Cover art from Being of the Sun in the village of Milinicos, Castilla-La Mancha, España

04-01-19-Spain-Milinicos-Antonio's mural of BoTS cover art

Juan Antonio Martínez Sarrión, who had translated, relettered and published (in 2017) Living on the Earth as Viviendo en la Tierra, was translating and relettering Ser Del Sol, a Spanish edition of Being of the Sun, with the idea of also publishing it through his company, Kachina Ediciones, when he painted the cover art on an old, traditionally styled house in the ancient Moorish village of Milinicos, in the mountains near the city of Albacete, in the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha.


A panorama of Milinicos, with the mural of the Being of the Sun cover.

Reviews of What Living’s All About

PERFORMING SONGWRITER MAGAZINE, MAY 2007

TOP 12 DIY PICKS by Mare Wakefield, Indie Music Editor

What Living’s All About—a title that’s appropriate for a woman who has lived her life with such gusto. A Bohemian artist, Alicia Bay Laurel lived on a houseboat off Sausalito and a commune in Sonoma before spending 25 years on Maui. In addition to her music, she’s worked as a cook, collage artist, yoga instructor, wedding planner, underwater photographer and she’s the author of a New York Times bestseller, the whimsical Living on the Earth, first published in 1971.

The rich tapestry of her life translates to her music. In the Billie Holiday-esque “Floozy Tune,” Laurel plays the role of the Sunday School teacher turned barfly. In “America the Blues” she dishes out scathing political commentary to the tune of “America the Beautiful” (“America, America, greed sheds disgrace on thee / You don’t need nukes, you don’t need slaves, you don’t need gasoline”). She has fun with the smart “Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues” (“Seaweed for breakfast is good for you”) and the gospel-imbued “Doctor Sun and Nurse Water.” Laurel’s jazzy Earth-mother sound will seduce and inspire.


Review by John Stevenson of Ejazz News in London, June 2006

Dear Alicia,

Just a quick note from London. I have reviewed your last CD at ejazznews.com. It is excellent. As I wrote in the review, by far one of the best for 2006.

I get close to 200 CDs a week sent to me, but yours stood out because of its transparently high level of musicianship and sincerity – qualities which are very rarely found combined these days.

Kind Regards,

John Stevenson

Alicia Bay Laurel: What Living’s All About, Jazz Blues & Other Moist Situations (IWS)

With a provocative title like this one, Ms. Laurel will certainly catch the attention of any reviewer! This is most certainly one of the most audacious, heartfelt and honest discs I’ve put in my CD player for the year. Alicia (who sounds like the artistic love child of Joan Baez and Tom Waits) brings a folk-singer’s sensibility to bear on jazz and pulls no punches: On America The Blues, she declaims: America, the beautiful/you’re thorny as a rose:/Radiation, global warming/Poisoned food from GMOs./ She also sings a delightful version of Eden Ahbez’s Nature Boy. The accompaniment from guitarist Nels Cline, bass player John B. Williams and pianist Rick Olson is divine.

*                    *                        *                      * 

BLUES REVUE MAGAZINE January 2008
Tom Hyslop
Blues Bites: Reviews in Brief

Alicia Bay Laurel conveys life’s sudden shifts and jarring juxtapositions on What Living’s All About (Indigo With Stars 003). Sandwiched between the opener, “Floozy Tune,” and “Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues,” two formally classic blues that could have come from Ma Rainey if not for the namechecks (belly dancing, astral projection, The I. Ching, bee pollen candy and natty dread), comes “America the Blues,” with strident references to economic inequality, environmental rapine, corporate greed, and political corruption. Laurel moves from girlish singing on the Twenties-style songs to this doomy incantation, the arrangement taking full advantage of the jaw-dropping talent of avant-guitarist Nels Cline (best known as Wilco’s secret weapon). With cuts such as “Doctor Sun and Nurse Water” (a gospel-drenched number with oddly matched lyrics), and the Fever tribute of the title track, Living will strike some as too California in its outlook. But lovely touches abound, such as the stately, quietly anthemic “Love, Understanding and Peace,” and Doug Webb’s beautiful alto work on “Zero Gravity.”


