Welcome to My Home Page!

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So, who is Alicia Bay Laurel?  What does she do, anyway? 

I currently tour as a singer/songwriter/guitarist/storyteller, with six 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 2), one solo instrumental guitar medleys, and one remastered 1973 archival recording of Ramon Sender Barayon and me performing music from our collaborative book, Being of the Sun. 

I also wrote, illustrated and designed Living on the Earth, a legendary boho sustainable living guide, that was the first paperback book on the New York Times Bestseller List, in spring 1971, and launched a graphic art and drawing style that is still widely emulated to this day. It's still in print in English, Japanese and Korean. You can buy it on this website, signed by me. I've illustrated eight other books, five of which I also wrote or co-wrote.

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!

P.S. Wanna be friends on Facebook? Click here.

The Alicia Bay Laurel Store

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: 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.

Books:


Living on the Earth, beautiful new 4th edition, (2003) $19 Read reviews.


Living on the Earth, 30th anniversary edition (2000), $15 Read Reviews.

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.

Music CDs:

All of my CDs are easy to order 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 hereRead 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 hereRead reviews.

Lei Ishii likes ABL songs

 


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.

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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:

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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.

Clothing:


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.


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Legendary songstress Gwendolyn found that the Living on the Earth t-shirt makes an exemplary maternity frock.

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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.

Reviews of CD - Songs From Being of the Sun

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From Gerald Van Waes, host of Psyche Van Het Folk Radio Show in Belgium:

At first, I thought this was a completely new album by Alicia Bay Laurel. If it had been so, hearing Alicia’s voice and purity, this could only have been so when this was the product of a perfect example of a long-term practical and healthy life. What still is sure, is that she indeed tried to follow that root. A proof and example can be found in Alicia’s book with instructions to a practical of life for hippies (see my mention of the book on this page; it was written and published in the 70s). Alicia sounded for sure like someone in her twenties, and that also appears to be so, with all the charming qualities in optimal conditions for someone of that age: being a voice of purity and innocence. What neo-pagans most often do not succeed equally well to bring over because of forcing it too bravely or sounding too dark and where traditional musicians more often forget where their music really originates from in a source of energy and inspiration, Alicia, together with Ramon Sender do succeed to evoke this very source of celebration of life and natural circumstance with great ease. This kind of energy feels light and happy and still is grounded enough to become a true source of prosperity. I notice is a perfect balance between a light simplicity and delicate harmony.

You can say that this album is an evocation to the sun and to the turns of the seasons. Several parts are showing different angles and changes in time, while the celebrative dedications and evocations are becoming adaptations towards those natural changes, these experiences and preparations to the right conditions to adapt well are assembled into musical expressions into this collection, like a musical ritual cycle and its appropriate songs, that are not too different in approach compared to the lightest imaginable vision of Latin-American sun God worships that are adapted in this case to a somewhat more European or white-American foundation.
A song like “Welcoming Chant” invites you to join the scene. The vocal harmonies are beautiful to hear, the accompaniments are simple picking/hammered rhythms while zither/harp-like textures provide additional string-picking drones. On the third track, a minimal droning instrumental with hammered strings was added too, droning a bit more heavily in that track with its reverbs so that it gives the effect of an organ wave drone mixed with high pitched hammering.

I have noticed that Ramon Sender Barayon truly has feeling for folk music. Alicia explained me that Ramon was born in Spain, where he might have inherited that European sensibility to his music. On the 7th track, his accordion and song approach seems to be rooted in older folk music from European mountain areas like the Alps, or at least provokes or reveals that root a bit. He also included and sung one song of his own, which fits also perfectly. The first part of “The Sun is Forever” on the other hand could have been on a UK folk album, showing beautiful delicacy in its vocal harmonies. The folky and bluesy way of playing of the accordion directs it then quickly back into a more Appalachian sort of direction. “Everything is Flowing”, as one of the many tracks with birds in the background, bells, bowls and vocal harmonies, is more like a nearly-Christian spiritual thanking song.

