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 downloads of 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


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