FEMINIST REVIEW, Friday, June 1, 2007
Alicia Bay Laurel – What Living’s All About

All would-be writers who have studied how to write know the rule: “show me don’t tell me.” Visual artists find this advice easy to do and musicians are, perhaps, the same way. When the creative instrument does not rely solely on words, showing is not too difficult.

Alicia Bay Laurel wrote Living on the Earth, a cult classic and the first paperback on the New York Times Bestseller List (spring 1971), which has sold over 350,000 copies. She has also written five other books. Laurel is a talented, trained musician. She grew up playing classical piano, switched to guitar in her teens and learned open tunings from legendary guitarist John Fahey, a family member. On this latest album, What Living’s All About, she works with some of the best musicians in the field, including avant garde guitar hero Nels Cline.

Alicia Bay Laurel tries to show and tell by weaving feelings, melody and an occasional diatribe word. She celebrates the Earth (nature) and embraces her sensuality. She also loudly laments the destruction of the environment, as in her song “America the Blues,” where the listing of our environmental sins drags a bit. At the same time, the song is strangely effective. The entwining hypnotic music ended with a smashing guitar rift, followed by a spine tingling sound of whale songs and a Native American Chant. This is an excellent protest song. Alicia Bay Laurel and Al Gore should be friends.

“Zero Gravity” is a haunting song about a city at night, reminiscent of Ground Zero in New York City where the Twin Towers used to be. Laurel talks about sex in this CD and does it with class, sometimes with gentle humor, like “Floozy Tune.” However, you won’t know what she’s talking about unless you listen closely. This blend of jazz, blues and gospel is a powerful feminist statement. It’s fantastic!

Review by Patricia Ethelwyn Lang


“Floozy Tune” Wins Song Contest

7/9/2007 4:38:10 PM
“Floozy Tune”
Status: Selected
Congratulations, you have been selected as a Top 20 Finalist in the Jazz Category of the 11th Annual Unisong International Song contest. Results are at http://www.unisong.com/Winners11.aspx.

This year featured the highest overall quality of songs, lyrics, and writers ever submitted by far, with the most diverse and varied entries from a multitude of countries representing every continent on Earth except Antarctica (and songwriting penguins out there).

The judging therefore was extremely competitive and to be singled out anywhere in the top 15% of all songs submitted was no easy feat.

 

Review of What Living’s All About by psychedelic folk radio DJ, Gerald Van Waes. His show, Psyche Van Het Folk, is on Radio Centraal, Antwerp, Belgium.

Like one of my favourite heartfelt singer-songwriter singers (Heather McLeod with ‘Funny Thing’, 1997), also Alicia went to more towards (slightly standard) jazz territories, but as a former hippie, it is clear this is not done as a compromise to please/tease a public. Her interpretations (-most songs are self penned-) are with great feelings, and a certain light happiness beyond each other idea or emotion. She describes the style mix well on the cover as “jazz, blues and other moist situations”. With additionally a a bit of New Orleans influence on “Floozy Tune”, and a bit of gospel on “Doctor Sun and Nurse Water” (about what the environment of Hawaii did to her), she wrote inspired something between jazz and jazz-blues and something else soulful. I like the idea on “America the blues” saying “America, don’t wave that flag to con us with your jive…”..”we’re all family on this planet”.. (Just imagine how America is built upon so many nationalities and bought talents from everywhere, unfortunately mostly still chosen from what are seen as the trustworthy countries and areas (so practically still excluding preferably the French, Spanish, and several Arab-speaking countries and native Indians for economic concurrence, racist, nowadays partly religious, and a few other reasons)… Potentially, I realize America still has all opportunities and a certain openness to experiment for those who succeed to start to participate in the system. This track, like a few tunes elsewhere has some, for me, rather amusing freaky electric avant-garde guitar by Nels Cline (Wilco,..). Alicia, for having experienced a certain earthbound process, matured, she still has the happiest aspects of the hippie; this sum must having benefited the soul and music of the singer, who on her recent photograph on the back cover still looks 25 or so, so I guess the message of this lies somewhere as a benefit hidden in the music. Rather brilliant as an interpretation I think is “Nature Boy” (originally by Nat King Cole, but also covered by Grace Slick), in an emotionally calm contrapoint-driven moody jazz style, with the help of John B. Williams on upright bass and Enzo Tedesco on other instruments. A really fine and enjoyable album.


