Humboldt Sufi Choir

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01 The Sufi Invocation

Words: Hazrat Inayat Khan
Words: “Toward the One, the Perfection of Love, Harmony and Beauty, the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls, Who form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.”

This Universal Sufism invocation calls forth the Spirit of Guidance, inviting its presence to manifest in those gathered.

02 Three-Part Bismillah

Text:  Traditional Islamic
Melody:  Allaudin Ottinger
Harmony:  Shabda Kahn

Lyrics:  “Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim”
Translation:  “In the name of God, who is Mercy and Compassion”

This phrase is often spoken at the onset of any action, dedicating that action to God, whose inherent nature is mercy and compassion.

03 Allah Ho Akbar

Text:  Traditional Islamic
Composer:  Allaudin Mathieu

Lyrics:  “Allah Ho Akbar”
Translation:  “God is Greater”

This holy phrase reminds us that God is greater than anything we can imagine; greater in beauty, in capacity to love, in strength, in dimension, in any attribute one can imagine.

04 Magnificat Canon

Text:  Traditional Latin
Arrangement:  Taizé

Lyrics:  “Magnificat, magnificat, magnificat anima mea Dominum.”
             “Magnificat, magnificat, magnificat anima mea.”

 Translation:  “It magnifies, it magnifies, my soul magnifies the presence of God. ”

05 Spirit I Love You

Source:  Folk Tradition
Composer:  The Holy Order of Mans 

Lyrics: “Spirit I love you.  O how I adore you!  Lay my life before you…”                                                           

Sung to the Holy Spirit, this round reminds us to surrender to the One with love, reverence and humility.

06 House of Prayer

Words: Isaiah 56:7
Composers: Parvati and Jaffar Baugh

Chorus:  “My House shall be a House of Prayer for all people.”
    Hindu            “Om Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram.  Om Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Om”
    Zoroastrian  “Ahura Mazda, Ahura Mazda”
    Buddhist       “Namo Amida Butsu”
    Jewish           “Shema Yisrael Yahu’vah Elohaynu, Shema Yisrael  Yahu’vah Echad”
    Christian      “God our Maker, hallowed be Thy Name.  Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”
    Islamic          “El Allah Hu, El Allah Hu”

This piece takes these holy phrases from the Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions and joins them in harmony and beauty.   It celebrates the essential nature of the Divine that permeates the depth of each of these traditions. 

07 Alhamdulillah Round

Words:  Traditional Islamic
Composer:  Allaudin Mathieu 

Lyrics:            “Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah
                         Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord”

The Arabic “Alhamdulillah” may be translated as “Praise God,” or “Praise the Lord.”  This round cycles from the Arabic to the English. Compelled by the rhythm and the melody, it magically, precisely invokes the energy of this mantric holy phrase.

08 Da Pacem Domine

Words:  Traditional Latin Prayer
Music:  Taizé

Lyrics:            Da Pacem Domine,  Da Pacem Domine in Diebus Nostris”         

Translation:  “Give Peace, Lord….Give Peace now, in our time!” Somehow the choral beauty of this composition manages to take one to that very place toward which it aspires.

09 Om Namo Shivaya

Mantra and Music Traditional Hindu
Soloist:  Adrianne Werren 

Lyrics:  “Om namo Shivaya, Om namo Shivaya”
             “Shivaya namaha, Shivaya namaho”

Taken from the Hindu culture, this Sanskrit solo invokes the presence and the adoration of Shiva, the limitless, unchanging, transcendent Hindu giver of wisdom, life and death.

10 Alla Ho Akbar Zikr

Words: Traditional Islamic
Composer:  Michael Harrison
Violin:  Stefan Vaughan
Drum:  Ananda Hazzard 

This holy phrase is often spoken or sung as a protection practice in the Islamic world.  The words can be translated  “There is no power, majesty or might greater than that of God”.  This haunting melody written by Michael Harrison evokes the feeling of a caravan traveling through the desert, perhaps at night, calling on that protection.

11 O Lord Hear My Prayer

Primary Prayer and melody:  Taizé
Counterpoint: Allaudin Ottinger  Arrangement:  Scott Sattler

Lyrics:   O Lord hear my prayer, O Lord hear my prayer
              When I call, answer me.
              O Lord hear my prayer, O Lord hear my prayer
              Come and listen to me.
              Allaha, Allaha, Allaha, Allaha…
              Ruh Allah, Ruh Allah… 

Translation:  Allaha is the word for God in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke.  Aramaic is the root language for both Arabic and Hebrew.  Ruh Allah means ‘Breath of God’ and is one of the names for Jesus written in the Koran. 

This piece focuses on the hours following the Last Supper.  Jesus is aware of the inevitability of the upcoming events and retreats to the Mount of Olives to pray, repeatedly calling upon Allaha.  God’s response to his beseeching prayer comes in the form of the angelic host, seated deeply in his interiority, reminding him that his true Being is the very breath of God.  In this way his prayer is answered.

