Songs of the Way, Vol. 1

Date of release: 1 Jan, 2015

Album Cover

Tracklist + Liner Notes

  1. Cadence (Sh Nasr)

    On that moment before all moments,
    On that morn before the world was born,
    When we did Thy Lordship witness,
    Seeing Thy Countenance, hearing Thy Command,
    Uttering the yea that echoes forever within,
    Did we the cadence of Divine Music hear.

    In this lowly world I hear that Music near and far,
    In the plucking of the oud and the tar,
    In the drone of the sitar and the gong of the gamelan,
    In the haunting melodies of those monks
    Singing in unison of Thy Glory,
    In the rhythmic drumbeats issuing from verdant forests,
    And the shepherd’s ney breathing upon the hills,
    In all those voices chanting of the love for Thee,
    In all music that celebrates Thy Beauty inviolable,
    I do hear that cadence of Divine Music,
    And so in the chanting of the birds and the singing of the whales,
    In the murmur of the wind through those majestic trees,
    And even in the silent invocation of the mountains and the stars,
    For is not the substance of all Thy creation,
    But invocation of Thy Blessed Names
    chanted in the cadence of Divine Music?

    But most of all it is in solitude with Thee,
    When I and Thou are alone in intimacy,
    That I hear so clearly the cadence of that Music Divine
    Which I heard on that pre-eternal dawn,
    And which ceases not to resonate within,
    Bearing witness to the reality of Thy Presence,
    Echoing the cadence of that Divine Music,
    Echoes from the myriads of created beings
    That are but nothingness reflecting Thy Theophanies.

    Let me be alone in Thy intimacy,
    So as to hear again in the clearest of sounds,
    The cadence of that Music Divine
    Which I heard at the moment of encounter with Thy Face,
    In that pre-eternal moment of creation,
    The moment that is now and ever shall be the eternal now.

  2. Cadence

    On that moment before all moments,
    On that morn before the world was born,
    When we did Thy Lordship witness,
    Seeing Thy Countenance, hearing Thy Command,
    Uttering the yea that echoes forever within,
    Did we the cadence of Divine Music hear.

    In this lowly world I hear that Music near and far,
    In the plucking of the oud and the tar,
    In the drone of the sitar and the gong of the gamelan,
    In the haunting melodies of those monks
    Singing in unison of Thy Glory,
    In the rhythmic drumbeats issuing from verdant forests,
    And the shepherd’s ney breathing upon the hills,
    In all those voices chanting of the love for Thee,
    In all music that celebrates Thy Beauty inviolable,
    I do hear that cadence of Divine Music,
    And so in the chanting of the birds and the singing of the whales,
    In the murmur of the wind through those majestic trees,
    And even in the silent invocation of the mountains and the stars,
    For is not the substance of all Thy creation,
    But invocation of Thy Blessed Names
    chanted in the cadence of Divine Music?

    But most of all it is in solitude with Thee,
    When I and Thou are alone in intimacy,
    That I hear so clearly the cadence of that Music Divine
    Which I heard on that pre-eternal dawn,
    And which ceases not to resonate within,
    Bearing witness to the reality of Thy Presence,
    Echoing the cadence of that Divine Music,
    Echoes from the myriads of created beings
    That are but nothingness reflecting Thy Theophanies.

    Let me be alone in Thy intimacy,
    So as to hear again in the clearest of sounds,
    The cadence of that Music Divine
    Which I heard at the moment of encounter with Thy Face,
    In that pre-eternal moment of creation,
    The moment that is now and ever shall be the eternal now.

  3. 03 . Al-Hamdu Li’Llah (SH Nasr)

    Thy Mercy encompasses us O Lord,
    As life in the domain of death,
    As knowledge in the sea of ignorance,
    As the inebriating beauty of Thy Face
    Reflecting through earthly forms
    In a world which without them
    Would suffocate of its own ugliness.
    How to thank Thee, O Lord,
    When the very breath that thanks Thee
    Is vivified by Thy ever-present Mercy.
    For is not the very substance of existence
    The Breath of Thy Compassion manifested?
    And is not the love which quickens life
    A reflection of Thy Love for Thine own theophany?

  4. 04 . Al-Hamdu Li’Llah

    In the Name of God

    Music is born of silence. That one silence possesses and encompasses all sound, and yet is inaudible to us. When the first note is sung silence becomes music, the One gives birth to the many, an infinite variety of melody and harmony, a rainbow of musical tones expressing facets of a single Light. Songs of the Way is a musical tapestry, bringing tones from east and west into harmony to express the many aspects of the silence of inwardness and contemplation.