Review by legendary guitarist Nels Cline on his website:

Alicia is a self-proclaimed “hippie chick” who I met through (drummer) Joe Gallivan. She had a hit book back in the 60s called [stay tuned for title – forgot it], which she says “was in practically every hippie commune outhouse in the west” (no doubt right next to “Be Here Now”!). This is, I believe, self-released, and is quite an odd but strangely entertaining, original, and disarming recording. It has some amazing L.A.-based session/jazz players like (saxophonist) Doug Webb, who reaches beyond his Coltrane-esque tenor to turn in some beautiful post-Desmond alto, brilliant drummer Kendall Kay, and bassist John B. Williams, whom many may remember as the Fender player on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson for many years. There is a choir on here! The songs are sort of 1920s-30s era swing, acoustic swing blues, and… Well anyway, when someone like Alicia asks me to do tons of Hendrix-inspired shrieking and psych looping (“America The Blues”) or fuzzed out adversarial commentary (“It’s Not Fair”), I figure that when the disc comes out that the stuff will, as it usually is, be buried or cut out altogether. I was amazed when I heard this that Alicia REALLY WANTED these sounds and that THEY ARE REALLY LOUD! I don’t know what people who know my music will think of this, but there is something so wry and self-deprecatingly amusing about Alicia’s hippie anthems, protest songs, and tales of failed romance that I find myself grinning. Hmmmm…Oh yes, I also play slide, lap steel, and acoustic guitar on this. I’m on 4 or 5 tracks.

 

Review by Platinum-selling singer/songwriter Joe Dolce

I think this is a very creative record with a lot of wonderful ideas and performances and some pretty extraordinary playing, and endearing vocals all over the place. I like it a lot!! I liked all the songs much better on the second listen. A keeper. Good work.

The album is eclectic, diverse musical styles. Therefore, I can relate to it! What holds it altogether is Alicia’s musical ‘personae’ – the complex character she is creating, through her voice and ideas. As you get to know this character more and more, as the songs and ideas progress, you trust her more and it allows you to enter more easily into whatever type of musical style is coming next. (Also this trust is a reason to want to go back and listen again.) Also the IDEAS are clear. The lead vocals are strong with a lot of presence. The musicians are all brilliant and the soloing is tasteful and creative – no cliches or stumbling around musically anywhere to be found.

Re: “Nature Boy.” I believe that if you can take the listener to a unique Hilltop, and give them a view that they will never forget, even ONCE in a recording or performance, that is enough. One brilliant moment builds a bridge of trust between you and them that will allow them to be more open to whatever you do from then on, even if they don’t relate or understand it. (You may never be able to take them to that High Point again but it doesn’t matter – it’s like great sex or great playing- you may not be able to LIVE with that person, but you will NEVER forget that encounter.) This track took me to that Hill. I feel different now about the whole recording.

Re: “I Could Write a Book.” This track is the track where I first gasped: genius! What an amazing idea. A track like this makes me have to listen to the whole CD over again to see if I missed anything the first time around on those opening tracks. A totally inspired idea that works. No one else has ever done something like this with a standard. Perfect. I played this one for Lin. She liked it a lot, too. (She didn’t think her publisher would like it though! ha ha!)
Joe Dolce
Melbourne, Australia

 

Alicia Bay Laurel 2018 Japan Tour

This year I am having a multi-decade solo art exhibition from September 1 through 20 at fashion designer Aya Noguchi’s Sison Gallery in Daikanyama, Shibuya, Tokyo.  The opening event will be recorded as part of a documentary about my work by Setsuko Miura’s environmentalist television show, Kotonaha No Midori.

Sison Gallery show brochure-color-web size

My concerts are also CD release parties for my newest recording, “Alicia Bay Laurel: Live in Japan,” which you can buy here.

