Alicia’s first vinyl LP – Music From Living on the Earth – released in May 2015

05-05-15-AZ-home-back cover of my first vinyl LP

“Music From Living on the Earth,” my first ever vinyl LP arrived today – 5 copies. EM Records, in Osaka, made the LP from my first CD, the one I released in 2000 for my self-made eight-month national tour promoting the 30th anniverary Villard/Random House edition of Living on the Earth. On the back cover is a photo that was taken in 1971 during a New York City book tour for the Vintage/Random House second edition of Living on the Earth. EM Records licensed it from the Associated Press.

05-05-15-AZ-home-cover of my first vinyl LP

I somehow never imagined my music would be recorded on vinyl. During the years that 33 1/3 albums were the standard presentation of singer/songwriters, I was writing lots of songs, but I was not at a professional level as a musician. By the time I felt ready to record, at age 50, the technology had blessedly changed. I could produce my own CDs, instead of hoping to be discovered by a record company. So, I did. I’ve made eight of them, so far. www.cdbaby.com/artist/AliciaBayLaurel

05-05-15-AZ-home-side A of my first vinyl LP

However, I actually WAS discovered by a record company. Koki Emura, the owner/producer of EM Records, saw my first two CDs when I posted them at the CD Baby online indie record store, where he was browsing for new releases. He knew my book, and he knew it was popular in Japan. He bought copies of the two CDs, listened and liked them, and offered license them both for distribution in Japan with Japanese language covers and liner notes. They were released in Japan in 2005, and the following year I began doing concerts in Japan, and sold plenty of them for him.

05-05-15-AZ-home-postcard ad for my first vinyl LP

In 2014, Koki Emura proposed that “Music From Living on the Earth” be released as a vinyl LP. Of course, I agreed. So here it is. A thousand thanks to you, Emura-san!

Review of the LP, Music from Living on the Earth, on soundohm.com:

“Alicia Bay Laurel is well known as the writer and illustrator of one of the classic books of the back-to-the-earth movement, the 1970 hand-written guide to living the good life, Living On the Earth. She is also an accomplished singer, songwriter, and guitarist, the latter skill honed by studying with John Fahey. The songs on Music from Living On the Earth were composed concurrently with the writing of the book, permeated by the sun and soil of the commune life. Bright and earthy paeans to the natural world, featuring ABL’s pure, strong, and uplifting voice atop her fluid, confident, and deft steel-string acoustic guitar fingerpicking, her style showing that she learned well from Fahey. She also collaborated with San Francisco Tape Music Center co-founder Ramon Sender Barayón, who contributes the 40-voice choral arrangement for the closing track. Although these songs were written as the ’60s became the ’70s, Music from Living On the Earth was actually recorded in 2000, first issued as a self-produced CD, and reissued on CD by EM Records in 2006 (EM 1047CD). This 2015 15th anniversary edition is its first appearance on vinyl, and includes liner notes by the artist as well as English and Japanese lyrics, allowing listeners to again hear ABL’s blues, jazz, and Indian music influences meld with folk roots to glorious effect.”

 

buy Music from Living on the Earth

Borcht Salad for a Hanukkah Latke Party

12-21-14-CA-LA-Lyndia's latkethon-borcht salad

Tomorrow I am going to the Hanukkah latkethon of Lyndia Lowy, my friend-since-we-were-12, who has been frying potato pancakes (and carrot, cauliflower, sweet potato, and zucchini pancakes) for weeks (and freezing them). Usually fifty or more of her best friends show up. Our tradition is that I bring a massive tossed salad of my own recipe, which, because of its similarity of ingredients to borcht soup, I call Borcht Salad.

My feeling is: If everything else on the menu is oily, hot, starchy and golden in color, then the complementary dish should be cool, crunchy, spicy, sweet, sour and deep maroon and purple. And made from organically grown produce. I use a Champion Juicer without the lower screen or plate, so the veggies are quickly shredded by the rotating blades. A food processor with shredding set-up works well, too. The Champion Juicer just makes it, well, juicier. However, it does NOT mince the red onion much at all; that job is best done with a good sharp food prep knife.

Unless I have a huge serving bowl, I like to prepare the vegetables ahead in four equal bagsful, so that the next salad can be quickly put together when the serving dish is empty, or served in four bowls along a banquet table.

