Being of the Sun
“I still cherish the original editions I have of these magical works… Living on the Earth and Being of the Sun should be required reading for all earthlings. I truly love your spirit and vision. Your work still inspires and brings joy to so many.”
Author, Architecture Critic, Visiting Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design
The Hayashi Sisters did a write-up in Japan Vogue Online, published May 25, 2015, about the Salon de Balcony summer fashion line, which includes clothing and accessories printed with illustrations from Being of the Sun.
“Songs from Being of the Sun is an enchanted Solar Mass of relaxing, charming, seductive sounds. If I could pop into the book version like a superflex Gumby, this musical soundtrack would rejuvenate me.”
Author, Children of the Sun
Being of the Sun is at once a beautiful spiritual work of art and a practical guide to living a good life – a fitting accolade to the true light of all our lives.
Author, Sun of gOd
Being of the Sun - the peacenik holy book.
Living on the Earth
In 2012, Living on the Earth was chosen as one of the 101 most influential American cookbooks of the 20th century.
“It is beautiful to see, hold, touch. The drawings and design radiate warmth, simplicity, sincerity. The whole effect of the book, as an object, is to induce serenity and goodwill…”
Author Raymond Mungo in a review of Living on the Earth
In the New York Times Book Review, March 21 1971
Living on the Earth is a living experience. It compounds all of the Whole Earth Catalog’s hard core information with all the personal warmth and feeling that a girl with a melodically infatuating name like Alicia Bay Laurel could possess.
The Village Voice, April 18, 1971
This may well be
the best book in this catalog.
this is a book for people
if you are a person,
it is for you.
JD Smith’s review of Living on the Earth
Whole Earth Catalog, September 1970
…a joyous testament to the most fundamental pleasures of life…
Digby Diehl’s review of Living on the Earth
Los Angeles Times
April 18, 1971
A beautifully drawn and handwritten book… amazingly thorough, covering everything… recommended.
Betty Kohler’s review of Living on the Earth
June 1, 1971
…it’s an art book, a handbook, an American primitive…
Mary Ellin Barrett’s review of Living on the Earth
Ray Mungo wrote a love letter to Alicia Bay Laurel when Living on the Earth first came out. The radical simplicity and sophistication of her vision, page after page, enchanted us on Total Loss Farm. Luckily, ABL visited and lived with us for a time in the frozen north, the start of lifelong friendships. The children who used the pages as a coloring book have children of their own. LTE had a huge influence of book publishing. They called the oversized paperback “the Alicia Bay Laurel format.” In this pandemic year of loss and climate catastrophe, Alicia’s lyric vision is a consolation for our “over-civilized,” disconnected nation.
Poet, teacher, community leader
I bought my first copy of Living on the Earth way back in the early 70s when I was 17 years old. It’s concepts and values influenced me so strongly and shaped my early adult life. My life ended up going in another direction for a time, but 50 years later, I’ve found my way back. The 50th anniversary edition is as relevant today as it was back then. It feels like reuniting with a past lover.
Bertha Bus Gypsy Wagon Cuisine
Eclectic fine dining in a school bus!
Thank you so much for creating such a wonderful work of art. I’d wanted this book for many years and am so happy it is finally part of my library!
I just wanted to say that your book arrived today! I have only read through the first few pages, but already it is reawakening my desire and excitement to pare everything I own down to what can fit in a van and set off to explore the country! The illustrations are so beautiful, as are the words. Thank you for creating such a lovely and useful resource. Everything is blooming here in central Missouri and I can’t wait to use the earth’s many spring offerings to try out the recipes and guides from your book. It could not have arrived at a more perfect time.
Studied intentional communities at university and planning to visit some!
My most favorite book ever. It’s a road map on how to live naturally and be happy.
This book was a formative book of my youth, published when I was 9. I am so excited to see it is available again! It was a source of enchantment and homesteading fantasies – not just its content, but for the transporting drawings and hand-written text. It is both magical and practical – it’s instructions for simple and sustainable living relevant still. I credit this book with my ongoing interests in earth friendly architecture, healing arts and community systems, and treasure my stained old copy as other books head off to the library sale. This one is staying forever.
