So, who is Alicia Bay Laurel? What does she do, anyway?
I currently tour as a singer/songwriter/guitarist/storyteller, with seven critically acclaimed, self-produced music CDs, one all-original psych folk, one Hawaiian (half original, half historic), one jazz/blues (10 original and 2 standards), one Americana/world music (eleven songs and medleys, of which I wrote two), one of solo instrumental guitar medleys (Americana, blues, psych folk, protest songs and Hawaiian songs), one remastered 1973 archival recording of Ramon Sender Barayon and me performing our original music from our collaborative book, Being of the Sun, and a second all-original album of mostly psych folk, with some swing tunes and blues waltzes for extra color.
My first book, Living on the Earth, is a reference book on how to make all the basics from scratch, and also on utopian commune life in the late ‘60s (college libraries stock it). It’s a seminal book design with a recognizable (and much imitated) illustration style. First published in 1970, it’s still in print in English and Japanese. In 2012 it was chosen as one of the 101 most influential American cookbooks of the 20th century. (http://www.aliciabaylaurel.com/101ClassicCookbooks). The illustrations continue to appear on fashion and other merchandise from Japan. https://www.facebook.com/IndigoWithStarsInc. It's about living joyously without a lot of money and consumer goods, which means also preserving the environment, living close to nature, and sharing with people.
I have cartons of new condition books, and I will inscribe one for you (or any other person you request) and mail within the USA, all for a mere $20 (more for overseas addresses). My Paypal addie is indigowithstarsinc (at) gmail (dot) com. Reviews and page examples here: http://www.aliciabaylaurel.com/LOTEreviewslongago
I've illustrated eight other books, five of which I also wrote or co-wrote. I'm planning on creating more books in the years to come.
This site is about my art, music, writing, tours, friends, projects, and activism. Just below is a list of available books, CDs and other luscious Alicia originals for sale, and below that, a blog including my tour diary, healthful recipes, lots of political and environmental heads-ups, and lots of arts and lifestyle articles, in no particular order.
In the upper left corner of the site is a menu with quick links to my press kit (bio, high res photo, press releases). I am working on the getting the online store and shopping cart up again. For now, just email me through the "Contact" link above if you'd like to buy any of the items below.
There's a search engine for the site in the upper left corner.
Thanks for visiting!
Peace Girl Poster 11" x 17" $20 plus $5 shipping in a tube (shipping charge for USA, please email me for postage amount to other countries.)
HOW TO PURCHASE THESE ITEMS:
If you use Facebook, please visit the Alicia Online Store at Indigo With Stars, Inc.’s page, which has dozens of items, and takes credit cards as well as Paypal payments.
Otherwise: EMAIL ME FROM THE "CONTACT" BUTTON ABOVE AND I WILL SEND YOU THE PAYPAL AND SNAIL MAIL OPTIONS FOR PAYMENT. I will also tell you the shipping charges (please include your shipping address so I can calculate this). Most of my shipments go by US Priority Mail, but, if you require EXPRESS MAIL, UPS, FEDEX and/or SHIPPING OUTSIDE THE USA, please tell me and I will calculate the costs.
SHIPPING ADDRESS: DID I MENTION I NEED YOUR SHIPPING ADDRESS?
INSCRIPTION: Autographing of all items is FREE. Please tell me to whom, if anyone, you'd like the item inscribed.
Written, illustrated and designed by Alicia Bay Laurel in 1969, and a New York Times Bestseller List (spring 1971), Living on the Earth is an encyclopedia of back-to-the-land living skills created while Alicia was living at Wheeler Ranch, a hippie commune in Sonoma County, California. In 2012, Living on the Earth was selected as one of the 101 most influential American cookbooks of the 20th century by the Fales Library of New York University, and included in their compilation of these cookbooks, titled 101 Classic Cookbooks - 501 Classic Recipes.
Being of the Sun, co-written by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ramon Sender, illustrated and designed by Alicia Bay Laurel, mint condition first edition, signed by BOTH authors! (1973) $200. Being of the Sun has been re-published in Japanese as of March 2007! This book orignally appeared as the spiritual sequel and companion to Living on the Earth. It's about creating your own personal religion, using elements from previously existing spiritual paths as well as your own direct connection to the divine. Ramon Sender, one of the pioneers of avant garde music, shares his insights on music and spirituality, and he created sheet music for some of the songs in Music From Living on the Earth, plus a number of his own spiritual and nature chants.
The Earth Mass, mint condition, first edition, and signed to you by the illustrator/designer! (1973) $50. A nature worship version of the Catholic mass, written by renowned poet/playwright/former Catholic priest Joe Pintauro, designed and richly illustrated on every page by Alicia Bay Laurel. Blessings, Ceremonies, Counter-phobic Incantations, Rituals, Recipes for Ceremonial Foods. Wiccans and Pagans will delight! "An oldie, hard to find, and worth its weight in emeralds." Dama, Onelist.com
William Shakespeare’s The Tempest: A New Age Version, by Michael Fleck, illustrated by Alicia Bay Laurel, mint condition first edition (1978) $35. A mulit-media theatre piece created by Michael Fleck and presented in 1976 by the Maui Community Theatre, using Shakespeare's masterpiece as a vehicle to dramatize the battle between Industry and Environmentalism. The cover drawing originally graced the cover of the program notes for the piece, and later Alicia drew a dozen illustrations for the publication of the script. I only have 11 left of this book, now, and all are inscribed both by the author and by me.