A few other tracks have influence from Indian mantra singing (The Gayatri and “Adiya..”), show another source of inspiration or guidance.

You can’t hear this immediately but it is interesting to know that Ramon Sender Barayon had been involved in many more sorts of music. It means that he wasn’t just any occasional or ordinary session musician at all. He also once was and (now at nearly 80) still is known as a famous avant-garde composer. He is one of the founders of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, and co-inventor of the Buchla Box, one of the earliest synthesizers. Besides, Ramon is also the author of a book, “A Death in Zamora”, which is about what happened to his family during the Spanish Civil War. His father, Ramon J. Sender, was a famous novelist and journalist, and a fierce opponent of Franco. His mother was a classical pianist. She was murdered when Ramon was three by family members who were supporters of Franco. The American family who adopted Ramon as a kid very quickly recognized his musical talents and made sure that he had great piano teachers. He earned his bachelors degree in composition at the music conservatory in Rome. The album that is published here had been recorded on a Sony 4 reel-to-reel tape, is part of an archive of his work kept by the music department of Mills College, where Ramon got his masters degree in composition under Darius Milhaud back in the 1960s. Currently he resides in San Francisco.

“Being of the Sun” was also a co-authored book (designs and illustrations were by Alicia) from which some of the music in the book was recorded and performed. This book was first published in 1973 by Harper & Row in New York, and is about living in nature, spirituality, and music. It is still in print in Japanese. It is much loved by pagans and other nature lovers all over the world. The front and back covers of the book are on the CD cover. It is the sequel to [Alicia's] most famous and best-selling book “Living on the Earth”, which was first published in 1970.

Alicia told me that at this time of the recording, when she was 23, she did not yet study any vocal technique yet, but that makes this recording also so pure, uninfluenced by any formal techniques, the techniques developed later reshaped Alicia’s voice which are a different sort of transformation.

The release is a really lovely album with its own unique, nature friendly and spiritual nature. I hope this will be released on LP some day too.

Gerald Van Waes
Psyche Van Het Folk
Psychedelic Folk Music Radio Show
Belgium
http://www.psychedelicfolk.com/AliciaBayLaurel.html#anchor_97

 

The Zither music CD is sublime. wow.

Mark Hewins
Noted guitarist
UK

 

Hi Alicia,

It’s so good to hear from you. I listened to the samples of the new CD’s and really liked what I heard. Songs from Being of the Sun is has some really cool sounds. It’s great you were able to resurrect it!

Please do send a copy of each CD. I’d like to get some of it on air at Radio Free Phoenix.

I wanted to let you know, many of your songs, plus the jingle you did for me, are still running on the air on a regular basis. We could also do another music & interview on Radio Free Phoenix with you spotlighting your new releases! Let me know.

Andy Olson
Radio Free Phoenix

 

I really love the music you and Ramon made for your last CD. The musical instrument was not one usually used for your songs; the drone harp created a really spiritual type of music. That was my favorite. I like the concept of singing chants to mark the times of the day. I really liked the melodies. Thank you for your talent, making diverse types of music and releasing them to the world.

Reiko Ashidate
Photographer, digital designer, and DJ
Tokyo, Japan

Living Through Young Eyes CD - Listener Comments

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Your two new CDs are in the rotation on WUTZ-FM 88.3.
I especially like the acoustic medleys.

Albert Bates
Founder and Director
Eco-Village Training Center
The Farm
Summertown, Tennessee

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The brilliant techniques of John Fahey shine through your playing + I love your originality, in songs and feeling.

Very inspirational!

Erik Frye
Radio KZYX, Mendocino County, California
Real Goods Solar Living Center, Hopland, California

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The birds eating and singing in the back yard. The dog showing a happy face. Sun tea with my fresh mint brewing on the back step. I repotted a tree I brought from Puerto Rico (it bears fruit there, but cannot live outside here so will not produce), worked in my compost pile, and made homemade Pennsylvania Dutch noodles for a dish Sal requested. ALL TO THE SOUNDS OF YOUR CD! I love it! Living Through Young Eyes. You are incredibly talented, as of course you know.

