Alicia Bay Laurel – Live in Japan: Listener Response, Production Notes and Lyrics

ABL LIVE IN JAPAN 3000X3000 for CD Baby

Buy the “Alicia Bay Laurel – Live in Japan” CD here.

July 23, 2018. Just coming off the press today is my 8th album, a collection of recordings by audio engineer Yasushi Yamaguchi from my concerts in Japan.  Three of the recordings were made on August 8th, 2015, at a peace concert in at Hiroshima Nakaregawa Church, at ground zero in Hiroshima, during the week of the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The album also includes a duet with legendary Japanese traditional singer, Ikue Asazaki, and a live rendition of my song Ukulele Hula with the Inoue Ohana Band, during kumu hula Miho Ogura‘s debut performance of her original choreography created for this song.

Also, I recorded a medley that evolved onstage over three years of concerts in Japan, often with interpretive dancers, blending the four chants of the solstices and equinoxes from the book Being of the Sun, both the book and the songs a collaboration with composer/author Ramón Sender Barayón.

My cover drawing, Amaterasu Seen From Mori Tower depicts the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu appearing over Tokyo as a cloud lifting the sun from the eastern horizon across the bay. The orange and white Eiffel-Tower-like Tokyo Tower, a television tower, stands directly between Mori Tower, a residential sky scraper in the Roppongi area, and Tokyo harbor.  The art gallery that sold this drawing is in the building next to Mori Tower.  However, I sell greeting cards with this image in my online store.

Listener feedback for Alicia Bay Laurel: Live in Japan

Charming! A wonderful CD, light and lyrical and still timely and deep.   I especially liked the crowd singing along parts.  Such cosmic threads run through your life and music and art.  Wow!

Sophia Songhealer
Singer/songwriter and recording artist/producer
Clearlake, California
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Alicia,

Thank you very much for sending us your new CD: Live in Japan.

Your voice, so pure and warm, makes me feel at home.

With so many people suffering from cruelty of wars, and new totally devastating nuclear war still looming, your message reminding people of the beauty of life, and the warmth of peace is more meaningful than ever.

Ikue Asazaki’s voice is so soulful!

Kenichi Iyanaga
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
Tokyo University
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Wow, the CD looks and sounds great Alicia.

Nice balance, guitar solo works, and you sound great.

Paul Metzke
Jazz/blues guitarist
New York City, NY
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Alicia Bay Laurel is back in Japan and Okinawa. In this [track “Imagine”], she sounds like an angel in a church at ground zero in Hiroshima. Can’t stop listening, so beautiful, and a special time, place convergence for peace. Thank you!

Jean Downey
Attorney, Professor, Journalist and Activist
Winter Park, Florida
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Thank you for sending me your new CD.
I am really enjoying listening to it right now!
I was surprised to hear how good your Japanese pronunciation is.
You sound so Japanese!
I love your voice on “Imagine”.
And I love the sweet face of Amaterasu on the jacket!
Great CD!

Mayu Jensen
Translator, graphic artist, and singer/songwriter
Nagano Prefecture, Japan
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Six small but powerful tracks — as relevant today as when the songs were first written — speak to the depths of our souls and the heights of our spirits. Alicia Bay Laurel’s soulful renditions are the perfect balm for our troubled times, making Live in Japan another timeless gem in our collective treasure box.

今だからききたい Ima dakara kikitai

大地の音色 Daichi no neiro

今だからききたい Ima dakara kikitai

心の響き Kokoro no hibiki

今だからききたい Ima dakara kikitai

アリシアの唄 Alicia no uta

(it’s hard to translate the Japanese into English… Literally, it would mean, “Because it’s IMA (now), we want to listen to the tones of Mother Earth/Because it’s IMA, we want to listen to the vibrations of the heart/Because it’s IMA, we want to listen to Alicia’s songs” But it sounds much better in Japanese!)

Carole Hisasue
Former Radio and TV Personality in Tokyo
Now Organic Farmer and Activist in California
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The back cover of the CD, with Kensuke Ishii’s photograph of Ikue Asazaki and Alicia Bay Laurel after the show, both costumed by Kaoriko Ago Wada, the designer/owner of the Little Eagle organic fiber, fair trade fashion company.

Production Notes and Lyrics:

Produced by Alicia Bay Laurel for Indigo With Stars, Inc. © 2018
All tracks recorded, mixed and mastered by Yasushi Yamaguchi, for Monk Beat Studios.
except for track 3, which was recorded by Mark Hewins of Musart

Drawing Amaterasu Seen From Mori Tower and graphic design by Alicia Bay Laurel
Photos of Alicia Bay Laurel and Ikue Asazaki by Kensuke Ishii
Costumes worn by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ikue Asazaki created by Kaoriko Ago Wada, owner/designer of organic fiber/fair trade fashion company, Little Eagle
Digital layout by Hoshi Hana

1. Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream
Music and lyrics by Ed McCurdy © 1950, Folkways Music Publisher, Inc.