All 7 of my CDs are easy to order or download from CD Baby! Here's a page with a complete list.
Music From Living on the Earth (all original psych folk, solo vocal/guitar) $15. An Album Pick on All Music.com. You can buy individual tracks on Apple iTunes here. Or from Great Indie Music here. Read reviews.
Living in Hawaii Style (historic and original Hawaiian songs, slack key, hula & jazz) $15. Played on KAPA Radio in Hawaii, Ports of Paradise in California, and Aloha Joe's on the Internet. You can buy individual tracks from this CD on Apple iTunes here. Or from Great Indie Music here. Read reviews.
What Living’s All About (jazz, blues, & gospel, 10 original, 2 standards) $15. An Editor's Pick in the May 2007 Issue of Performing Songwriter Magazine and also in 2006 by London's eJazzNews.com. Featured on Radio Free Phoenix. You can buy individual tracks from this CD on Apple iTunes here. Or from Great Indie Music here. Read reviews. Read listener comments.
Beyond Living: Fingerpicked Ruminations on the Hereafter and Its Messengers Americana, folk and world music songs about the mystery of death and the miracle of love. Relaxing, joyous, spiritually uplifting music, including two original songs by Alicia Bay Laurel, two songs by Japan’s legendary singer/songwriter Donto (one translated into Hawaiian by Kaliko Beamer-Trapp), an original song each by two of Alicia’s singer/songwriter friends since their commune days, Joe Dolce and Steve McGee, two songs by Auntie Nona Beamer as part of Alicia’s tribute to her, a Hawaiian chant composed and performed by Reid Kapo Ku, and lots of wonderful Hawaiian slack key guitar performed by James Kimo West. Featured on Radio Free Phoenix. You can buy it from CD Baby here. Or on Apple iTunes here. Or email Alicia at the link at the top of this page and buy one directly from her for $15 plus shipping and handling, inscribed to you by Alicia. Read listener comments.
Matted Art Prints:
Zephyr (double matte, fits in a standard 16” x 20” frame) $35 plus shipping
Fun and Games:
My four-decade friend Gloria Blum, besides being the Janice Joplin of klezmer, spent a great portion of her life teaching self-esteem to young people with serious disabilities. She realized that there are certain questions people enjoy answering, and the process of coming up with an answer fosters self-esteem. So, she made flash cards of these questions for her work with the kids. The kids enjoyed it and grew from it, which made the game popular with other professionals in her field. Eventually people outside of her work began requesting the cards from her. For the second edition of her cards, she commissioned a set of color drawings from me for the box and for the backs of the cards. I am happy to be offering the cards from my website. They cost $15 per set, plus shipping and handling, which is $5 inside the USA and $8 elsewhere. To order them, please email me from the "Contact" link at the top of the page. You can pay via Paypal or send me a postal money order.
Living on the Earth t-shirt (organic cotton, size XL only) SALE $10
Easy to make into a kewl little dress:
Cut a neckline and trim the sleeves.
Use the sleeve fabric to make a waist tie in the back. Made and modeled by Hisae, who works at Kurkku Arts and Environmental Center in Tokyo.
Legendary songstress Gwendolyn found that the Living on the Earth t-shirt makes an exemplary maternity frock.
Jeanine Austin, PhD, life coach and hypnotherapist wears her Living on the Earth t-shirt at the Living on the Earth Celebration presented by Phoenix Body Mind and Soul at the Arizona Biltmore, May 8, 2010.
Erik Frye, Alicia's consultant on the Living on the Earth update for the 30th Anniversary Edition (Random House, 2000), and sustainable technology and agriculture genius at the Real Goods headquarters in Mendocino County, California.
Tomorrow I am going to the Hanukkah latkethon of Lyndia Lowy, my friend-since-we-were-12, who has been frying potato pancakes (and carrot, cauliflower, sweet potato, and zucchini pancakes) for weeks (and freezing them). Usually fifty or more of her best friends show up. Our tradition is that I bring a massive tossed salad of my own recipe, which, because of its similarity of ingredients to borcht soup, I call Borcht Salad.
My feeling is: If everything else on the menu is oily, hot, starchy and golden in color, then the complementary dish should be cool, crunchy, spicy, sweet, sour and deep maroon and purple. And made from organically grown produce. I use a Champion Juicer without the lower screen or plate, so the veggies are quickly shredded by the rotating blades. A food processor with shredding set-up works well, too. The Champion Juicer just makes it, well, juicier. However, it does NOT mince the red onion much at all; that job is best done with a good sharp food prep knife.
Unless I have a huge serving bowl, I like to prepare the vegetables ahead in four equal bagsful, so that the next salad can be quickly put together when the serving dish is empty, or served in four bowls along a banquet table.
Machine grate and divide into four parts in four zipper bags:
3 large beets, peeled and cut into long pieces that will fit into the round hopper of the Champion Juicer.
5 pounds of carrots, scrubbed and tops and tips cut off
3 pounds of daikon radish (optional), scrubbed and tops and tips cut off
1 whole, small red cabbage, with the stem removed, cut into long pieces that will fit into the round hopper of the Champion Juicer.
1 whole, small red onion, peel and top removed, cut in quarters
In 4 separate bags, place:
4 whole red leaf lettuces: each leaf washed and dried in salad spinner, then torn into pieces by hand.
To assemble: pour the contents of one bag of shredded vegetables and one bag of torn lettuce into a large serving bowl and toss with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and black pepper.