Machine grate and divide into four parts in four zipper bags:
3 large beets, peeled and cut into long pieces that will fit into the round hopper of the Champion Juicer.
5 pounds of carrots, scrubbed and tops and tips cut off
3 pounds of daikon radish (optional), scrubbed and tops and tips cut off
1 whole, small red cabbage, with the stem removed, cut into long pieces that will fit into the round hopper of the Champion Juicer.
1 whole, small red onion, peel and top removed, cut in quarters

In 4 separate bags, place:

4 whole red leaf lettuces: each leaf washed and dried in salad spinner, then torn into pieces by hand.

To assemble: pour the contents of one bag of shredded vegetables and one bag of torn lettuce into a large serving bowl and toss with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and black pepper.

How to Make a Lace Snowflake

12-07-11-AZ-home-decorated tree-details

HereÂ’s how an antimacassar (a lace doily, often affixed to the arms and backs of overstuffed chairs, in bygone eras) can be made into a lace ornament for a Christmas tree. At a crafts store, buy a bottle of stiffening agent. Lay some waxed paper on a table, put the antimacassar on top, and paint the stiffening agent on both sides of it. Let it dry on the waxed paper (and wash the stiffening agent out of your brush!) When itÂ’s dry, it will hang perfectly flat. A small paperclip, unbended into an S shape, makes a good hanger for it.

My friend Randy Carnefix explained how these doilies got their peculiar name. A century ago, many men used an oily hair dressing made in Makassar, Indonesia, from coconut or palm fruit oil, perfumed with essential oil of frangipani (plumeria) blossoms. In an effort to protect their appolstered chairs from the greasy heads and fingers of men thus groomed, housekeepers began placing lace or embroidered pieces of cloth on the backs and arms of their chairs. When styles changed, the antimacassars began to show up in thrift shops.  That’s where I found the ones hanging on my tree.

Winter Roasted Vegetables

IMG_1630
                  Vegetables ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 400 F. I used organic beets, carrots, parsnips, red potatoes, and Brussels sprouts, cleaned and cut in larger-than-bite-sized pieces, arranged on parchment paper that was lightly painted with organic virgin coconut oil (after being placed on a cookie sheet.) Next I brushed the vegetables with more coconut oil, and then placed branches of fresh rosemary around them. In my oven, the baking time was 25 minutes, but yours may cook faster. I tested the vegetables from time to time with a long cooking fork. When tender, they are done! Served them hot, drizzled with organic extra virgin olive oil and a tiny bit of sea salt.

IMG_1632
                                 Vegetables after baking.

 

Cranberry Relish a la Persephone

11-24-11-AZ-home-cranberry pomegranite relish

Thanksgiving recipe:
I invented a new twist on cranberry relish. I mix 8 ounces of thawed whole (organically grown) cranberries and all of the seeds of a fresh (organically grown) pomegranate in a bowl, and pour over them a steaming cup of unsweetened (organicallly grown) cranberry (or pomegranate) juice (sweetened with a couple dropper fulls of stevia glycerite) inwhich a heaping tablespoon of agar flakes have been dissolved (simmer 3 to 5 minutes over a medium flame). One hour in the fridge and it becomes cranberries and pomegranate in aspic.

What Did the Hippies Want?

ABL and Karin Lease in BOTS illustration

I wrote this essay at the request of curator Neil Kramer, with whom I co-founded the (now defunct) online Hippie Museum. I still find it posted on various sites around the Internet – evidently it struck a chord with other people who lived in those times.

What Did The Hippies Want?

by Alicia Bay Laurel
November 19, 2001

We wanted intimacy– not a neighborhood where you didn’t know anyone on the block, or you competed, kept up with the Joneses.

A hunter-gatherer or early agricultural community meant that people lived, worked and sought deeper contact with the holy spirit as a group, and they all knew one another, from cradle to grave.

I used to call my hippie friendships “a horizontal extended family,” as opposed to the ancient tribal extended family, which was multi-generational, and therefore, vertical.

We wanted a culture which acknowledged the human body, not just for sex, but to hug each other, to be naked without shame, to revere the body with natural foods, beneficial exercise, herbs, baths, massage, deep understanding. This was not part of the culture from which we came. We wanted a culture that thrived on gift-giving. We hitchhiked, shared our food and drugs, gave away our possessions. People who could afford to buy land invited others who could not to live there.

We opened free stores, free clinics, free kitchens, not just in the Haight, but everywhere we went. We wanted be living proof that God(dess) was taking care of us and therefore there was no need to hoard.

We wanted to live without the constraints of time. We wanted to wake up each day and decide what would be the most fun to do that day-–or just find out as it went along. We wanted to go with the flow, follow our bliss, be here now.
This was in complete opposition to the culture from which we came.

We wanted new ways to value one another, rather than by wealth, status, looks, achievements, machismo, as our culture of origin had taught us, and continues to teach us through the media. We wanted to value one another for being lovable and real.