You and I have this energy, this vivacity (note: root of that word is “life”), this desire to make it all happen. You reinforce that in me when I listen to your music.

You need to be very proud of your accomplishments. As they say here in Texas, “You done well!” Loved the transitions between the various melodies and the way you wove them into one another. Poetry at your fingertips.

Barbara Light Lacey
Author, Singer-Songwriter
Dallas, Texas

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“Living through young eyes.”
Just such a beautiful CD.

You play flawlessly… xx :)

Mark Hewins
Noted guitarist
Margate, UK

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Kimberly Hughes article about my 2013 Japan Tour

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Here is a link to Kimberly Hughes’ interview/article created during my 2013 Japan tour. I met Kimberly in 2012 when she worked with me interpreting for me at several of my concerts, and we’ve been good friends ever since.

The photo was taken at my 2013 concert at Cacao Magic (a vegan café in Kyoto). I am wearing organic fiber clothes created by my friend and collaborator, fashion designer Kaorico Ago for her company, Little Eagle.

Alicia Bay Laurel 2013 Japan Concert Tour

This tour celebrates the release of two new CDs!

 

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It's available here.


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It's available here.

 

Here are the bookings and posters as of 06/29/2013.  Please check back for any changes!
06/06 Live with RabiRabi at OPPA-LA at Enoshima, open at 19:00 http://www.rabirabi.com/top/top.html
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06/07 Live at Hapon in Shinjuku, start at 19:00 http://hapon.asia/shinjuku/event/post2725/

06/08 Live with Little Eagle at Café Slow in Kokubunji, start at 19:00 http://event.cafeslow.com/?eid=1080490 and http://plusminustsuchi.com/littleeagle20120530/
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06/09 Live with Little Eagle at Beach Muffin in Zushi, start at 17:00
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06/15 Live with Little Eagle at Jisoan in Sue, Gifu, start at 14:00
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06/16 Live with Little Eagle at Café Ocean in Nishio (near Nagoya), start at 17:30
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06/21 Live with Little Eagle at Art Café Nafsha on Awaji Island, start at 19:30 (Summer Solstice!)
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06/22 Live with Little Eagle at MiCaLi in Mino, Osaka, start at 18:30

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06/23 Live with Little Eagle at Bagus in Wakayama, open at 15:00
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06/29 Live with Little Eagle at Cacao Magic in Kyoto, start at 18:00
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07/02 Live at Gallery Speak For in Daikanyama, Tokyo, start at 18:00. Reception event for show of original 1970 drawings from Living on the Earth, many with new Alicia Bay Laurel drawings on the mat boards, and framed in driftwood by master craftsman Yuji Kamioka.  Show runs 06/21 ~ 07/03
. Alicia's live music at 18:30 on 07/02.  Address information: http://www.galleryspeakfor.com/ Here is a video of the installed show:
http://youtu.be/bZeFuZSVGUE  The music is "Everything is Flowing" from the CD "Songs from Being of the Sun."
07/05 Live in Kanazawa, private event for Earth Keepers, start at 18:00
http://aas205.blogspot.jp/2013/06/living-on-earth.html

07/06 Live with Little Eagle at Oromina in Yokohama, start at 15:00
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07/07 Live with Little Eagle at Alishan Organic Center in Saitama, start at 16:00
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07/12 Live with Little Eagle at Cafe Unizon in Ginowan, Okinawa, start at 20:00
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07/13 to 07/15 Okinawa Sacred Sites Tour and Shrine Art Workshop at beautiful Donto-in, Tamagusuku, with Alicia Bay Laurel and Sachiho Saraswatie Kojima. For reservations, please contact Sachiho Saraswatie Kojima on Facebook or at OZUNU369 (at) dpx (dot) ne (dot) jp or call her at 070 5812 9088. Facebook event page https://www.facebook.com/events/158003121048714/