Here’s how an antimacassar (a lace doily, often affixed to the arms and backs of overstuffed chairs, in bygone eras) can be made into a lace ornament for a Christmas tree. At a crafts store, buy a bottle of stiffening agent. Lay some waxed paper on a table, put the antimacassar on top, and paint the stiffening agent on both sides of it. Let it dry on the waxed paper (and wash the stiffening agent out of your brush!) When it’s dry, it will hang perfectly flat. A small paperclip, unbended into an S shape, makes a good hanger for it.
My friend Randy Carnefix explained how these doilies got their peculiar name. A century ago, many men used an oily hair dressing made in Makassar, Indonesia, from coconut or palm fruit oil, perfumed with essential oil of frangipani (plumeria) blossoms. In an effort to protect their appolstered chairs from the greasy heads and fingers of men thus groomed, housekeepers began placing lace or embroidered pieces of cloth on the backs and arms of their chairs. When styles changed, the antimacassars began to show up in thrift shops. That's where I found the ones hanging on my tree.
Preheat oven to 400 F. I used organic beets, carrots, parsnips, red potatoes, and Brussels sprouts, cleaned and cut in larger-than-bite-sized pieces, arranged on parchment paper that was lightly painted with organic virgin coconut oil (after being placed on a cookie sheet.) Next I brushed the vegetables with more coconut oil, and then placed branches of fresh rosemary around them. In my oven, the baking time was 25 minutes, but yours may cook faster. I tested the vegetables from time to time with a long cooking fork. When tender, they are done! Served them hot, drizzled with organic extra virgin olive oil and a tiny bit of sea salt.
I invented a new twist on cranberry relish. I mix 8 ounces of thawed whole (organically grown) cranberries and all of the seeds of a fresh (organically grown) pomegranate in a bowl, and pour over them a steaming cup of unsweetened (organicallly grown) cranberry (or pomegranate) juice (sweetened with a couple dropper fulls of stevia glycerite) inwhich a heaping tablespoon of agar flakes have been dissolved (simmer 3 to 5 minutes over a medium flame). One hour in the fridge and it becomes cranberries and pomegranate in aspic.
I wrote this essay at the request of Neil Kramer, with whom I co-founded the (currently defunct) online hippie museum. I still find it posted on various sites around the Internet – evidently it struck a chord with other people who lived in those times.
What Did The Hippies Want?
by Alicia Bay Laurel
November 19, 2001
We wanted intimacy– not a neighborhood where you didn’t know anyone on the block, or you competed, kept up with the Joneses.
A hunter-gatherer or early agricultural community meant that people lived, worked and sought deeper contact with the holy spirit as a group, and they all knew one another, from cradle to grave.
I used to call my hippie friendships “a horizontal extended family,” as opposed to the ancient tribal extended family,
which was multi-generational, and therefore, vertical.
We wanted a culture which acknowledged the human body, not just for sex, but to hug each other, to be naked without shame, to revere the body with natural foods, beneficial exercise, herbs, baths, massage, deep understanding. This was not part of the culture from which we came. We wanted a culture that thrived on gift-giving. We hitchhiked, shared our food and drugs, gave away our possessions. People who could afford to buy land invited others who could not to live there.
We opened free stores, free clinics, free kitchens, not just in the Haight, but everywhere we went. We wanted be living proof that God(dess) was taking care of us and therefore there was no need to hoard.
We wanted to live without the constraints of time. We wanted to wake up each day and decide what would be the most fun to do that day –or just find out as it went along. We wanted to go with the flow, follow our bliss, be here now.
This was in complete opposition to the culture from which we came.
We wanted new ways to value one another, rather than by wealth, status, looks, achievements, machismo, as our culture of origin had taught us, and continues to teach us through the media. We wanted to value one another for being lovable and real.
We valued spiritual depth, which we referred to as “heavy.” We admired one another for being happy. We admired those who offered selfless service or peaceful resolution of conflict. We wanted a spirituality that actually caused you to grow as a person, not one in which people attended religious gatherings for social status. We wanted to be guided by our own Inner Spirits, rather than by priests.
We thirsted for the spiritual awareness and grace we experienced on psychedelics, without psychedelics, or in addition to them. Many hippies would spend their last cent on a weekend workshop that promised to “change your life forever.”
That was how so many gurus found followers in those days.
We wanted to live in harmony with the earth, the plants and animals, the indigenous peoples of the earth, with each other, with ourselves. We were the fuel behind the rapid expansion of the environmental movement. We experimented with living arrangements that we thought would harmonize with nature. We sought out indigenous tribal elders as our teachers.
We wanted to make the things we wore and used with our hands, grow our food and medicine, feel all kinds of weather–
all the experiences our modern urban lives had excluded in the name of convenience and comfort. We wanted to live on the road, have adventures, build things that hadn’t been built before, and live in them.
We wanted to live our mythic selves, give ourselves names that resonated with our souls, dress in costumes that expressed our dreams, do daring deeds, dance as if no one was looking, decorate our homes with magical things,
listen to music that took us out of ordinary reality into altered states of awareness.
We wanted to see life without violence. We wanted media that contained truth. Some of us risked our lives to find out what the government was doing and let the underground press know. We wanted to talk about things in print that we were not allowed to discuss in our culture of origin.
We wanted to live without stupid, arbitrary rules, either for ourselves or for our children. Some of our children, as adults today, say they wish we had been more protective of them, or offered more structure. We only knew what we endured, being as culturally different from our culture of origin as Chinese are from Italians, and punished for it, and wished to spare our children these experiences. However, some portion of kids raised by hippie parents grew up to be hippies themselves. At that point, one can say, a new culture was born and continues.
“Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” is a great peace song written by the late Ed McCurdy, and copyrighted in 1950. I learned it as a child from my brother, when he took guitar lessons, and I still love it.
I am invited to sing it at Daisho-in Temple in Hiroshima on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, on August 5, 2015. I would like as many people as possible to sing it with me, in English and/or Japanese, so I am offering the words in both languages.
HERE is a video of me singing the song in Japanese and in English. It will be online until 11 August 2015.
Here are the lyrics in English:
Last night I had the strangest dream
I never dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.
I dreamed I saw a mighty room
The room was full of men
And the paper they were signing said
They’d never fight again.
And when the paper all was signed
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
And grateful prayers were prayed.
And the people in the streets below
Were dancing ‘round and ‘round
And swords and guns and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground.
Here is a translation of the lyrics into Japanese created by the wonderful singer/songwriter Maiko Kodama in 2013.
Here is a guitar chart in the key of G, the key in which I sing this song.
Here is a video of the late folk singer and peace activist, Pete Seeger, performing this song.
If you are an English-speaking person, and want to learn Maiko's Japanese lyrics phonetically, here is how they go:
Kee noh yoh roo kee myo oh nah
Last night I had the strangest dream
Yoo mei woo oh mee tah
I ev – er dreamed be fore
Sei kah ee gah seh nn soh oh
I dreamed the world had all agreed
Woh yah mei roo oo yoo mei
To put an end to war
Oh oh kee nah hei yah dei
I dreamed I saw a mighty room
Oo oh zei gah
The room was filled with men
Nee doh toh tah tah kah wah nai
And the paper they were signing said
Toh sah ee nee ee shee tah
They’d never fight again
Nah n woh koo noh sah ee n
And when the papers all were signed
Gah koh pee ee ee sah rei
And a million copies made
Tei woh tzu nei gee ah tah mah woh sah gei
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
Ee noh ree sah sah gei tah
And grateful prayers were prayed
Too oh ree noh hee toh bee toh
And the people in the streets below
Wah oh doh ree dah shee
Were dancing round and round
Jyoo toh ken toh goon poo koo
And guns and swords and uniforms
Wah soo tei rah rei tah
Were scattered on the ground
Kee noh yoh roo kee myo oh nah
Last night I had the strangest dream
Yoo mei woo oh mee tah
I ev – er dreamed be fore
Sei kah ee gah seh nn soh oh
I dreamed the world had all agreed
Woh yah mei roo oo yoo mei
To put an end to war
This record quickly reminded of the glory folk days of Joan Baez and Judy Collins. This was even before I read that although Alicia Bay Laurel recorded this album within the last year, she wrote these songs in the 1960s and 1970s when she lived on various communes in the US. She has that same beautiful voice with occasionally barbed lyrics. The arrangements are classic folk, but there is also some lounge jazz in a few of them, which plays well. While this is not a Linda Perhacs style discovery, Alicia Bay Laurel is a nice find, taking us back to a great time in folk music.
© David Hintz
Folk World Europe
I received your CD!
It’s so beautiful.
Your songs make me calm, and I am able to go back to my golden childhood.
Love, Banana :)
I am loving this album!!! It is so nice, calming, simple and beautiful!!!
I can totally see myself relaxing and enjoying this music at a cozy café! Tim loves it, too!
We are keeping your CD in our CD player, and listening to it again and again.
Thank you for your creativity and love for music!
Mayu Uotani Jensen
Translator of Yogananda’s books
Wife of songwriter Tim Jensen, who creates songs for anime films
Dear, Dear Alicia,
I have just heard it once so far, but I am delighted by your music. Wonderful!! So many nice touches, like the flute – really, really delightful. And your voice is GREAT. Joan Baez-like. I love it. So proud of you!
Big Hug and Love,
Noelie Rodriguez PhD
Professor of Sociology
Hawaii Community College, at the University of Hawaii, Hilo
Listened to your CD for the first time this morning – the first time with any new music for me is freely experiencing it, feeling it as the music dances around the room. Subsequent listenings are for hearing what comprises the layers, but first time, just like first time sex, is all about the experience.
THE EXPERIENCE WAS GREAT!
Takes you back to the Sixties.
Love your voice. You sound like a young girl, a young hippie girl singing about the joy we had back then. In a few of the songs your voice is reminiscent of a young Norah Jones.
I especially love the way the language itself brings back the times – words that are not in common use now (at least in the terms we used them back then) come to life in your songs. Part of keeping the times alive.
And with all that said, the songs are also timeless in that the music still matters. It is so unfortunate that Dallas is barren of folk (other than one venue). The East Coast would eat this up – you would shine at the folk festival I attend yearly (other than this year.)
Hippie Hill and Have a Good Time especially made me smile. What it was all about. And the wistfulness in Paisley Days as you talk about the way it was. How did war and failing economies and faltering ecologies allow society to forget what we were trying to teach people – eat when you are hungry, sleep when you are sleepy. And the simplicity of moving from one moment to the next – sing me a song and I’ll sing you a song and we’ll listen to each other’s music all night long.
Barbara Light Lacy
Author and musician
Ah yes…can’t help but plug my dear sister’s new CD…New to me that is… these songs (so Alicia tells me) are from back in the day’s of Wheeler Ranch…and more…Alicia, recovered from her old tapes the music from back then, and re-recorded the lot… If you like John Fahey, Maria Muldaur and a spice of jazz… you’ll love this…If you want to know more…just ask me…or better yet… ask the lady herself…but, do yourself a favor and pick up your copy now!