We valued spiritual depth, which we referred to as “heavy.” We admired one another for being happy. We admired those who offered selfless service or peaceful resolution of conflict. We wanted a spirituality that actually caused you to grow as a person, not one in which people attended religious gatherings for social status. We wanted to be guided by our own Inner Spirits, rather than by priests.

We thirsted for the spiritual awareness and grace we experienced on psychedelics, without psychedelics, or in addition to them. Many hippies would spend their last cent on a weekend workshop that promised to “change your life forever.” That was how so many gurus found followers in those days.

We wanted to live in harmony with the earth, the plants and animals, the indigenous peoples of the earth, with each other, with ourselves. We were the fuel behind the rapid expansion of the environmental movement. We experimented with living arrangements that we thought would harmonize with nature. We sought out indigenous tribal elders as our teachers.

We wanted to make the things we wore and used with our hands, grow our food and medicine, feel all kinds of weather – all the experiences our modern urban lives had excluded in the name of convenience and comfort. We wanted to live on the road, have adventures, build things that hadn’t been built before, and live in them.

We wanted to live our mythic selves, give ourselves names that resonated with our souls, dress in costumes that expressed our dreams, do daring deeds, dance as if no one was looking, decorate our homes with magical things, listen to music that took us out of ordinary reality into altered states of awareness.

We wanted to see life without violence. We wanted media that contained truth. Some of us risked our lives to find out what the government was doing and let the underground press know. We wanted to talk about things in print that we were not allowed to discuss in our culture of origin.

We wanted to live without stupid, arbitrary rules, either for ourselves or for our children. Some of our children, as adults today, say they wish we had been more protective of them, or offered more structure. We only knew what we endured, being as culturally different from our culture of origin as Chinese are from Italians, and punished for it, and wished to spare our children these experiences. However, some portion of kids raised by hippie parents grew up to be hippies themselves. At that point, one can say, a new culture was born and continues.

Learn to Sing "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream" in English and in Japanese

“Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” is a great peace song written by the late folksinger and peace activist Ed McCurdy in response to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and copyrighted in 1950. I first heard it as a child on Pacifica Radio, the peace radio network created by the US peace movement during WWII, and which is still broadcasting.

I sang it at Nagaregawa Church, at ground zero in Hiroshima, two days after the 70th memorial of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, on August 8, 2015. I would like as many people as possible, all over the world to sing it, in many languages.  At Hiroshima I sang it in English and Japanese, so I am offering the words here in both languages.

Here are the lyrics in English:

Last night I had the strangest dream
I never dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.

I dreamed I saw a mighty room
The room was full of men
And the paper they were signing said
They’d never fight again.

And when the paper all was signed
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
And grateful prayers were prayed.

And the people in the streets below
Were dancing ‘round and ‘round
And swords and guns and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground.

Here is a translation of the lyrics into Japanese created by the wonderful singer/songwriter Maiko Kodama in 2013.

Last Night I had the Strangest Dream in Japanse

 

Here is a guitar chart in the key of G, the key in which I sing this song.

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream-chart

 

If you are an English-speaking person, and want to learn Maiko’s Japanese lyrics phonetically, here is how they go:

Kee noh yoh roo kee myo oh nah

Last night I had the strangest dream

Yoo mei woo oh mee tah

I ev – er dreamed be fore

Sei kah ee gah seh nn soh oh

I dreamed the world had all agreed

Woh yah mei roo oo yoo mei

To put an end to war


Oh oh kee nah hei yah dei

I dreamed I saw a mighty room

Oo oh zei gah

The room was filled with men

Nee doh toh tah tah kah wah nai

And the paper they were signing said

Toh sah ee nee ee shee tah

They’d never fight again


Nah n woh koo noh sah ee n

And when the papers all were signed

Gah koh pee ee ee sah rei

And a million copies made

Tei woh tzu nei gee ah tah mah woh sah gei

They all joined hands and bowed their heads

Ee noh ree sah sah gei tah

And grateful prayers were prayed


Too oh ree noh hee toh bee toh

And the people in the streets below

Wah oh doh ree dah shee

Were dancing round and round

Jyoo toh ken toh goon poo koo

And guns and swords and uniforms

Wah soo tei rah rei tah

Were scattered on the ground


Kee noh yoh roo kee myo oh nah

Last night I had the strangest dream

Yoo mei woo oh mee tah

I ev – er dreamed be fore

Sei kah ee gah seh nn soh oh

I dreamed the world had all agreed

Woh yah mei roo oo yoo mei

To put an end to war