New Release: The New World, Volume 1 — an inspiring 1974 folk soundtrack from Hawaii to the world


Few if any copies of The New World, Volume 1 have surfaced since I first became aware of the LP thanks to Oliver Seguin. Before the label took shape in 2015, I'd seen (heard, rather) Oliver play the cuts "Soul Catchers" and "Such A Lovely Garden" only a handful of times (they're not necessarily DJ-friendly tracks, but rather for deeper listening sessions, so it wasn't often that he'd bring his copy to a gig). 

Looking through my notes and old emails, I had first reached out to one of the members of East Of Midnight, Liz Hahn (formerly Haberman), in 2014 — the year before we launched the label. Liz had published a webpage using Google Sites (my internet sleuthing tells me that webpage is no longer available, unfortunately), where she reminisced about the album and included an updated track list to highlight which artists performed which songs. I was curious to learn more about the project. We kept in touch via email and Facebook, me sending over questions and Liz sharing memories and photos. But without a copy of my own to pour over, I didn't feel there was much I could do to move forward at the time. 

In September 2016, I successfully secured my own copy of the LP on eBay. A month later, I reached out to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'í Faith of the Hawaiian Islands in hopes of licensing "Soul Catchers" for a forthcoming compilation Oliver and I were working on (which became From These Shores). The label was almost two years old, and after sharing soulful, funky sounds of Hawaii with the world, we wanted to turn our attention towards folk, soft rock and acoustic music from the islands.

"Soul Catchers" (originally spelled as "Catchers" on the 1974 LP — I missed the plural 's' when finalizing the design for our compilation in 2019) became a stand-out track for us upon releasing From These Shores, and we knew it'd be important to return to The New World as a whole in the future. Of course, everything happens in its time. Coincidentally, it was March 11th, 2020, when I emailed the organization to inquire about licensing the remainder of the LP — the same day that the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. 

My email went unanswered for six months. We picked the conversation up again in September 2020, and they were happy to license the rest of The New World to us. Yet while we wanted to release the LP as soon as possible, that's not always possible considering the many moving parts behind an independent record label. Plus, the sonic quality of the original recordings needed some love (i.e. EQ magic), and between myself and Oliver, our copies were quite crackly and would require a lot of attention to detail when cleaning up the audio for re-release. (Remastering one track was enough to focus on, and I wonder what the comparison between the two remasters of "Soul Catcher" sound like.) 

Some amounts of hesitation also kept us from moving forward from here — should we reissue the full thing back onto vinyl? In 2020, that seemed to be the only way to do the LP justice. But in recent conversations, we arrived at the realization that it's best to get the album out sooner than later, and totally fine to release it digitally — for the sake of enjoyment, but also more importantly, for the sake of posterity.

Here is The New World, Volume 1, in its entirety. We hope you enjoy the music as much as we have over the years!  



Fifty years ago, practitioners of the religion known as the Bahá'í Faith gathered at the Hilo Civic Auditorium for the Bahá'í International Youth Conference from August 4 to 8, 1974. 

A year prior, in December 1973, a steadfast group of Baha’is produced a 13-part television series called “The New World”. Many of them were musicians and took to arranging and composing a soundtrack for the program. Sixteen of the twenty-plus tracks were original compositions, referencing Baha'i writings and expressing the artists’ reflections on various teachings of the Faith, which is often distilled into three core concepts: unity of religion, unity of God, and unity of humanity.

The music was recorded live at the Bahá'í National Center in Honolulu, and a 23-track LP was made in time for the August 1974 conference. The album features a quartet of local groups — East Of Midnight, Steve & Bunny, the Bahá'í Aikanes, and Sunshine Delight — that would perform at the conference alongside special guests from the continent. The TV series was produced at the local KITV studios, and featured songs and interviews centered around the religion and its teachings. Musical guests of interest on the TV series included jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and folk-rock duo Seals & Crofts. 

After the conference concluded, subsequent one-off gatherings were held on Maui, Kauai, and Oahu — including a concert on Saturday, August 10th at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, where approximately 12,000 attendees listened to teachings and were treated to live performances by Seals & Crofts, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Windflower (from Alaska), East of Midnight, Steve and Bunny, and Sunshine Delight. 

Regardless of one’s personal religious views, “The New World, Volume 1” is a moving collection of songs that speak of hope, love, understanding and appreciation.

From the original LP liner notes, 1974: 

The New World, Volume 1

The New World Is Born

The songs presented on this album are from the soundtrack of the first segments of a 13 week television series titled "The New World" and produced by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Hawaiian Islands.

This album, Volume I, was issued on the occasion of the Baha'i International Youth Conference held in Hilo, Hawaii, August 4-8, 1974.