“Butterfly Farewell” is my current favorite. It surprisingly feels to me very melancholy (in a peaceful way).
Alicia's voice rings of daybreak. I think the production is marvelous, and her ability to warm a heart is still intact.
Very much enjoyed listening to your new CD today.
Well-produced, with welcome messages of hope and beauty!
Post-theist Visionary, Author and Composer
San Francisco, California
Simply WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL. And so much more.
From the moment I tore open the envelope, I’ve been inside out, smiling. I soaked in that familiar face, now radiant, etched gently from your joy living on this Earth, then your artwork – then discovered your dear words to us…. Thank You.
Then your MUSIC. Oh does it resonate. Your lyrics, intonation, instrumentation, sequencing, back-up singers, gleeful sarcasm…. Your voice retains a sweet, magical ability to lovingly communicate with my spirit, my nature, the joys and responsibilities of living on this Earth. And it reminds me, regardless and because of life’s challenges, never to remove the “rose-colored glasses” my mother unwittingly implored me to “take off” and “grow up.”
Your voice/music/gift/you are miraculously facilitating a kaleidoscopic shift in my world view and confusing moods. My heart is grateful and delighted for you.
Your latest CD helped crystallized something so special: that one of the precious gifts of aging is increasing and embracing our joy and other’s if we take responsibility for and reappraise who we are, how and why we got here, and how we choose to go forward.
Your beautiful, beautiful CD has become my most welcome companion; I carry it from house to car and back again routinely. Without fail, like natural aspirin for the soul, it elevates my threshold for pain, reduces my anxiety, and brings me mindful equilibrium. Thank you for such a magnificently generous gift.
I wish you peace, joy, strength, really great connections and laundry facilities, laughter, and fun on your physically demanding tour. I’m sure the audiences will be captivated.
Alicia dear: The gorgeous sounds of your voice are floating through the house right now. One copy is going in the camper van. So we drive along listening to your beautiful voice and songs. I had a wonderful time recording with you. It's a special memory for me.
Awesome job, you! Have a Beautiful, Beautiful weekend!
I am listening first song "Surviving in Style" now and I can't stop my tears. This song is so beautiful and touches my heart.
Business and Marketing Manager
Tateyama, Chiba, Japan
What strikes me over and over about this music is a kind of purity and a sweetness.
I was surprised when I popped the CD into my car’s CD player at how soothing it was. Some of the vocals are really stylish, such as on “Serenade” and “Hippie Hill” and others fun and humorous such as on “Have a Good Time”. I love the liquid and haunting quality of the vocals on “Onward, Onward Ever Flow”. A few “romantic” songs such as “Piper of the Woods” and “Yabyum” add to the diversity of the collection. And there are a number of purely original folk songs. My favorite song may be the “Devotional for a Spiritual Guide” because of its many-layered richness.
This seems like a new sound. The sweetness is deeper, riper and more relaxed.
There’s a strangely familiar freshness and simplicity to the whole collection and an innocence that is impossible to find anywhere in the music world.
Alicia’s guitar playing and arrangements are as beautiful as ever and the performances of the accompanying musicians are wonderful. The production and quality are the highest, as usual.
I still have a lot of listening to do. There’s a lot on this album.
Artist, Permaculturist and Environmental Activist
Sometimes, someone’s life and essence lives and flourishes during a certain period of one’s life, in it’s first encounter, and this was in its most naïve and direct sense of experience, while the rest of that persons life could be be used to work this essence out more economically and in different parts and sections. Alicia’s highlight came with her book “Living On Earth”, a practical guide of how to live your life as a hippie. She still is guided by those forces/inspirations, being stimulated by an inspiring optimism, which tried to see the positive side in all things and above all in humans.
In the end, it eventually led her further to meetings to such wonderlands in people more often and continuously, while being able to be guided by choices to look for them and attract them more often. While the optimism brings forward the hippie folk style, realistic confrontations add more like a slight touch of country/Americana flavour (while still being guided by a now this time more gospel-folk way of optimism), the practical workouts side is able to show by nicely worked out acoustic and blues-jazzy electric pickings (with Tom McNalley), with the addition of some flute, organ,…. I still can perceive Hawaii underneath, a place, which for many people must have stimulated that positive heart-attitude towards life.
Alicia continues to spread her message of possibilities, which is nice to notice. She definitely deserves a box set of LP’s with the inclusion of a book with some of her artworks and that of her students. Anyone?
Gerald Van Waes
Psychedelic folk radio host, collector and critic
I met Alicia Bay Laurel at a peace demonstration. She was making peace that day, and her music at night. She is still at it.
Her new CD of music, More Songs From Living on the Earth, is just that. It’s a Sunday morning spring day kinda sweetness Alicia takes you to.
All the while, underlying these sweet melodies, Alicia is a multi-talented visionary, and sage of our times. She creates a place with sounds and poetry, where you just know this day is going to be a mighty fine one. I like that.
This album is a sleeper, that must be listened to several times before you can BEGIN to get a handle on its complexities…it grows on you, and is very sweet.
It has taken me awhile to hear it all.
Your new CD is subtlety addicting. I find myself waking up humming little snippets of melodies you made. It is a gentle knowing smile you bring with this music. The more I hear it, the more I see the different layers you put into it. Much success with this one.
It’s a YAYY. My favorite song is track #2, Piper of the Woods.