There is no way to capture the influence your book Living on the Earth had on my 9-year-old self! My fantasy was to live on an island in the Adirondack lake where we vacationed – naked, with boyfriend and survival skills learned from your book! You captured and created that era beautifully!
Living on the Earth was by far the most formative book in my life. Thank you.
Architectural and Interior Design consultant
There is a better way to live on this sweet planet and we can find it as we dance, sing, make candles, plant gardens. Even if you don’t have a garden you can still learn something in this wonderful book. Over the years I’ve owned 3 copies and given it as a gift more than once.
Best-selling novelist, former commune dweller, and former nurse midwife
The book arrived and it is marvelous! congratulations!
And thank you for reissuing this for another generation.
It is SUCH a beautiful book. A treasure of beauty and awareness.
Rachel Jamison Webster
Author, Director of Creative Writing at Northwestern University
I named my daughter Alicia out of the inspiration that I took from the spirit of the book. The book is profound; it is really an historical document of a vital cultural movement.
Shen Pauley, writing about Living on the Earth
I so very love reading comments like this to my fairy god mother!
I was truly blessed to be named after a woman of the earth!
Alicia Bay Laurel Moore Ashlock
I am so proud to say my parents named me after you!
They gave me their original copy of Living on the Earth as well as a couple of coloring books.
Alicia Bay Laurel Prior
Thank you for all the beauty, fun and wisdom of this great gift to us all these years. You also inspired my style in my own Kind Veggie Burritos (Deadhead) Cookbook.
Author Beth Livingston, writing about Living on the Earth
Thanks for all the inspiration you’ve given me. I don’t think I’d be the same person I am today if I hadn’t bought your book back in 1971.
Ed Yazijian writing about Living on the Earth
Professor of Sanskrit, Hindi, and Bengali literature
Alicia Bay Laurel is one of those incredible awakened foremothers. Alicia is a woman who helped pave the way for conscious planet living, which of course there is a louder call than ever for. Many of you will be familiar with Alicia’s many works. Her classic work Living on the Earth, written in 1971, is more relevant and inspiring today than ever.
Jeanine Austin, PhD, CHt
Life Coaching and Hypnosis
My name is Adam, I am 26 and have found myself feeling incredibly grateful that both of your books AND your music have found their way into my life.
In the moments when all the people around me seem to be living by reaction, to remember the ones that came before me brings me so much peace.
I haven’t met you, but I love you.
Your efforts, and those who paved the way, have been nothing short of transformational.
Know that there are many young ones reaching back in thirst to listen and drink from your well.
Hope this message finds you well.
Hi! My name is Hunter!
I just wanted to say that I borrowed my friend’s copy of Living on the Earth, and, wow. It’s officially my favorite book.
It was just such a great read for a 20-year-old that has a hippie soul in 2019.
I just love your tips and how different the book is! I’m totally obsessed with the illustrations and the handwritten words!
If you were to own two books, Living on the Earth should be one of them.
Herbalist, Raw Chef, Author, Professor
This book is a bible for me.
It’s a book that was drawn 50 years ago, but when it’s open, it’s fresh and exciting.
It’s hard to say who I would have grown into, had I not found Living on the Earth at such a young age. In a world that felt so in-humane, the time-worn pages covered in your art and handwriting felt like a promise for my young self, that there was more than what I’d been shown; that there were others who lived in the way I longed to live, even before I could name it.
La Abeja Herbs
Handwritten message written by a 19-year-old girl in 1970. Pictures with gentle lines that are classic❣ Simple and easy-to-understand sentences. Since then, it continues to be the Bible of a girl who dreams of living in a natural and natural way.
Wakako and Oe Masanori, writing about Living on the Earth
Artists and natural farmers, Japan Alps
Alicia is a minimalist jazz pen master.
Gene Argel, writing about Living on the Earth
Jazz pianist/vocalist, Maui, Hawaii
It’s like an excerpt from my brain — the part of it you wrote.