The songs were originally recorded live at the Baha'i National Center in Honolulu. Sixteen of the twenty-three songs presented were composed by members of the Hawaii Baha'i Community. Many of the songs contain excerpts from Baha'i writings, particularly the words of Baha'u'llah, Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith. Other songs express the feelings of individual Baha'is on various teachings of the Baha'i Faith.

Russ Garcia Directs Chorus

The Baha'i Chorus featured in the album was directed by Russ Garcia who also arranged the songs for the chorus. Songs presented by various groups were composed and arranged by them. Russ Garcia is a noted arranger-composer-conductor in the recording, television and motion picture fields. Although originally a native of California and affiliated with many Hollywood productions, he and his wife, Gina, now reside in New Zealand.

Songs from Television Sound Track

To Baha'is the use of the Television media to convey the Baha'i message is a natural since as they point out, the Faith was born with the advent of the electronics age - the year 1844. The Television series from which the songs were taken originally produced in the studios of the ABC outlet in Hawaii, KITV-TV, Honolulu. The Television show is a series of thirteen half-hour segments each telling a part of the Baha'i message through songs and interviews. Mr. William Sears, formerly a noted sports broadcaster, and presently a Chief Steward of the Baha'i Faith, known as Hand of the Cause of God, is host on several of the shows as well as Russ and Gina Garcia; Dwight Allen, noted educator: Dorothy Nelson, only woman Dean of a university school of law (USC); and James Nelson, Judge of the municipal court of Los Angeles. Many of the shows were scripted by Mr. Sears and Mr. Robert Quigley, television producer of quiz shows. The series was produced by a special production crew of the Hawaii National Baha'i Assembly consisting of Healani Alama Hamilton, Serrita Camargo Herbert and Brad Hollinger with Tracy Hamilton as Executive Producer.

East Of Midnight. Images by Winston Kawamoto in the 70's on Kauai

East Of Midnight. Images by Winston Kawamoto in the 70's on Kauai

The Baha'i Faith: Herald of the World

The Baha'i Faith, theme of the songs in this album, is the youngest of the world's religions. It originated in Persia (now Iran) in 1844. Baha'ullah, whose name means "The Glory of God," is the Prophet-Founder of the Faith. His teachings revolve around three basic principles: that God is one, that all revealed religions are in reality one, and finally that mankind is one. Baha'ullah asserts that His Message is a revelation direct from God but that He is not God but rather the bearer of God's Message for this age. He asserts that in each age God has sent a Messenger to bring Mankind back to true religion and give man the social principles needed for that time. Each Messenger has moved humanity up the ladder of civilization and all the Messengers come from the same God. Baha'ullah says He is the latest of the Messengers but not the last. 

Baha'i teachings include the right of each individual to search for truth, condemnation of all forms of prejudice, the harmony of Science and religion, the equality of men and women, universal compulsory education, the need for a universal auxiliary language, abolition of extremes of wealth and poverty, the exaltation of work to the rank of worship, and the eventual establishment of a world federation.

Baha'i Comes to Hawaii 

The Baha'i Faith was first introduced to Hawaii by a young woman, a member of one of Hawaii's missionary families, upon her return to Hawaii from a European trip on December 24, 1901. Since that time the Faith has spread to all the Islands and there are now twenty-eight Baha'i Assemblies in the State.

Today the Baha'i Faith, which has no priesthood but rather is governed by elected Assemblies at the local and national level, has spread to all parts of the world. The National Observer calls it the fastest spreading religion in the world. With its World Center located on Mt. Carmel in Israel. the Baha'i Faith through its teachings feels the key to "The New World" men dream and sing about. 

Backstage during the taping of The New World TV series at KITV Honolulu, 1970s

Backstage during the taping of The New World TV series at KITV, circa December 1973. 


From the pages of the monthly publication, Bahá'í News:

ISSUE 521, August 1974

The Bahá'í International Youth Conference, held in Hilo, August 4-8 , 1974, is now history. But for the 1,000 Baha'i youth and adults from 35 countries who attended, it was a spiritual experience they will not soon forget…

The conference, the largest Bahá'í gathering ever held in the islands, was also the first international Baha'i conference ever held there. It received the most publicity ever given to a Bahá'í event in Hawaii, and was instrumental in bringing the Faith to the attention of more people there than had ever before heard of it. More than 16,000 people attended proclamation meetings connected with the conference and many more heard of the Faith from radio and television broadcasts. On the three consecutive Sundays preceding the event KITV in Honolulu broadcast installments of a new half-hour program on the Bahá'í Faith entitled "The New World." Newspaper ads announced the broadcasts…