Stephen Frank Gary
Hi Alicia, this is Gonzalo.
I don’t know if you remember me. I hope you do – I recorded the mandolin tracks on your record that you recently released, and I was listening to it, and I think it sounds fantastic, so I was just calling you to say “Thank you for recording this beautiful music.” Thank you very much for having me play on it, and, of course, thank you for sending me a copy. I think that, not only are your compositions beautiful, but, also, Ron Grant did a great job with the engineering.
Your record sounds beautiful, really. It reminded me to the feeling of the first time I listened to “Come away with me” by Norah Jones. Your record is a beautiful acoustic trip! Please let me know when you play live and also if the album comes out in vinyl.
Los Angeles, California
Songs are beautiful - pure and lovely! They remind me of the first time we met in our small room in Otsuka. The days in 1960’s and 70’s, memory of hard fights against the war in Vietnam, against everything of authority, lost dream of utopia, and new vision coming from the teachings of Black Elk, all came back as I listened to your songs.
Yes, so many years have passed since then…Still, as you sing, we praise those old days and their dreams.
Retired Professor of Mathematics, Tokyo University
Still an activist!
Oh Alicia – your new CD!
I LOVE IT!
It makes me so happy!
I put it on every day – really LOUD.
I played it for some guests today.
They loved it, too!
Thank you SO much for making this music.
Huntington Beach, California
The CD is very diverse – a wide variety of musical styles and sounds: country, celtic, folk, jazz, blues. The production is amazing, and Alicia's voice is just tremendous. I really like this album a lot!
Photographer and Earthship Builder
Arizona and Colorado
While driving the back roads to Esparto I listened to Alicia Bay Laurel’s new cd, “More Songs From Living on the Earth.” There are no front roads to Esparto, and similarly the songs approach the listeners through back channels old and new, and timeless. Fluid motion, jazzy riffs, heartfelt lyrics, joyous celebrations, ecstatic visions, transcendent melodies, osmotic orchestration, happy hippy harmonies, and authentic phrasing grace the tracks, condensed and accessible, expanding, unfurling, spirit intonation of John Fahey and kupuna invocation of Auntie Clara, steeped in poetic Wheeler Ranch revelations, and all through the tunes, Alicia, chanteuse in tie dye. River Road meets Loomis Lane. Country funkin’ and commune groovin’, a world that just couldn’t be, but was for awhile, a stretch of infinity for us time beings, jikan ikimono. This album is creative and entertaining. Listen and remember, sing along and be here now.
Real Goods Solar Living Institute
Mendocino County, California
As a flower child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, I really liked all the songs on this newly-released album: “More Songs from Living on the Earth.” Just as Alicia Bay Laurel’s unique style of hand-drawing her books made them so special for my generation, there’s something wonderful about the unique way she uses her gentle humor and sweet soft voice to express so many truths. My own faves from this album are: “Devotional for a Spiritual Guide”, “Beautiful, Beautiful”, “Hippie Hill” and “Paisley Days” – the last two evoke memories of hanging out on Hippie Hill on lazy Sundays, listening to the cool pro jazz players who would come together to jam for free every Sunday. These are memories unique to the boomer generation.
Linda Joy Lewis
Author and Chef
Earth Angel Kitchen:
Vegan Alternatives to Meat, Dairy, Eggs and Sugar
I received your CD and love it, because the songs are all very gentle and filled with love.
I believe in Love.
That is what you gave me.
I really thank you.
Television Producer and Environmental Activist
We are enchanted by your CDs… Heaven has come to earth… Mahalo for the gift of your artistry in all its many forms.
I have played this wonderful CD over and over on my computer while I spend the countless hours a day that I must be “in office”. Thank you for this great gift of yours.
It is wonderful that you resurrected these precious songs from days gone by as they are all special. I love them all, but my favorite has to be “Piper of the Woods”. Long may you live to continue to share your unique talents and beautiful Spirit with us!
The whole of the recording is a joy…to try and sing along with!
More Songs from Living On The Earth proves again that the flowers are still in full bloom and I haven’t changed much in the several decades since they were first written & sung. What a great soundtrack to play in my car amidst the raging chaos on the highways. I’m on my way to Hippie Hill and I’m NEVER coming back. Thank You!
Alicia’s songs are beatiful and real. In a troubled times like these, we need her songs and art more than ever!
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
I had an amazing experience leading my Introduction To The Inner Clown workshop this weekend. I played Alicia’s music from her album, More Songs from Living On The Earth as my sonic environment while we were on breaks. It was so beautiful. What a weekend. I feel inspired for the first time in awhile.
I don’t listen to many albums these days. Back in my 20s, that’s all I did, when I played in bands for a living, but now, writing mostly poetry or essays, I tend to put them on as background music while I’m ironing. (Hey, don’t knock it! Ironing is a form of Zen mediation. The Way of the Straight Crease.)
It’s especially difficult to comment on music created by your friends – or family – mainly, because you love them and want to empower and encourage them on, not expose them to the harsh wind of critical thinking or ‘too much head in bed’ as some freaked out flowerchild once put it. Artists get enough useless opinions, whether amateur or professional, from the uncaring. But you also want to be honest and help with intelligent commentary, not just sugarcoat everything so as not to hurt feelings.