Recorded at an all-day peace concert produced by Kaoriko Ago Wada, designer and owner of the organic fiber/fair trade fashion company Little Eagle, at Hiroshima Nakaregawa Church, located at ground zero in Hiroshima, on August 8, 2015, during the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was the final song of the concert, and everyone was swaying together in a circle, a garland of 1000 paper cranes draped around all of our shoulders, folded in prayer and remembrance for those that died in and after the bombings.

Lead vocal and melody guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel
Harmony vocal and harmony guitar: Takuji
Lead (electric) guitar: Paul Metzke
Plus the entire cast (including the Lily Choir and the Inoue Ohana Band) and the audience at the event, all of whom joined us in singing the second time through the song.

Last night I had the strangest dream

I never had 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 women!)

And the paper they were signing said

They’d never fight again.


And when the paper was all 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.


2. Yurikago No Uta/ Lullaby
Yurikago No Uta (Cradle Song): Words by Kitahara Hakushu, Music by Kusakawa Shin


Lullaby: Music and lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel © 2000, Bay Tree Music, as part of the album Music From Living on the Earth

Recorded at a June 6, 2015 concert and fashion exhibition produced by Kaoriko Ago Wada, at Café Slow. This restaurant and performance venue in a straw bale and cob building in Kokubunji, Tokyo, was created by and for the people of the Slow Life movement, which values creating things by hand and growing one’s own food, both to help preserve nature and to nourish one’s spirit.  Yurikago No Uta/Lullaby was the final song of the show, at the end of (my idol!) the legendary singer Ikue Asazaki’s set. I thought she was going to sing Yurikago No Uta both at the beginning and at end of the piece, but, to my surprise, when I paused for her to begin singing it the second time, she motioned that she wanted me to sing it instead!  So, I jumped in on the second line and sang it to the end.

Lead vocal: Ikue Asazaki
Lead vocal and melody guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel
Lead guitar: Atsushi Tanaka

Yurikago No Uta

1)  Yurikago no uta wo Canary ga utauyo          The canary is singing a cradle song.

 Nen neko Nen neko Nen nekoyo  Sleep well, child, sleep well, child, sleep well, child.

2) Yurikago no ueni Biwa no m yureruyo Biwa (loquat) is swaying above the cradle.

Nen neko Nen neko Nen nekoyo    Sleep well, child, sleep well, child, sleep well, child.

3)  Yurikago no thuna wo o Kinazumiga ga yusuruyo   The squirrel shakes the rope of the cradle

Nen neko Nen neko Nen nekoyo    Sleep well, child, sleep well, child, sleep well, child.


4) Yurikago no yume ni kiiro no tuki ga kakaruyo.    Yellow moonlight shines on your dreams in the cradle.

Nen neko Nen neko Nen nekoyo    Sleep well, child, sleep well, child, sleep well, child.


Lullaby

Verse 1

I won’t leave you alone

I won’t leave you alone

Until you’re ready

To start off on your own

I won’t leave you alone

I won’t leave you alone

Verse 2

I won’t leave you at night

I won’t leave you at night       

Until the morning       

Fills your window with its light

I won’t leave you at night

I won’t leave you at night       

Verse 3

I won’t stop you when you go

I won’t stop you when you go

But I’ll be ready

To smile and say hello

I won’t stop you when you go

I won’t stop you when you go

Verse 4

I won’t leave you alone

I won’t leave you alone

Until you’re ready

To start off on your own

I won’t leave you alone

I won’t leave you alone

3. Chants of the Four Seasons from Being of the Sun
Music composed by Ramón Sender Barayon
Lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ramón Sender Barayon
Summer Solstice Chant, Autumn Equinox Chant, Winter Solstice Chant, and Spring Equinox Chant, © 2013 Bay Tree Music, as part of the album Songs from Being of the Sun and © 1973 as part of the book Being of the Sun (Harper & Row, New York)

This is the only track in this album that was not recorded at a live event. Instead, it documents a medley that evolved onstage, often with an interpretive dancer, during my performances in Japan in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Lead Vocal and Zither (Evo Bluestein Sparrowharp): Alicia Bay Laurel


Summer Solstice Chant:

You have reached the highest in our heavens

And the widest span of our horizon

As we traverse the summer side of the sun

We are in the joy of your attendance

Upon this half of our mother’s breast


Autumn Equinox Chant:

Once again the night is equal to the light

On the autumn side of the sun

We have gathered to make light

For the darkness approaches

Thank you for the bounty of the summer

Thank you for the fullness of the harvest


Winter Solstice Chant:


Our half of the earth has tipped away from you

And we are on the winter side of the sun

When we are in cold and darkness

We see you in candle flames and fires

We have stored your energy to feed us

Until the day you warm us through our skin


Spring Equinox Chant:


Today the darkness gives way to daylight

Wakening from winter on the spring side of the sun

How the narrow path of sunlight has widened

As our hemisphere returns to the light

Plant we now our gardens

Blossom now the love in our souls


4. Down by the Riverside
African-American Spiritual from the early 1800’s, in public domain

Lead Vocal and Melody Guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel
Additional Vocals: The Lily Choir

Also recorded at the peace concert produced by Kaoriko Ago Wada at Hiroshima Nakaregawa Church on August 8, 2015, during the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Singing “Down by the Riverside” raised our spirits at many an anti-war protest rally during the US invasion of Vietnam in the 1960s and ‘70s.  As is customary when singing this lively song, I made up a few verses of my own.  The audience joined in with me and the Lily Choir as well.

Verse 1

Gonna lay down my sword and shield

Down by the river side

Down by the river side

Down by the river side

Gonna lay down my sword and shield

Down by the river side

And study war no more

Chorus

I ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more

Verse 2


Gonna walk with the people of peace

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Gonna walk with the Queen of Peace

Down by the river side

And study war no more

Chorus (same)

Verse 3

Gonna hold hands around the world

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Gonna hold hands around the world

Down by the river side

And study war no more

Chorus (same)

Verse 4

Gonna lay down that atom bomb

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

(spoken) “Gonna disassemble that atom bomb!”

Down by the river side

And study war no more (spoken) “we don’t need those things anymore!”

Chorus (same)

Verse 5
Gonna lay down my attitude (“my attitude” means “my anger” or “my cynicism”)

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Gonna lay down my attitude

Down by the river side,

And study war no more (spoken) “I don’t want to fight anybody!

Chorus (same)

5. Ukulele Hula
Music and Lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel © 2001, Bay Tree Music, as part of the album Living in Hawaii Style

Lead Vocal and Melody Guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel
Harmony Vocal and Ukulele: Kathie Inoue
Lead (electric) Guitar: Keni Inoue

Recorded July 25, 2015 at Surfers, a restaurant, bar and performance venue on a cliff overlooking the ocean, just outside the town of Zushi, Kanagawa. At this event, kumu hula Miho Ogura premiered her original choreography for my song “Ukulele Hula,” in performance with five of her students. I wrote “Ukulele Hula” soon after beginning to study slack key guitar in the Hawaiian village of Hana, Maui, in 1974.

Verse 1

I’m dreaming to the sound of ukuleles

Playing all night long for a wedding of our family.

In paradise, everybody is lover,

And the more you let go the more that comes back to you.

Refrain 1

So, surrender to the beautiful island,

And she’ll give you everything that you need.

Verse 2

Feasting on a sun-ripened papaya,

Playing all day in the waves along the sand,

Breezy afternoon and a sunset on the ocean,

Sailing away on a song of Bali Hai.

Refrain 2

Let me make you feel good; that’s what we’re here for:

For ecstasy, delight and bliss.

Verse 3

It’s so balmy, such a balmy evening,

To melt in love in a tropical paradise.

Let’s swing and sway to the sound of ukuleles

Like the gentle green fronds of the lovely coconut tree.

Refrain 1, again

Surrender to the beautiful island

And she’ll give you everything that you need.

Verse 1, again

I’m dreaming to the sound of ukuleles

Playing all night long for a wedding of our family.

In paradise everybody is a lover,

And the more you let go the more that comes back to you.

6. Imagine and Give Peace a Chance
Imagine: Music and Lyrics by John Lennon, © 1971, Lenono Music
Give Peace a Chance: Music and Lyrics by John Lennon, © 1969, Sony ATV Tunes

Lead vocal and melody guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel
Harmony vocal and lead guitar: Takuji

The opening song of my set (and the closing song of Takuji’s set) at the peace concert produced by Kaoriko Ago Wada at Hiroshima Nakaregawa Church on August 8, 2015, during the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Thank you, John Lennon, for this anthem to the new paradigm of reunion with nature, loving, sharing, and peace, arising as the old paradigm of dominion over nature, hate, greed and war falls out of favor.

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people living for today ahaa haa


Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace yoohoo ooh

You may say I’m a dreamer,

but I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one


All we are saying

Is give peace a chance

All we are saying

Is give peace a chance


Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people sharing all the world yoohoo ooh


You may say I’m a dreamer,

but I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one

All we are saying

Is give peace a chance

All we are saying

Is give peace a chance