ABL LIVE IN JAPAN 3000X3000 for CD Baby


Here is the tour schedule in Japanese and then in English:

2018年8月11日(土)ニュー・ムーン・コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:白浜豆腐工房。18:00スタート。1,500円。住所:千葉県南房総市白浜町滝口1477

https://www.facebook.com/events/242954323164704/

2018年8月18日(土)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティー。場所:安房里山房るんた。18:00スタート。1,500円。住所:千葉県安房郡鋸南町217

https://www.facebook.com/events/257584581504181/

http://lungta.petit.cc

https://muraken5.com/piece/kyonan#top

2018年9月1日(土)アリシア・ベイ・ローレル個展“ダンシング・ウィズ・ネイチャー”オープニング・パーティー&コンサート。場所:代官山SISON GALLERY。15:00~20:00。ミニライブ&小倉美保さんのフラダンス19:00~。住所:〒150-0033東京都渋谷区猿楽町3-18 電話:03-6886-8048

2018年9月2日(日)~9月20日(木)個展“ダンシング・ウィズ・ネイチャー”。場所:SISON GALLERY。12:00~19:00。※月曜休館。

http://sison.tokyo/info/2175262
https://www.facebook.com/events/274301256687815/

2018年9月6日(木)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:横浜ライブバー&レストラン サムズアップ。オープン18:30、スタート19:30。共演:井上オハナ、小倉美保(フラダンス)通訳:キンバリー・ヒューズ。お問合せ:045-314-8705。前売り:2,800円、当日:3,300円。住所:〒220-0005神奈川県横浜市西区南幸2-1-22相鉄Movil 3F

http://www.stovesyokohama.com/

2018年9月7日(金)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:ピープルツリー自由が丘店(フェアトレード・ファッションブランドの東京フラッグシップ店)。オープン18:00、スタート18:30。共演:Rie Nobuso(創作舞)。住所:〒152-0035東京都目黒区自由が丘3-7-2

http://www.peopletree.co.jp/shop_jiyugaoka/index.html#shop_map

https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/shopping/people-tree-jiyugaoka

2018年9月9日(日)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:横浜cafe ゆっくり堂。オープン17:45、平和の祈り18:25、スタート18:30。共演:馬場尚子(司会)、Rie Nobuso(創作舞)。1,500円+1オーダー。住所:〒244-0002神奈川県横浜市戸塚区矢部町125。JR戸塚駅東口より徒歩7分。電話:090-1795-0341。

https://www.yukkurido.com/access

ご予約:info@sloth.gr.jp.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1115536298622481/

2018年9月15日(土)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:神戸Modern Ark Pharm Cafe。19:30~21:30。住所:〒650-0012兵庫県神戸市中央区北長狭通3-11-15。お問合せ:078-391-3060。

https://www.facebook.com/ModernarkPharmCafe/

2018年9月16日(日)大阪アート&エコロジー・センター“THE BRANCH”を応援する小さなコンサート。場所:大阪THE BRANCH。オープン15:30、スタート16:00。住所:〒559-0011大阪府大阪市住之江区北加賀屋2-8-20

http://branch.sociecity.org
https://www.facebook.com/events/284386238985308/

2018年9月17日(月・祝)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:大阪茶屋町URBAN RESEARCH DOORS(エコ・ファッション・ストア&カフェ)。カフェでのライブ:19:30~20:15。住所:〒530-0013大阪府大阪市北区茶屋町15-31。電話:06-6485-0178(コーディネーター:Ryoko)

http://www.urdoors.com/

2018年9月22日(土)コンサート&新作CDリリース・イベント。場所:西光禅寺(広島西部の山間、三次市街地の近く)オーガナイザー:西光禅寺住職、檀上宗謙。14:00スタート。ベジタリアン・カレー・ディナー付き。住所:〒729-4207広島県三次市吉舎町敷地610西光寺。お問合せ:080-5338-6274。

https://www.facebook.com/SAIKOUJI

2018年9月23日(日)秋分の日パーティー&コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ&カントリー・マーケット。場所:イタリア会館・福岡。16:00スタート。住所:〒810-0021福岡市中央区今泉1-18-25季離宮-tokirikyu-中離宮2階。電話:092-761-8570。お問合せ:ayamomo821@gmail.com(Ayako)

2018年9月28日(金)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:照明寺。18:00スタート。出店 ワークショップあり。住所:〒899-6404鹿児島県霧島市溝辺町麓溝辺町2563。

2018年9月29日(土)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:宮崎県(時間と場所の詳細は追ってお知らせします。)