07/18 Live in Ueda at Café PANI http://www.pani.jp/

07/20 Live with Little Eagle at Lumiere du Lazuli in Matsumoto, start at 15:00.  Tickets 2000 yen in advance or 3000 yen on the day of the event.
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07/25 Live with Inoue Ohana at Thumbs Up in Yokohama, start at 19:30 Facebook event page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/602798496410762
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07/26 Live with Inoue Ohana at Chikyu-ya in Kunitachi http://chikyuya.info/contents/pickup


 

07/27 Live at YAMADA PARADISE FARM, presented by Green People
Open 16:30
Kathie and Keni Inoue (Inoue Ohana Band)17:30
Alicia Bay Laurel 18:30

608 Nakasakuma, Kyonan-machi, Awagun, CHIBA
ticket 1300(advance) \1500 (door)\500(middle & high-school students)
more info by phone : 080-1282-6586 (Ohyama)
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/198969503593654/

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07/28 Live with Inoue Ohana at Studio M in Koganei starting at 16:00

Send us email for reservation to spoonful.tlh@gmail.com. More information on our web page http://www.tinylittlehideout.com/spoonful/top.html

07/30 to 07/31 SARO resort Nii-jima Island – Overnight massage, nature, music and art retreat with Alicia Bay Laurel and Rie Kuwahara of Rie-treats for Under the Light Yoga. For tickets, please contact Rie at rie (dot) kuwahara(at) gmail (dot) com

 


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07/30 Live at SARO resort on Nii-jima Island (open to public), starting at 19:00. Address: Cafe and accomodation SARO, 3-3-4 Honson Niijima-mura Tokyo.

08/02 Live with Little Eagle at Shonan Club in Kamakura, start at 17:30
Event Fliers for 2013 Japan tour

 

 

08/03 Live event:

Vibration1 from Agriculture & Music
WASEDA SCOTT HALL
August 3rd, 2013, open 15:00
talk session about agriculture 16:00 by Alicia Bay Laurel, Kaoru Sugita & Kaoru Kawai
music session 17:00 by Alicia Bay Laurel, monk beat, DJ TATSUTA
close 19:00
Ticket 2000 yen advance?2500 yen at door

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08/04 Live with Inoue Ohana at Art Station POKARA in Nasu
Open at 14:30, start at 15:00
2500 yen for Live Event
1000 yen for Vegetarian Dinner after
Hula show included! 

253 Yumoto, Nasu-machi, Tochigi prefecture.
Tel 0287-76-4119
For more information, please call Kat-chan at 
090-6543-8272


 

Living Through Young Eyes CD

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June 1, 2013 - the official release of my CD “Living Through Young Eyes.”

You can buy physical CDs or downloads here. 

If you’d like me to email you the track list and liner notes in Japanese as a pdf or Word doc, please contact me via the contact link in the purple box at the top of this page. 

What I wrote about this CD in the liner notes:

I arranged these open-tuned, finger-picked guitar solos from songs I heard as a child, in my ‘teens, and in my early 20s, as a sort of musical memoir.

Growing up in Los Angeles in the 1950s, I heard the social justice songs of leftie folksingers, plus Mexican songs, cowboy songs, Stephen Foster songs, early African-American spirituals, hoary American folk songs, and patriotic hymns, at elementary school and at home, including during five years of piano lessons.

As I passed into adolescence in the early 1960s, I discovered, on the radio, sounds that resonated with my changing body and mind – songs of Eros, rebellion, and heartbreak, all based on the bittersweet scale of the blues. I began playing guitar. My cousin Janet Lebow married open-tune guitar legend John Fahey, who taught me to finger-pick open tunings.

