher copies of our new book ‘Hands of the Cause of God, Volume II’.  This is the second in a series on the Hands of the Cause specially written for youth and children, and it covers the lives of Martha Root, Dr. Rahmatu’lláh Muhájir and Enoch Olinga. These three souls all tirelessly traveled the world to share the message of Bahá’u’lláh, embodying the instruction of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the Hands to “spread the divine fragrances”. We hope that their stories will inspire friends everywhere during this special year of the bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh.

Although the book was written with youth and junior youth in mind it can be enjoyed by “youth of all ages” as their stories are priceless and their photographs are precious (some have never before been published).  The volume includes beautiful professionally colored original photographs and is now for sale on my website.  Click here to order.

The first volume in the series recounts the stories of Tarazu’llah Samandari, Amelia Collins and Dorothy Baker.

Hands of the Cause of God Volume II

Hands of the Cause of God Volume II

Hands of the Cause of God Volume II


The Ancient Beauty released!

I am immensely grateful for this moment.  With all the challenges and delays along the way, ‘The Ancient Beauty’ CDs are finally in my hands and they are stunning!

This morning I took photos of the album (see photos below) and I’ve started packing the orders so I can ship the first batch today (half the CD stock has already been purchased so they are going fast)!

Last day to order the CDs at the pre-order price is today!  From tomorrow, the album will return to the regular price of $15.  To place an order (at the pre-order price) for ‘The Ancient Beauty’, click here.

For those of you who would like to give ‘The Ancient Beauty’ to your friends, but are not sure if they have CD players, we have also created a beautiful paper cut gift card with a digital download code. The gift cards were created using a paper cut design in antique gold with space inside to write a personalized note. Details are on the website.

Some friends have asked about purchasing bulk CDs for gifts for their Bicentenary celebrations. If you would like to make a bulk order for your community, kindly email me.

The moment the CDs arrived on my doorstep!

The gorgeous cover for ‘The Ancient Beauty’

The laser paper cut design is truly sublime!

A glimpse of ‘The Ancient Beauty’ package

The introduction about Bahá’u’lláh


‘The Ancient Beauty’ download cards!

I have some more good news for you!

After a suggestion from a few friends of mine, we are now making available ‘The Ancient Beauty’ digital download paper cut cards with individual codes (for the full album) to be given as gifts. Many people have expressed that they would like to give the album as gifts to friends without CD players. So we have decided to make these beautiful antique gold paper cut cards available in sets of 5 and 10.

Each card comes with an envelope and a unique download code with instructions on how to download the full album (see photos below).   There is a blank space on the inside of the cards for you to write personalized messages to give as a gifts.  The best part is Shipping is FREE!

Click here to purchase the paper cut cards in either a set of 5 or 10.  

If you would like to order the CDs instead, here is the link.

Click here to watch the video introducing the album for the pre-launch.  Now all songs are available for download.

Below are the Digital cards – set of 5. Each comes with an envelope.

The Ancient Beauty Digital card set of 5

Below are  theDigital cards – set of 10

The Ancient Beauty Digital card set of 10

Join the mailing list for updates and more info about the release of ‘The Ancient Beauty’.


An Inspiring Cover Design

Creating the cover for my new album, ‘The Ancient Beauty’ has been such an inspiring experience.  There was such creative flow as I explained to the designer what I envisioned for the cover.

As I sat with my designer brainstorming ideas for the cover, I knew I wanted a paper cut design as there is a beauty and sophistication in this art form. We looked at a photo of the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh and noticed the intricate ironwork on the gate at the entrance of His Shrine. We both immediately knew we had to incorporate that design in the papercut. The first draft produced by my designer was fairly simple and while it was lovely it seemed that something was missing. Then we realized that the gate has a distinctive stylized “B” in the middle. So we did a new design with the “B” and it was perfect!

Below are some photos of the creative process so you can see how detailed the design is.

Also just to give you a heads up, the pre-order price of $12 per CD will last until June 19th after which time the regular price of $15 per CD will apply.  Here is a link to order CDs.

There is a special discount price for pre-orders ($12 during the pre-order only) and further discounts of orders of 5 CDs ($10 each) or 10 CDs or more ($9 each) so that friends can give them as gifts to others.

To learn more about ‘The Ancient Beauty’, you can read more about the album here.  All songs on the album can now be downloaded.

If you have not yet pre-ordered the album, you can do so here.

Adding the ‘B’ to the design of the gate

Such intricate designs

Cover of ‘The Ancient Beauty’
The Ancient Beauty cover

Below is the gate to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh that inspired the cover design. Photo by Antzmanz on DeviantArt


The Ancient Beauty digital downloads now available!

I have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that “The Ancient Beauty” is now ready for full digital download!  Simply click here to purchase. If you have already pre-ordered the CD you should have received an email with a code for the digital download.

The bad news is that there were some issues with the sample CD sent by the duplicator and this may delay the release of the physical album by a week or so. Our team has been trying to solve the problem but the language barrier (technical music production terms in Chinese) is not easy!

Please keep the project in your prayers.

Whenever I am feeling challenged, I love reading the quotation below as it brings me peace of mind.  The red rose is from our garden!

Rose quotes - Elika Mahony