2018年9月30日(日)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:喫茶 風の丘。

13:00スタート。住所:〒899-2431 鹿児島県日置市東市来町美山 東市来町美山2591

Here is the English language version of tour schedule:

08/11/2018 New Moon concert and CD release party and vegetarian dinner. 18:00 start. SHIRAHAMA TOFU FACTORY. 1500 yen. Address: 1477 Shirahacho Takiguchi, Minami Boso-shi, Chiba
https://www.facebook.com/events/242954323164704/

08/18/2018 Concert and CD release party and macrobiotic dinner at Lungta Yokone. 18:00 start. 1500 yen. Address: 217 Kyonan-machi, Awa-gun, Chiba-ken
https://www.facebook.com/events/257584581504181/

http://lungta.petit.cc

https://muraken5.com/piece/kyonan#top

09/01/2018 Art Gallery Opening Party for Alicia Bay Laurel’s solo exhibition, “Dancing with Nature,” and her concert, at Sison Gallery, Daikanyama, Shibuya, Tokyo. 15:00 to 20:00.  Live at 19:00, with hula by Miho Ogura.  Address: 150-0033, 3-18 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-6886-8048

09/02 to 20/2018 Sison Gallery “Dancing with Nature” exhibition open from 12:00 to 19:00, daily except Mondays. http://sison.tokyo/info/2175262
https://www.facebook.com/events/274301256687815/

09/06/2018 Concert and CD release party at Thumbs Up Live House, Yokohama.  Open 18:30, start 19:30. With the Inoue Ohana Band, hula by Miho Ogura, and translation by Kimberly Hughes. For more information, call 045-314-8705. Advance 2800 yen, Door 3300 yen. 3F Movil, 2-1-22, Minamisaiwai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 220-0005. http://www.stovesyokohama.com/

09/07/2018 Concert and CD release party at People Tree Jiyugaoka [fair trade fashion shop] (flagship store in Tokyo) 3-7-2 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo.  18:00 open, 18:30 start. With interpretive dance by Rie Nobuso.
http://www.peopletree.co.jp/shop_jiyugaoka/index.html#shop_map

https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/shopping/people-tree-jiyugaoka

09/09/2018 Concert and CD release party at Cafe Yukkurido, 125, Yabe-cho, Totsuka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 244-0002. Open 17:45, peace prayer 18:25, start 18:30. Hosted by Naoko Baba. With interpretive dance by Rie Nobuso.

Access from JR Totsuka station, east exit, 7minute walk. https://www.yukkurido.com/access Charge: 1500 yen +1 order. Booking information: info@sloth.gr.jp. Café Tel: 090ー1795ー0341
https://www.facebook.com/events/1115536298622481/

09/15/2018 Concert and CD release party at Modern Ark Pharm Café in Kobe. 19:30 to 21:30
中央区北長狭通3-11-15 Kobe-shi, Hyogo, Japan 650-0012.
For more information, please call 078-391-3060.
https://www.facebook.com/ModernarkPharmCafe/

09/16/2018 Intimate Concert to benefit The Branch Arts and Ecology Center in Osaka. Open 15:30. Start 16:00. 2-8-20 Kitakagaya, Osaka 559-0011 http://branch.sociecity.org

https://www.facebook.com/events/284386238985308/

09/17/2018 Concert and CD release party at Urban Research Doors Chaya-machi (Eco fashion store and café.)  Live in the café 19:30 to 20:15. 15-31, Chaya-machi, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0013. Tel: 06-6485-0178 (Ryoko is the coordinator)

09/22/2018 Concert and CD release event Saikouji Zen Buddhist Temple, in the mountains west of Hiroshima, near the town of Miyoshi.  Event organized by Souken Danjo, the head monk. Start time 14:00.  Includes a vegetarian curry dinner. 729-4207 Hiroshima-ken, Miyoshi-shi, Kisa-cho, 610 Saikouji. For more information, please call: 080 5338 6274. https://www.facebook.com/SAIKOUJI

09/23/2018 Autumn Equinox Party, Concert, CD release party, and country market, at Italia Kaikan Fukuoka / Centro Italiano di Fukuoka. Address: Tokirikyu – Nakarikyu 2F, 1-18-25 Imaizumi, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka, 810-0021, tel: 092 761 8570.  Start time: 16:00. Please contact Ayako at ayamomo821@gmail.com for more information.

