Waiata project sets Bahá’í karakia to music
A group of Bahá’ís in Christchurch’s Somerfield neighbourhood have been composing waiata in preparation for the bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb. They have so far set to music nine prayers in te reo Māori, and have started a Youtube channel to make them widely available.
The project began 18 months ago when the group gathered together some of the Māori friends knowledgeable in the language, and youth with musical talent. The publishing of a new Bahá’i prayer book in Māori, Ētahi Karakia Bahá’í, last year, was beautifully timed for the musicians to draw on.
Since the initial gathering, a 17 year old youth from the Kāi Tahu iwi who is both talented in music and knowledgeable in kapa haka and Māori language has collaborated with a professional musician, and a kaumātua. Of the nine waiata that have been composed, one is chanted in traditional style, and others range in sound from reggae through rhythm and blues to hymn styles.
Bahá’í friends with an interest in music rallied in August to start rehearsing the songs ready for official recordings in late September in time for the bicentenary events.
The group hopes that uploading their recordings to YouTube will enable the friends throughout Aotearoa to access and to learn the waiata, so that they can be used both for Bahá’í occasions and cultural occasions.
The aim of the project is to share Writings of the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in song with tangata whenua, and for the spirit of the waiata to affect the hearts of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Listen to the first recording uploaded by the group here:
The Youtube channel of the Bahá’í Waiata Project is at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfMP8beF3w_JpljQp54cH1g
Click on the thumbnails below to see full images of the collaborators practising and recording.