As a professional songwriter and poet, I listen quite differently to music than people who are not in these professions. Music for me has never been simply entertainment. (It took me many years and many wasteful arguments to finally grasp this.) I listen to music perhaps more like an anthropologist – (if any single analogy is adequate) – looking through a desert of sand for single bone fragments that can reconfigure everything I have learned to date and make it vitally present again. A key to unlock something. I prefer watching films for entertainment. The great songs of the late 60s, from The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, so many others, all derailed me from whatever track I was on, whipped me around the cosmos and then rerouted me back onto the same track, but as though experiencing it for the first time.
So today, I piled up my wrinkled clothes, set up my ironing board, switched on my Always-Expecting-A-Miracle work light, and put on Alicia Bay Laurel’s, More Songs from Living On the Earth.
The soft tones and clarity of Alicia’s vocals, which are her trademarks, were immediately there. Alicia is Alicia and no one else. No jarring pseudo-melismas (ie.vocal runs with too many notes), so infesting vocal stylists (and especially, lead guitarists!) in the music marketplace these days. A simple tone and respect for a good melody and the clarity of the lyric. You do not need to read a lyric sheet with songwriter-singer sings like this. The words are vulnerable and ring out and you can take them, or leave them, depending on your taste, but it’s clear that Alicia stands by what she sings. She lives it and has lived it for over forty years. Daniel Berrigan, 60s Civil Rights activist once said, ‘Know where you stand – and stand there.’ This assuredness is reassuring in a world where everything is about conforming and being popular.
I long to be led back to lost, forgotten and unfamiliar pioneers of music, by the present generation, much like Bob Dylan led us to Woody Guthrie, the Rolling Stones led us to Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton led us to Robert Johnson and The Beatles forced us back to not only The Everly Brothers, but Little Richard, and even the Tin Pan Alley songwriting teams of the 30s and 40s. Country music has always had this sense of history and connection with ‘elders’ but pop music only nods back to the closest reference point. For a singer-songwriter, it is certain death.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, I am ironing my way through my t-shirts (fewer difficult bits to iron, always a good place to start) and about to hit the more resilient jeans and pajamas. The tracks on Alicia’s album play one after another. I’m half-listening; half-thinking about the spaghetti sauce I am about to make for lunch.
In the music, I hear Alicia’s precise fingerpicking, often echoing the melody line of the songs. I’m waiting for her to hit a bum note (like I sometimes do when I finger-pick) but there are none. I think she rehearses her guitar playing as much as she does her vocals – which is every single day.
In a few of the songs, I hear the memorable and transporting traces of a mutual friend of ours, Sunny Supplee, effortlessly woven into her vocal style. Sunny lived with both Alicia and I, at different times, never together, on various back-to-the-land communes in the mid-70s. Sunny was accidentally killed in a car crash in the 70s, in Maui. I once asked Alicia whether she had been influenced by Sunny’s style. She said something to the effect of, ‘Oh yes, of course – but as she is no longer using this voice, I thought I would pass it on.’ I loved that. This is what I meant about an artist in the present leading us back to an artist who is gone or forgotten.
Ironing finally finished, I go into the kitchen to start the pasta sauce. I can still hear the music coming through the walls but I’m not really concentrating now. I feel guilty. Like I should be sitting down and doing a serious ‘review’ of this album. After all, Alicia is my friend. But, as I said, that would not be honest, because that is not the way I experience music. I am waiting for a little miracle. The REAL thing. Not lip service.
I go back into my music room to check my email. I have forgotten that the album has been playing all along in the background. I have also forgotten that I am ‘supposed’ to be listening. My critical mind is completely turned off and I am just Being. (I attribute this state, in part, to this album, which works on your Be-Here-Now chakras even when you are not noticing.)
Suddenly, I HEAR ‘The Last Song of the Night’, second to last song on the album. This one stops me in my tracks. This song resonates with everything that I like in music. No BS. I can hear myself singing it in performance. I can hear others singing it. Several artists come to mind. It is a simple, practical and well-written song that actually is quite useful. (A good closing song is rare and handy to have in your repertoire. I remember once hearing a similar themed song that Lou Gottlieb wrote for The Limeliters that closed one of their shows. Perhaps the spirit of Lucky Lou visited Alicia disguised as a Muse?) Alicia sings it with a light dirge-like quality, echoed by a supporting vocal, sung an octave apart from hers. I love it.
It’s the Last Song of the Night
It’s the Last Song of the Night
We’re going to sleep
but in our hearts we’ll keep
the Last Song of the Night.
OK. I found a key. An old bone. Now lets have a closer look.
There are many experiences of late 60s culture. It would make a varied and psychedelic pie chart. There was the aggressive Jimi Hendrix, drop-acid, set-your-guitar-on-fire slice. There was the Richie Havens-social-protest-solo singer slice. There was the Bob Dylan surreal-angry-who-cares-what-the-audience-thinks (as long as they buy your records) slice.
The last album of Alicia’s that I listened to in depth was ‘What Livings All About’. The tracks that stood out for me on that album were the jazz influenced songs like her great and original interpretation of ‘Nature Boy.’
While there is definitely some jazz-influence, the music on More Songs from Living On the Earth suggests another neglected area of the great musical pie. The easy-listening music of groups like The Lovin’ Spoonful (reflected in songs like ‘Have a Good Time’, ‘Beautiful, Beautiful,’ and ‘Hang Around and Boogie’), the husband-wife folk love duo of Maria and Geoff Muldaur, and even the laid-back jug band music of Jim Kweskin.
One of high points on More Songs from Living On the Earth, for me, is ‘Green, Green Rain, surprisingly laced with lovely Appalachian and Irish flavours, and an inspired guitar harmonic counter-theme.