09/28/2018 Concert and CD release party at Shoumyouji Buddhist temple. Start time: 18:00. Address: 〒899-6404 鹿児島県霧島市溝辺町麓 溝辺町2563 Kagoshima-ken Kirishima-shi Mizobechofumoto Mizobecho 2563
出演者 アリシア ベイローレル 他 出店 ワークショップあり

09/29/2018 Concert and CD release party with shrine-building workshop in Nichinan, Kagoshima.

09/30/2018 Concert and CD release party at Kaze No Oka, outdoor restaurant and music venue. 〒899-2431 鹿児島県日置市東市来町美山 東市来町美山2591 風の丘 Kagoshima-ken Hioki-shi Higashiichiki-cho Miyama 2591 Kazenooka 出演者 アリシア ベイローレル Start time is 13:00.

 


Kota drums and Alicia sings at Kaze No Oka in Miyama, Kagoshima. A typhoon had passed through the area during the early morning of the same day, but the café was full of happy people that evening.

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
_____________________________________________

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
_________________________________________________

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
___________________________________________________

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
____________________________________________________

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
_______________________________________________________

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
__________________________________________________________

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

Academic essay by UC Berkeley professor of architecture, Greg Castillo, about hippies at work, building a new world



After Greg posted a link to his essay and I read it, I thanked him for the attention he gave to Living on the Earth in this paper.

He replied, “Although the Whole Earth Catalog gets all the scholarly attention, Living on the Earth conveys much more about counterculture feeling. One is all head-tripping, the other goes straight to heart and soul.

I said, “ Thank you, Greg. To me, the illustrations convey that blissful feeling of connection – as tribal family and as one with nature and spirit – that most of us did not experience growing up, but acquired in the first 30 seconds of psychedelic voyaging.

Greg Castillo was the curator of the 2017 exhibition Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia, which included some slightly used copies of Living on the Earth that people could read while lounging in the Relaxation Cube.

Here is the link to buy (for $3) a pdf download of the entire publication, titled “Work,” which is edition #6 of the UC Berkeley Department of Architecture’s publication, Room 1000.  Greg’s piece about hippie handbuilt structures begins on page 49 (below).



An Inscription from James Leo Herlihy

James Leo Herlihy's inscription to my copy of Midnight Cowboy

I first met James Leo Herlihy in June, 1971, when we both guests on The David Frost Show.

He was promoting his novel, The Season of the Witch, and I was on the publicity tour arranged by Random House for the Vintage Books edition of Living on the Earth (the second edition – the first was published the previous year by The BookWorks, in Berkeley.)

A mutual friend reconnected us in 1977, and, after that, I was a frequent guest in his home in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles.  It was during those happy times that he gifted me with his book, The Midnight Cowboy, with this sweet inscription.  I gifted him with a drawing of his face as a huge photo on the wall of a living room, with Marlene Dietrich admiring it from the sofa.  He had a movie screen-sized photo of her face on one wall of his living room.  “That’s the size I’m accustomed to seeing her,” he told me.

Jamie had been Anais Nin‘s confidante, and told me this story:  In her forties, Anais told him that she wanted to die at fifty, so she would be “always the ingenue, never the dowager.”  When he reminded her of this as she lay dying at seventy-two, she replied, “How could I have known that my best years would come after?”

In 1980, Jamie’s long time partner, Bill Lord, was one of the first gay men to perish from AIDS.  After that, Jamie’s life centered on hospicing and eulogizing many of his beloved friends.  In 1991, when it became clear that he, too, was succumbing to the virus, he took his own life. I was devastated.  Only one year later, a three-drug therapy came into use that could have saved him.

My Eggshell Paintings

flat of painted blown eggs

My mother, Verna Lebow Norman, a sculptor and painter, taught me and my siblings to blow eggshells and paint them when we were in elementary school.

