Alicia plays slack key guitar and sings sixteen Hawai'ian songs and medleys, eight of which are original. Two renowned Hawaiian musicians, chanter/percussionist Lei'ohu Ryder and jazz guitarist/vocalist Sam Ahia, join her. The CD opens with the first and only Hawai'ian birthday song (an original), followed by environmental anthems, turn-of-the-century instrumentals, Waikiki lounge tunes from the 1930's, hulas in three part harmony, homages to Hawai'ian grandmother musicians, tropical feel-good swing tunes, and odes to landscapes of overwhelming beauty. The ten-panel full-color booklet, written, illustrated and designed by Alicia, includes the complete lyrics, translations of all the Hawai'ian words, and little stories about each song that include notes on Hawai'ian history, biology, geology, and social customs.
Alicia Bay Laurel first arrived on Maui in 1969, already an accomplished open-tuned guitar player, having learned from pioneering guitar legend John Fahey, a family member, during her 'teens. She immediately fell in love with Hawai'ian style open tuning--slack key. In 1974, she moved to Hana, Maui, where she learned to sing in Hawai'ian from Clara Kalalau Tolentino, the town kumu hula (and matriarch of a musical dynasty that includes recording artist G-girl Keli'iho'omalu), and slack key guitar from Clara's son-in-law, Jerome Smith. Later, she studied slack key with Uncle Sol Kawaihoa, and hapa-ha'ole guitar arrangements from jazz guitar great, Sam Ahia. In January, 2000, after 16 years of performing extensively on Maui, Alicia recorded her first, all-original, solo vocal and guitar CD, Music From Living On The Earth, in the Fahey-influenced tunings of her youth. The following year she recorded a CD of original and historic Hawai'ian songs on slack key guitar with vocals, Living In Hawai'i Style, with guest artists Sam Ahia and Lei'ohu Ryder.
Lei'ohu Ryder: A spiritualist, composer, performer, and educator with roots in Hawai'ian culture, Lei'ohu raises her superb voice in song and Hawai'ian chants, which she can compose on the spot. (There's one on the CD.) Her psychic abilities yielded the discovery of the Kukuipuka heiau (temple ruins), which she and others are restoring. Her CD, Lady of the Mountain, was on the Top Ten on Hawai'ian radio stations. Her web site is at www.leiohuryder.com.
Sam Ahia: Widely respected throughout the state of Hawai'i as a great jazz guitarist/vocalist, Sam has appeared on dozens of recordings, including his own, the all-original Ukumehame, and Hawai'ian Time, a collection of Hawai'ian favorites.
Alicia Bay Laurel: In 1970, at the age of 20, Alicia saw her first book published.
Completely hand-lettered and illustrated with her line drawings on every page, Living On The Earth made the New York Times Bestseller List in 1971, becoming a beloved handbook of sustainable and imaginative living for thousands, and influencing graphic artists to this day.
During the 1970's, Alicia created eight more published books.
In 1974, following a book tour in Japan, Alicia made her third sojourn to the Hawai'ian Islands, decided to stay, and lives here still.
In the year 2000, in celebration of the 30th anniversary edition of Living On The Earth, Alicia recorded Music From Living On The Earth, sixteen songs she composed at the time of her first publication.
After a national tour as a singer/storyteller, she returned to Hawai'i and created this, her second recording, a collections of songs she created or admired during her years in Hawai'i.
The colorful ten panel booklet in the CD case, written, designed and illustrated by Alicia Bay Laurel, features her stories about each of the songs, with complete lyrics, and translations of all the Hawai'ian poetry.
It's almost a course in Hawai'ian history, language, geology and social customs.
Here, also, you'll meet her mentor, Auntie Clara Tolentino, a Hawai'ian hula choreographer of chiefly lineage and matriarch of musical dynasty that includes recording artists G-girl Keli'iho'omalu (her oldest daughter) and (G-girl's daughter) Princess Keli'iho'omalu.
On the first inside page is a letter Alicia received from Alice Namakelua, the most famous woman slack key player and court musician to the last monarch of the sovereign nation of Hawai'i, Queen Liliu'okalani.
Alicia had seen Auntie Alice perform at a slack key guitar festival in 1975, and wrote a song about her.
The letter thanks Alicia for a cassette tape of the song, which had made its way to her bedside only weeks before her death in 1986.
The cover illustration, a birthday party on the beach in Hawai'i, makes the CD an ideal birthday gift.