Shelley Salamensky, writing about Living on the Earth
NY Review, Paris Review, LA Review
Like Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” this book resonates down generations
Dale Murphy, writing about Living on the Earth
Your work is a part of the best of American/world cultural heritage, not just an artifact, but ecological, agrarian, simple, organic, Gaia culture. You are a visionary’s visionary!
Jean Downey, writing about Living on the Earth
Attorney, Professor, Journalist
That teenager you were changed the world with a few strokes of a pen.
Ken Foster, writing about Living on the Earth
Owner, Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping
One of my FAVORITE authors of gorgeous books, filled with helpful advice and joyful drawings, Alicia is an expressive songwriter and storyteller as well as singer/musician. I STILL have her 1970 edition of her original LIVING ON THE EARTH book.
Linda Joy Lewis
Author/illustrator of vegan cookbook Earth Angel Kitchen
More Songs from Living on the Earth (CD)
This record quickly reminded of the glory folk days of Joan Baez and Judy Collins. This was even before I read that although Alicia Bay Laurel recorded this album within the last year, she wrote these songs in the 1960s and 1970s when she lived on various communes in the US. She has that same beautiful voice with occasionally barbed lyrics. The arrangements are classic folk, but there is also some lounge jazz in a few of them, which plays well. Alicia Bay Laurel is a nice find, taking us back to a great time in folk music.
© David Hintz
Folk World Europe
[The opening track, “Surviving in Style,” is] one of my favorite songs by any singer/songwriter… and as Alicia mentioned, this is the kind of song we need for this moment in history.
Filmmaker, Environmental activist
Documentary of Natural Farming: The Final Straw
I received your CD!
It’s so beautiful.
Your songs make me calm, and I am able to go back to my golden childhood.
Love, Banana 🙂
Your beautiful, beautiful CD has become my most welcome companion; I carry it from house to car and back again routinely. Without fail, like natural aspirin for the soul, it elevates my threshold for pain, reduces my anxiety, and brings me mindful equilibrium. Thank you for such a magnificently generous gift.
I wish you peace, joy, strength, really great connections and laundry facilities, laughter, and fun on your physically demanding tour. I’m sure the audiences will be captivated.
Alicia’s new CD is subtly addicting. I find myself waking up humming little snippets of melodies she made. It is a gentle knowing smile she brings with this music. The more I hear it, the more I see the different layers she put into it.
It’s a YAYY. My favorite song is track #2, Piper of the Woods.
Stephen Frank Gary
Artist and Activist
I have played this wonderful CD over and over on my computer while I spend the countless hours a day that I must be “in office”. Thank you for this great gift of yours.
The whole of the recording is a joy…to try and sing along with!
Kolleen and Bruce Wheeler
All Ways Maui’d Weddings
7th Wave Photography
More Songs from Living On The Earth proves again that the flowers are still in full bloom and I haven’t changed much in the several decades since they were first written & sung. What a great soundtrack to play in my car amidst the raging chaos on the highways. I’m on my way to Hippie Hill and I’m NEVER coming back. Thank You!
Children of the Sun
The White Indians of Nivaria
The soft tones and clarity of Alicia’s vocals, which are her trademarks, were immediately there. Alicia is Alicia and no one else. A simple tone and respect for a good melody and the clarity of the lyric. The words are vulnerable and ring out and you can take them, or leave them, depending on your taste, but it’s clear that Alicia stands by what she sings.
She lives it and has lived it for over forty years.
Follow Alicia. She knows the way through the field.
Immortal for his multi-platinum song Shaddap You Face
Beyond Living (CD)
While the album’s theme might suggest darkness, the album feels more like a celebration. As Laurel’s liner notes suggest “lyrics about death contain valuable instructions for living,” and these songs are no exception. Their cheery melodies, vocals, and a fingerpicked guitar mix with deep sadness in the manner I associate with children’s songs (Remember when you found out “Ring-Around-the-Rosie” was about The Plague?) The album invites the listener to engage with the certainty of death and to feel the relish that reality brings to living. Much like listening to the blues, listening to these songs provides a deep and pleasurable access to human emotion.