My method: I use a thick hand sewing needle to pierce one end of the shell and to chip off tiny pieces until there is a hole about 1/4 across. Using the same method, I make a bigger hole at the other end. Then I use the needle to break up the yolk. I blow through the small hole, so the raw egg goes into a bowl through the bigger hole. (If it’s very hard to blow out the egg, make bigger holes, and scramble the egg more thoroughly.) Then I let the egg shell dry for a day or two, so the remaining raw egg white seals and hardens the inside of the shell. I don’t cook with the raw eggs that are blown out of the shells, because they have shell fragments in them. Once the shells are completely dry inside and out, I like to seal up the holes by gluing circles of colored tissue paper over them.  By gluing on a loop of ribbon or cord at the narrower top of the shell, the decorated eggs can be displayed by hanging them from a horizontally suspended, slender tree branch.  This allows each eggshell to be viewed on all of its curving surfaces.

Most of these painted eggshells are from a decade of my life inwhich each spring I would prepare blown eggs for myself and some children I knew, and we would paint them together, using enamel paints and nail polish, and sometimes glue things onto them. Mine were mostly “wish eggs” – visualizations of experiences I wanted to materialize.

I will also share here a couple of eggshells that I prepared and decorated around the age of 10.

I painted this eggshell (with nail polish) shortly before I turned 40. It says: “I am a precious being at every stage of my life.”  Yes, we all are.

I am a Precious Being egg

Here are three views of an egg I painted a few years later, in celebration of vegetable gardening.  I painted asparagus, rutabaga, radishes, crookneck squash, scallions and tat soi.

Here’s an eggshell with the opening line of Paul Desmond’s jazz classic, “Take Five,” a song I learned to sing and to play on guitar.

This egg is a wish from my 25 years based on Maui, to make friends with a whale in the ocean.

This one depicts a lop-eared rabbit of my acquaintance, contemplating a carrot patch after a long night of hiding Easter eggs.

Here’s the “vegetable that will bleed for you,” as Tom Robbins described beets in his timeless novel “Jitterbug Perfume.” I call this “Heart Beets.”

Heart Beets Egg

This one reminds me of the last line of Amanda McBroom’s song, “The Rose.”
“Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that, with the sun’s love, in the spring, becomes the rose.”

Far beneath the bitter snows Egg

A (purple!) guitar and a colorful stream of musical notes: a wish egg for joyful song.

Here is a wish egg for romance!  It came true, too.

Here are a couple of the eggs I decorated when I was about ten years old:
“The Girl in the Pink Turban,” and “The Lady in the Lace Mantilla.”

Sophia Rose’s video collage of Alicia’s books and art, with Alicia’s song 1966

Sophia Rose, very creative herbalist, writer, photographer, designer, life artist, and my good friend, assembled this video collage of art from my books and photographs of me and my communal friends in the early 1970s in Northern California, to a fragment of my autobiographical jazz waltz, “1966.”  You can savor Sophia Rose’s divine herbal and artistic offerings at La Abeja Herbs.

Gluten-free Maple Nut Muffins (Re-purposing Leftover Gluten-free Baked Goods)

Preheat the over to 380 F.

Line muffin pan with unbleached paper muffin cups (or make muffin cups from squares of unbleached oven parchment paper)

Break leftover gluten-free baked goods into pieces, tossing them into the bowl of a food processor. I used cinnamon-raisin bread to make these muffins tonight, but any sweet (as opposed to savory) flavored bread, roll, cake, cookie or pastry (or a combination) would work as well. Use the food processor to reduce the baked goods to crumbs.

For every cup of crumbs, add:

A beaten organic pasture-raised egg (this gives batter the same expanding flexible structure while baking that gluten does)

1 or more tablespoons of maple syrup (less sweetener needed if the crumbs contains cookies or pastries)

¼ cup of raw organically grown walnuts or pecans, pulverized in the food processor
1 tablespoon of organic virgin coconut oil

Optional: ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon (if you are using cinnamon raisin bread crumbs, you don’t need it)

¼ cup pure water (the amount depends on the inherent moisture of the ingredients. Just add a teaspoon at a time while blending, until the batter is thicker than pancake batter, but more liquid than cookie dough)

Once you have a thick batter, stop the food processor, and stir some organically grown raisins and dried cranberries into the batter.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups, filling them about 9/10 full. They will rise, but not a lot.

Bake about 20 minutes (the sides and tops should brown a little bit).

Leave the muffins in the muffin tin until cool enough to handle, then move them to a rack to cool completely – or, serve them warm.