12 Drink with the Beloved

Lyrics:  Jelaluddin Rumi
Composer:  Allaudin Ottinger

This poem by Rumi, the 13th century Persian mystic poet, uses the allegory of the Beloved as Wine, reminding us to search out the true nature of life, always with the help of the Beloved.  The chorus “La Illaha il’Allah” helps us to remember that there is no reality but the Divine presence, that all is God.

Drink the wine down, tip the glass.  Drink with the Beloved.
Take this breath like it’s your last.   Drink with the Beloved.
We’re a caravan, you see, moving towards our destiny.  You must find the eyes to see.
Drink with the Beloved.

La Illaha il’Allah, La Illaha il’Allah
La Illaha il’Allah, La Illaha il’Allah

Go to the East or to the West.  Drink with the Beloved.
You can’t escape this birth and death.  Drink with the Beloved.
Drink the cup of loving down.  This is truly drink and drown.  What is lost, it shall be found.
Drink with the Beloved.


So listen to the inner call.  Drink with the Beloved.
The tavern masters rise and fall.  Drink with the Beloved.
Watch the drunkards reel and spin.   Feel the Presence from within, toasting to the dearest Friend.  Drink with the Beloved.


13 There is Nothing, Only God


Composer:  Paula Markham
Arrangement:  Scott Sattler 

Many in the Islamic world use the Arabic phrase “La Illaha il’Allah” or the Persian phrase “La Ellaha el Allahu” to remind them that all is of God. This piece, written by Paula Markham, a teacher of Universal Sufism, allows us to hold the concentration in English, Spanish and Russian as well. 

There is nothing, nothing, nothing only God, only God.
There is nothing, nothing, nothing only God.
Remember, remember, remember.
Remember, remember, remember. 

No hay nada, nada, nada sólo Dios, sólo Dios.
No hay nada, nada, nada sólo Dios.
Recuerde, recuerde, recuerde.
Recuerde, recuerde, recuerde.

Nichevo nyet, nichevo nyet,  tol’ko Bog, tol’ko Bog.
Nichevo nyet, nichevo nyet,  tol’ko Bog.
Zapomnyit’, zapomnyit’, zapomnyit’.
Zapomnyit’, zapomnyit’, zapomnyit’.

14 I am One with the Heart of the Mother

Composer:  Michael Stillwater 

Initially taken from a Sufi Dance, one of the hundreds of Dances of Universal Peace, this song reminds us to pursue the balanced heart that manifests both the yin and yang, the feminine and the masculine elements of life.

We have since learned that this piece was composed in 1985 by Michael Stillwater and can be found on his CD “Voices of the Heart:  Choral Chants of Devotion.”

I am one with the heart of the mother,
I am one with the heart of Love.
I am one with the heart of the Father.
I am one with God. 

Ave Maria (‘Hail Mary’ in Latin), Kyrie Eleison  (‘God is Mercy’ in Greek)

15 Peace Round

Composer:  Allaudin Mathieu 

Sung first in Arabic, then in Latin, then in Hebrew and Sanskrit, this composition by Allaudin Mathieu calls upon all who hear it to let peace be with them and come through them, filling them with love, harmony and beauty. 

As-salaam alaikum Shanti,
Dona nobis pacem Shanti
Shalom Aleichem Shanti
Om Shanti Om Shanti Om

As-salaam alaikum    Peace be with you in Arabic
Dona nobis pacem   Peace be with you in Latin
Shalom Aleichem     Peace be with you in Hebrew
Om                             The divine sound filling the whole cosmos, in Sanskrit
Shanti                        Peace in Sanskrit



Humboldt Sufi – CD quality entire CD (370 MB)


Recording made during performance at Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka California, September 2002. 

Choir Director:  Scott Sattler
Asst. Director:  Adrianne Werren
Logistics Coordinator:  Ananda Hazzard
Sound Engineer:  Andy Lane
Art:  Margaret Branch
Typesetting:  Barbara Clark

The Humboldt Sufi Choir 

The Humboldt Sufi Choir is dedicated to sharing joy through sung spiritual practices.  Our repertoire consists of sacred chants, rounds and other choral pieces from numerous spiritual traditions including, but not limited to, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Native American Spirituality, Christianity and Islam.

A central tenet of universal Sufism is that of the universality of the spiritual ideal.  The attuned heart is the prime instrument of communication with this ideal.  It follows that experiencing the voice of the heart expressing itself through song allows one to transcend the boundaries of language and culture.  In the process of doing so, those singing and those listening are somehow raised above the differences and distinctions that divide humankind.  It is this state of grace that we hope to share with the community through this music.

Incidentally, our choir is an open choir. Anyone may sing.  There are no tryouts.  All are welcome.  We feel it is more important to sing than to sing right.

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