In 1966, at age 17, I moved to San Francisco. An astonishing phenomenon awaited me: masses of young bohemians opening their hearts, sharing whatever they had, welcoming whoever was in need, and eagerly seeking greater contact with the divine spirit. Famous songwriters produced philosophical anthems further inspiring, and documenting, this blossoming.

Many of us were moved to address the grave political issues of the day – civil rights, the war in Vietnam, Native American sovereignty - through direct nonviolent action, and the best songwriters of those times gave voice to these struggles.

In 1974, at age 24, I moved to Hana, Maui, a remote village rich in traditional Hawaiian culture, to learn Hawaiian style open-tuned guitar. Most people there sang, played guitar or ukulele, or danced hula, at the frequent family luaus and community gatherings. Certain beloved songs were sung often, most of them written by Hawaiians, but “Kalua,” from a corny B movie, was a favorite for hula performance. Every gathering ended with a swaying group hug while singing “Hawaii Aloha,” the unofficial state anthem.

Alicia Bay Laurel

Songs From Being of the Sun CD

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May 31, 2013: the release of a new CD!

Songs from Being of the Sun is a 1973 archival recording of me (Alicia Bay Laurel) and Ramon Sender Barayon performing music from our DIY spirituality and music book, Being of the Sun (Harper & Row, 1973). 

You can purchase the physical CD and/or download it or any tracks from it here.

If you’d like me to email you the lyrics and liner notes in Japanese as a pdf or Word doc, please contact me via the contact link in the purple box at the top of this page.

Here’s what I wrote about the CD and the process of making it:

“Songs From Being of the Sun” was created from digitized versions of archival tapes from 1973 recorded by my partner from the early 1970s, Ramon Sender Barayon, a composer who co-founded the San Francisco Tape Music Center and co-created the Buchla Box, one of the earliest synthesizers.

Ramon loves modes and drones, and was, in the ‘60s and ‘70s, collecting autoharps, taking the "machines" off of them, tuning them to various modes and using them as drones for sacred chants.

We wrote a book together, published in 1973 by Harper & Row, titled Being of the Sun. The book includes Ramon’s information on drones and modes, plus some songs I wrote, some he wrote, and some we wrote together. Ramon recorded the two of us performing some of this music, he mostly playing harps and me mostly on open-tuned guitar, shortly before the book was released. He also made field recordings of wild birds to add to the recording.

After Being of the Sun was released, I moved to Hana, Maui to learn Hawaiian style open tuned guitar, and I forgot about these recordings, until November 2012, when I discovered a cassette copy of the recording in my home. I played it, was charmed by it, and called Ramon to find out what had become of the original 4-track reel-to-reel tapes on which he had recorded this music.

The 4-track tapes turned up in an archive of Ramon’s music at Mills College, where he had earned his MA in Composition under Darius Milhaud many years before. Ramon introduced me to Maggi Payne, Chairman of the Music Department at Mills College, who kindly located and digitized these tapes in December 2012.

Ron Grant, a dear friend and film composer in Los Angeles, used 21st century audio technology to remove various hums, hisses and clunks from the recordings, then mixed in the bird tracks, and also recorded a few new tracks of Ramon and me singing that enhance the original. He sampled some bells and small gongs I brought to the studio and played them on some of the tracks.

Ramon listened to the result and gave my collaboration with Ron a “thumbs up.” The CD went to press in May 2013.

~ Alicia Bay Laurel

In Which I am Interviewed by Laura Theodore, The Jazzy Vegetarian, on her Internet Radio Show

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I met Laura Theodore online via LinkedIn’s Vegan and Vegetarian discussion group.  Laura is a jazz vocalist with an impressive resume and a unique voice, who also hosts vegetarian cooking shows on television, radio and the Internet. 

I pitched myself to her as a guest on her internet radio show, telling her I had recorded one (well-received) jazz/blues CD, and I’d also written and illustrated a book that had been a best seller in the 1970s, is still in print in English and Japanese, and was recently selected as one of the 101 most influential American cookbooks of the 20th century by the Fales Library at New York University. 