    The inspiration that animates this work, its life and soul, is the poetry of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, for it expresses timeless Truth and a life devoted to attaining it. The dimensions of this personal yet universal message evoke a diversity of responses, of spiritual states and perspectives, expressed in the Songs of the Way. The yearning lament of the kamanche and the ney, the interiorizing fervor of flamenco guitar, and the nobility of the classical Middle Eastern Sufi style all express human responses to a Divinity that transcends us. They call us to remember the Sacred within us, and ultimately, like everything beautiful, manifest aspects of Divinity Itself. And amid these tones there is the voice, the sound closest to our heart, which soars to evoke the cadence that we heard before the world was born.

  5. 05 . Let Us Not Forget (SH Nasr)

    Let us not forget who we are, whence we came, where we shall go;
    Let us not forget that pre-eternal day when we bore witness,
    Bore witness to His Lordship with a resounding yea,
    Which does still echo under the vaults of the celestial realm.

    Let us not forget the intimacy of the Beloved’s embrace,
    The warmth of Her bosom when we in union were.
    We have now fallen and forgotten who we are,
    Wandering on earth with no compass in hand.

    But we can remember, so let us not forget.
    Let us not forget that although cast in this lowly world,
    Although blinded by veils of neglect and heedlessness,
    Although forgetfulness our second nature has become,
    We are placed here on earth to remember and can remember.

    Let us not forget then to remember our Origin and End,
    To remember who we really are as we make this journey of earthly life.

  6. 06 . Let Us Not Forget

    Let us not forget who we are, whence we came, where we shall go;
    Let us not forget that pre-eternal day when we bore witness,
    Bore witness to His Lordship with a resounding yea,
    Which does still echo under the vaults of the celestial realm.

    Let us not forget the intimacy of the Beloved’s embrace,
    The warmth of Her bosom when we in union were.
    We have now fallen and forgotten who we are,
    Wandering on earth with no compass in hand.

    But we can remember, so let us not forget.
    Let us not forget that although cast in this lowly world,
    Although blinded by veils of neglect and heedlessness,
    Although forgetfulness our second nature has become,
    We are placed here on earth to remember and can remember.

    Let us not forget then to remember our Origin and End,
    To remember who we really are as we make this journey of earthly life.

  7. 07 . Terengganu (SH Nasr)

    The Word of Allah echoes in this Pacific clime
    Far away from the austere mountain of Hira,
    Yet, Its power remains, Its resonance firm
    As It penetrates the soul of this gentle people,
    Bearers of Its message in this land far away.

    The Word is burned into the substance of their souls,
    Emanating as golden light appearing as threads,
    Weaving in songkets patterns that allude
    To that magic beauty that to Heaven belongs.
    Forms in flora in symmetry bound
    In a geometry that feeds the inner eye
    In colors, in theopanies that remold the soul
    With majestic Quranic verses the unifying crown.

    How far we wander away from our abode
    To be recalled by the Word and Its distant echoes
    In this fleeting journey of life, of His Presence,
    Reflected in tile patterns of the Alhambra and Seville,
    As well as in the songkets of Terengganu and the nearby.
    From East to West the Light of His Word does shine,
    For It issues from that central Pole Divine,
    Which is neither to the East nor the West confined,
    And yet both East and West in Its Light unites.

  8. Terengganu

    The Word of Allah echoes in this Pacific clime
    Far away from the austere mountain of Hira,
    Yet, Its power remains, Its resonance firm
    As It penetrates the soul of this gentle people,
    Bearers of Its message in this land far away.

    The Word is burned into the substance of their souls,
    Emanating as golden light appearing as threads,
    Weaving in songkets patterns that allude
    To that magic beauty that to Heaven belongs.
    Forms in flora in symmetry bound
    In a geometry that feeds the inner eye
    In colors, in theopanies that remold the soul
    With majestic Quranic verses the unifying crown.

    How far we wander away from our abode
    To be recalled by the Word and Its distant echoes
    In this fleeting journey of life, of His Presence,
    Reflected in tile patterns of the Alhambra and Seville,
    As well as in the songkets of Terengganu and the nearby.
    From East to West the Light of His Word does shine,
    For It issues from that central Pole Divine,
    Which is neither to the East nor the West confined,
    And yet both East and West in Its Light unites.

  9. Ze Eshqat (SH Nasr)

    I am so drunk from Thy love that I no longer know myself,
    I am in wonderment in this drunkenness and yet remain silent.
    Being away from Thee is not possible, nor is Thy embrace full of love,
    Yet bewildered am I from the perfume of Thy black hair.
    Unveil Thy Face, O Saki, for my soul is in quest.
    Give a gulp of that wine that will remove my breath and mind.
    In this monastery full of affliction I have accepted much suffering
    With this thought—that one day I would drink the wine of gnosis.
    In this world I have Thee, I have Thee alone.
    Union with Thee is the goal of my life; I continue to strive on this path.