Alicia remarks, about several of the songs, in her liner notes: ‘It’s a sentimental review of the ’60s and ’70s, and also a decision to continue with the best of what I learned and lived then.”
This is clearest in songs like ‘Hippie Hill’, and ‘Paisley Days.’ And I know this state of mind well. It was the driving force behind my own album, Freelovedays. Having lived and loved through the flower-power generation and seen most of our idealistic dreams, and ‘ideal’ relationships, crash to earth, how does one continue on in today’s very different culture? Free love was a rebellion against the ‘nuclear couple’ monogamy that most of us ran away from. But, after having children and grandchildren, the joy, comfort and security of a stable relationship with one person, who is also your best friend, is very appealing.
The poet Rilke once said the job of the poet is to experience life, absorb it, making the visible, invisible. Then later, often decades later, through ones’ work, reverse the process. Make what is invisible, visible. Pass it on to others – the best – and the worst – of what you have seen and done, for anyone else desiring to go down similar paths. So that others, who will also be consumed by passion and also lost in Ideals, can possibly learn sometimes from our generation’s mistakes – and our triumphs.
Or in other words, as a sanyasan of The Way of the Straight Crease might put it:
Cows are beautiful, but no need to step in the same cow patty twice.
Follow Alicia. She knows the way through the field.
Immortal for his multi-platinum song Shaddap You Face
I put on headphones and laid in bed and laughed and cried revisiting innocence with your pure tones. Immediately replayed twice and gave to Diana to do same.
James Cook Loomis
Author, Environmentalist, Joyous Being
ALAS, DUE TO AN INJURY BEFORE THE TOUR, I AM UNABLE TO TRAVEL AND PERFORM. SO, I AM HOPING THAT, NEXT YEAR, I WILL BE ABLE TO COME AGAIN.
06/05 Concert at HAPON in Shinjuku, Tokyo, at 17:30
06/06 Concert and Talk with the staff and readers of Murmur Magazine at VACANT Art Space in Harajuku at 19:00. Murmur’s editor, Hattori Millet-san’s band plays first! Then I play, then Millet-san and I talk. Tickets available at Murmur magazine’s website.
3-20-13 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Transport Harajuku station (JR Yamanote Line)
or Meiji-jingumae station (Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line)
Telephone 03 6459 2962
06/08 Concert after the movie “Embracing the Seed of Life,” Keibo Shinichi Oiwa Tsuji’s interview with Vandana Shiva, and documentary of her work . Movie 15:00 to 16:00, Alicia Bay Laurel live concert and discussion from 16:00 to 17:00. At Cinema Amigo in Zushi, Kanagawa http://cinema-amigo.com/
06/14 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition, starts at 14:00, at Cafe Jisoan, Sue, Gifu, 2000 yen.
06/15 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition, starts at 18:00, Mi.Ca.Li Gallery, Mino, Osaka, 2000 yen.
06/17 Art Workshop with Alicia Bay Laurel: Visualization Altars with Crystals.
Starts at 15:00. 8000 yen. Meet at Under the Light Yoga School Shogakukaikan-bekkan 4F, 1-53-4, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053 Flier: http://holiken.net/?pid=74868539 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo of Alicia Bay Laurel's shrine "Love to My Inner Child," made on Oshima Island, 2007.
06/17 Concert at Under the Light Yoga School Starts at 18:30, 2500 yen. Shogakukaikan-bekkan 4F, 1-53-4, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0053
06/21 Concert (featuring Ikue Asazaki) and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition and Fashion Show, Cafe Slow, Kokubunji, Tokyo. Starts at 19:00, seats 3800 and 4300 yen. http://www.cafeslow.com/
06/22 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition and Fashion Show, Asaba Art Square, Kanazawa-Bunko, Kanagawa. Starts at 15:00. Seats: 2500 and 3000 yen, children 5 to 18, 1000 yen
06/27 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition, Gallery Kan, Fukushima. Start 18:30, 3000 yen.
06/29 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition, Manos Garden, Hiroshima. Start 16:00, Seats 2500 and 3000 yen.
07/04 Concert (featuring UA) and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition and Fashion Show, Cafe Unizon, Ginowan, Okinawa. Starts 19:00. Seats 2500 yen. http://www.cafe-unizon.jp/
07/12 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition at RAW CAFE by cacao?magic_ in Kyoto. Starts 19:00. Seats 2500 and 2800 yen. http://www.cacaomagic.com/
07/13 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition and Fashion Show at Cafe Millet, near Kyoto, Start: 14:30. 3500 yen.
07/19 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition and Fashion Show, Bagus, Wakayama. Start 19:00. Seats: 2500 and 3000 yen http://www.wakanoura.com/bagus/
07/21 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition, Art Café Nafsha, Awajishima. Start 19:00. Seats 2500 yen
07/26 Concert with Inoue Ohana Band and hula by Miho Ogura, Alishan Organic Center, Hidaka, Saitama. Start at 15:30. Seat and one drink: 2300 yen.
08/02 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition, Little Eagle Aso, Kumamoto. Start at 18:00. Seats 2000 and 2500 yen.
08/05 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition, Daisho-in Temple, Hiroshima. Start 18:00. Tickets by donation.
08/08 Concert and Little Eagle Fashion Show, Arts & Crafts Village, Okayama. Start 18:00. Seats 2500 and 3000 yen.
08/09 Peace Concert in Hiroshima (with other musicians). Start 15:00. Location and ticket price TBA.