She bit. 

So, here is the result of our phone collaboration last December, a show first airing today, January 31, 2013.

Vegan, Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

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I have evolved this recipe over many holiday seasons.

Prepare one of these crusts:

BAKED CRUST

Two cups of gluten-free baking flour (usually a combo of rice, garbanzo, oat, and millet flours – any or all of these)

¾ cup palm kernel oil (comes in a tub, like shortening)

Chill the palm kernel oil. Place it in a food processor with the flour and an ice cube. Blend until it forms a soft ball of dough. If it doesn’t form a dough ball while blending, very gradually add a tiny bit more cold water. As soon as it gets the right amount of water, it will form a soft ball of dough.

Flatten the ball into a disk and press into a 9 inch glass or ceramic pie pan so that it is of even ¼ inch thickness all over, and form a scalloped edge with your thumbprints. Make fork holes every ½ inch all over the bottom and sides of the pie shell. Bake at 375 Fº until golden, but not brown.

If you have extra dough, form it into a cookie shape (star, heart, tree, etc.) in another pan, make fork holes every ½ inch on it, and bake it along with the piecrust. After the filling has chilled and become firm in the crust, place the cookie shaped piece of piecrust on top of the filling. For ease of handling, I suggest forming and baking the cookie shaped piece on top of a piece of baking parchment, so that you can easily slide it onto the top of the pie without it crumbling in the process.

RAW CRUST

In a (clean) coffee grinder, powder one cup each of walnut meats and raw cashews. Remove pits from 6 dates, chop them well and place them in a food processor with the nut flours. Blend until it forms a soft dough. Press the dough into a 9 inch glass or ceramic pie pan. Keep the edge small and simple, since an extended, scalloped edge will crumble off when the pie is cut and served. Chill in the refrigerator.

If you’d like to make a decorative raw cookie for the top of the pie, take some of the nut/date dough, form into the shape of choice, and dehydrate at 105 Fº until almost crisp.

FILLING

Cut a medium sized butternut squash or small kabocha (green) pumpkin into pieces about 1 to 2 inches on a side.

Spoon out the seeds, and either roast, plant or discard them. (If you compost them, who knows, you might get volunteer squash plants growing out of your compost..)

Peel two thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger and chop into small pieces.

Steam the squash and ginger until soft and let them cool until you can easily pick up one of the squash pieces with your (clean) hand, at which point you can spoon the flesh out from the shells into the food processor bowl, and compost the shells. Then dump the steamed bits of ginger from the steaming basket into the food processer with the squash, and blend until smooth. If the mixture is so thick that it bogs down the food processor, slowly add a tiny bit of the cooking water, until the blades are moving easily.

After blending, just to be sure there are no annoying bits of ginger in the pie filling, pour the mixture through a sieve into a large bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon to complete the separation.

If you’d rather not bother with peeling, chopping, steaming, blending and sieving fresh ginger, you can always skip it, instead adding ½ tsp. powdered ginger along with the other spices below. (Personally, I think it’s worth the extra work.)

Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly: one cup of unsweetened, non-flavored vegan milk (hemp, almond, rice, soy, or, if you’d like a very rich pie, coconut cream) with 2 teaspoons of agar flakes, 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. cloves, ½ tsp allspice) and 3 droppers of non-flavored stevia glycerite, stirring until the agar is completely dissolved and the spices are well blended into the milk.

Place the food processor: the butternut squash and the agar/milk mixture. Blend until completely smooth.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and chill until the agar is set (at least one hour, although you can make this pie the day before serving it and keep it in the refrigerator until then).

If you have more filling than pie shells, pour it into custard cups and chill.

A nine-inch pie will serve 8 people.

Topping (optional):

Coconut Bliss vegan ice cream (Naked Coconut flavor) would be my choice, but there are also excellent choices available from Tofutti, Soy Delicious, and other vegan ice cream brands.

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