    The fervor for meeting Thee burns within me like fire,
    I continue to burn in this fire though I am annihilated and silent.

  10. Ze Eshqat

    I am so drunk from Thy love that I no longer know myself,
    I am in wonderment in this drunkenness and yet remain silent.
    Being away from Thee is not possible, nor is Thy embrace full of love,
    Yet bewildered am I from the perfume of Thy black hair.
    Unveil Thy Face, O Saki, for my soul is in quest.
    Give a gulp of that wine that will remove my breath and mind.
    In this monastery full of affliction I have accepted much suffering
    With this thought—that one day I would drink the wine of gnosis.
    In this world I have Thee, I have Thee alone.
    Union with Thee is the goal of my life; I continue to strive on this path.

    The fervor for meeting Thee burns within me like fire,
    I continue to burn in this fire though I am annihilated and silent.

  11. Autumn (SH Nasr)

    From the moment we into this world are born,
    Our journey begins to the Origin from which we came.
    Our life is a readying for that Return,
    Return to whence it all began.
    Nature’s ever recurrent rhythms this truth reveal,
    And remind us through the birth and death,
    Spring and Autumn of vegetal life,
    Of that great cycle of our own earthly existence,
    Whose Omega is the Return to the Alpha, the All.

    With the Autumn breeze the tree colors turn,
    Forests become a rainbow of shimmering hues,
    Yellows and purples and reds vie with the greens,
    In a geometry sublime, intricate beyond our ken,
    To create a symphony of forms of endless beauty.
    Nature dresses in her most noble garb,
    To be worthy of being present before the Majestic King,
    To whom all things do return.
    And return it does as its colors diminish,
    As hues fade away into a subtle colorlessness,
    Which yet all colors contains, a death which is also new life.

    The gnostic lives in this world of change,
    Aware constantly of the Return,
    The Return which the origin of true life is.
    He sees in Autumn’s majesty, that Return for which he yearns,
    Which for him is the Spring of heavenly life.
    If Spring be the origin of life below,
    Autumn is the Spring of eternal life,
    That life for the Return to which the gnostic lives here on earth.
    And so for him Autumn is the Spring of life divine,
    Heralding the Return to that life that never ends.

  12. Autumn

    In the Name of God

    Music is born of silence. That one silence possesses and encompasses all sound, and yet is inaudible to us. When the first note is sung silence becomes music, the One gives birth to the many, an infinite variety of melody and harmony, a rainbow of musical tones expressing facets of a single Light. Songs of the Way is a musical tapestry, bringing tones from east and west into harmony to express the many aspects of the silence of inwardness and contemplation.

    The inspiration that animates this work, its life and soul, is the poetry of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, for it expresses timeless Truth and a life devoted to attaining it. The dimensions of this personal yet universal message evoke a diversity of responses, of spiritual states and perspectives, expressed in the Songs of the Way. The yearning lament of the kamanche and the ney, the interiorizing fervor of flamenco guitar, and the nobility of the classical Middle Eastern Sufi style all express human responses to a Divinity that transcends us. They call us to remember the Sacred within us, and ultimately, like everything beautiful, manifest aspects of Divinity Itself. And amid these tones there is the voice, the sound closest to our heart, which soars to evoke the cadence that we heard before the world was born.

Album Description

In the Name of God Music is born of silence. That one silence possesses and encompasses all sound, and yet is inaudible to us. When the first note is sung silence becomes music, the One gives birth to the many, an infinite variety of melody and harmony, a rainbow of musical tones expressing facets of a single Light. Songs of the Way is a musical tapestry, bringing tones from east and west into harmony to express the many aspects of the silence of inwardness and contemplation.

The inspiration that animates this work, its life and soul, is the poetry of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, for it expresses timeless Truth and a life devoted to attaining it. The dimensions of this personal yet universal message evoke a diversity of responses, of spiritual states and perspectives, expressed in the Songs of the Way. The yearning lament of the kamanche and the ney, the interiorizing fervor of flamenco guitar, and the nobility of the classical Middle Eastern Sufi style all express human responses to a Divinity that transcends us. They call us to remember the Sacred within us, and ultimately, like everything beautiful, manifest aspects of Divinity Itself. And amid these tones there is the voice, the sound closest to our heart, which soars to evoke the cadence that we heard before the world was born.

 

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