Music and entertainment at the Luau was under the direction of Auxiliary Board member Healani Alama Hamilton. Presenting a court of Old Hawaii, with the costumes of the time, the entertainment featured the music and songs o f various ethnic groups of the Pacific area…

During the conference prayers were read in more than twenty languages. Entertainment was provided by the Jin-'Ai Singers, 25 Baha’is from the Seattle area. Mike Tanaka, formerly of Kona, Hawaii directed the singers. The Windflower group from Alaska also performed at the conference. From Hawaii, entertainment was provided by the New World Chorus, directed by Russ Garcia; by East of Midnight, a group from Kauai; by Steve and Bunny, also from Kauai; and by Sunshine Delight, from Oahu…

During one afternoon session Auxiliary Board member Gina Garcia and Russell Garcia conducted a panel on teaching through music and song. Seals and Crofts participated in the presentation. They told of their experiences in teaching through music, and said that greater numbers of people are staying to hear of the Baha'i Faith after their concerts…

Several proclamation programs were conducted after the conference. On Thursday evening a public meeting was held on Maui at the War Memorial in Wailuku. About 150 people heard a talk by Maury Willows and music by England Dan and John Ford Coley, and other singing groups from Hawaii.

On Friday evening in Lihue, Kauai, more than 100 people gathered to hear talks by Dorothy and James Nelson and music by England Dan and John Ford Coley and the Hawaii New World Singers. The program was broadcast live over radio.

On Saturday evening at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu approximately 12,000 people heard the Hand of the Cause William Sears proclaim the Baha'i message, and were entertained by Seals and Crofts, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Windflower, East of Midnight, Steve and Bunny Gaines, and Sunshine Delight. After the program hundreds remained for a fireside with Seals and Crofts. Baha'i literature was made available.

ISSUE 561, December 1977;
ISSUE 562, January 1978

It was December 1901 when the Hand of the Cause of God Agnes B. Alexander brought the Faith to the Islands to the formation in 1964 of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Hawaiian Islands. Agnes Baldwin Alexander was a descendant of one of the earliest Christian missionary families to leave New England and eventually make its permanent home in Hawaii. They arrived in Hawaii in May 1832. Agnes was born on July 21, 1875. She first heard of the Baha’i Faith in Rome, in 1900. 

One of Hawaii's more significant contributions to the Faith has been in the area of proclamation. This has included the use of floats, radio and television programs, banquets, tree-plantings, and exhibits. For the past 12 years the Baha'is of the Hawaiian Islands have entered a float in the annual Aloha Week parade in October. Nine times they have won either a first, second or third place award in the non-commercial category.

In December 1973, the National Spiritual Assembly started production on a television series entitled "The New World”. The series consists of 13 half-hour color videotapes, and presents the Baha'i story through songs and interviews. The Hand of the Cause of God William Sears prepared the scripts, and either narrates or is a guest on each segment in the series. The programs also feature Seals and Croft, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Dizzy Gillespie, Dorothy and James Nelson, Russ and Gina Garcia and others. Assisting in the series' production was Robert Quigley, a Baha'i who is the producer of several popular television quiz shows. 

The Baha'is were able to put the series together because of their ''let's get the job done" attitude. When it became apparent that production costs would be too high for filming or hiring someone to videotape, the friends put together the production themselves by working during the late night and early morning hours. To do this, they literally rented a television station during those hours, along with its camera crew.

Today their efforts are paying dividends, as the series not only was shown several times without cost over Hawaiian television, but has been used with great results in Alaska and Western Samoa and is now being used by many other Baha’i communities around the world. Now the Hawaiian Baha’is are preparing to produce with the help of Mr. Sears another series of 13 half-hour segments — and this time they are receiving financial support from many areas of the Baha’i world. 

In 1974, a Baha'i International Youth Conference was held in Hawaii, the first Baha'i international conference ever held in the Islands. It generated the most favorable publicity the Faith had ever received in Hawaii. More than 16,000 persons attended proclamation events held in connection with the conference. Thousands more heard the Baha’i Message on radio or television. The conference, held August 4-8 on the Big Island of Hawaii, was attended by 1,000 Baha’is from 35 countries. Three Hands of the Cause of God — A. Q. Faizi, H. Collis Featherstone and William Sears — were present along with three Continental Counsellors and several Auxiliary Board members.  Seals and Crofts and England Dan and John Ford Coley entertained at proclamation events in Hilo and Honolulu. Hugh Clark, Hilo reporter for the Honolulu Advertiser, wrote in his column: "Baha’is turned the week into a smooth sales pitch for their faith to Hiloans. All without knocking on a single door or bothering a single person. As a practicing agnostic of many years, we had to be impressed." 


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