Feminist Review, March 2010
As my mom and I were and are fans of your work, I appreciate your staying in touch.
Moana and I send tons of aloha and wish you good luck with your music.
Thank you for helping us to keep my mom’s work alive in the world.
Me Ke Aloha,
Son of Hawaiian Renaissance pioneer/dancer/vocalist/songwriter/historian Auntie Nona Beamer
I did want to let you know we are now playing Aloha ‘Oe, Hill Of Death & The Garden in our regular new music rotation.
Radio Free Phoenix
GODDESS SISTER ALICIA!
I listened your new CD! So beautiful. I cried……
I can feel your love and respect for Donto.
Tonight full moon is so beautiful and shining like you!
widow of rock star Donto
In the 1990s and 2000s, leader of the all-woman trance band Amana
In the 1980’s, leader of Japan’s first all-girl punk band, Zelda
Naha, Okinawa, Japan
Got the CD, loving it, thanks!!!
Ecovillage Training Center
The Farm, Summertown, Tennessee
Thank you for bringing the most wonderful people to us here at Hopi. I enjoyed teaching them of our way of life, and I pray for you all among the stars. Thank you for the CD that I received. I listen to it in the evening gazing among the skies. Thank you and keep in contact.
Shungopavi Village, Arizona
It works because it is so authentic…so thoroughly full of the heart and soul of YOU – and a true reflection of your bittersweet and tender feelings after so many loved ones passed on. I love that you are so inclusive in the explanations of your relationship to each song, lyric, and tradition. Your sound and FEEL puts down a deep tap root.
Then the icing on the cake is your artistic nature-centric metaphor using the morning/mourning glory blossom to show the glowing light at the end of the physical life leading the way to the next adventure.
And, of course, the piece de resistance is that you drew the blossoms and wrote the words in your own handwriting – enveloping the recording project with your SELF. Love it all. The whole shebang.
Jazz Vocalist and Assistant Professor at Berklee School of Music
I love your CD, such a wide collection of inspiration ~ today’s favorite – Hang Out & Breathe. My husband and I lived and worked in and around the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland for the last 10+ years. After he died last year I was guided to move over to Arizona, reconnect with the Earth and continue my work here. It is a blessing to have connected with you.
Anam Aire ~ Soul Midwife
What Living’s All About
December 12, 2008
“Floozy Tune,” the opening track of my blues/jazz CD, What Living’s All About, has garnered a runner-up position in yet a THIRD songwriting contest, this time as a Finalist in the 100% Music Songwriting Contest.
In summer 2008, “Floozy Tune” received Honorable Mention (7th place) in the World division (which includes jazz), in the Indie International Songwriting Contest.
The first award for “Floozy Tune” was in the Top 20 Finalists in the Jazz Division of the Unisong International Songwriting Contest, in 2007.
Alicia Bay Laurel
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.
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.
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.
Alicia Bay Laurel celebrates the Earth (nature) and embraces her sensuality. She loudly laments the destruction of the environment, as in her song “America the Blues,” with the entwining hypnotic music ending with a smashing guitar rift, followed by spine-tingling whale songs and a Native American Chant. This is an excellent protest song.
“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.”
This blend of jazz, blues and gospel is a powerful feminist statement. It’s fantastic!
Patricia Ethelwyn Lang
Feminist Review, June 2007
I don’t know what people who know my music will think of this CD, 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.
Guitar legend Nels Cline
The album is eclectic, diverse musical styles. 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, 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 clichés 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. This track took me to that Hill. I feel differently 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. No one else has ever done something like this with a standard.
Living in Hawaii Style (CD)
Alicia started to live and breathe the essences of the islands of Hawaii with its own special ‘heart’ energy. This album expresses original and historic Hawaiian songs, accompanied by a slack key guitar, with the help of Lei’ohu Ryder, singer and spiritualist with roots in Hawaiian culture, Sam Ahia, vocalist and jazz guitarist, and Rick Asher Keefer, with ukulele, percussion and vocals.
Review by Gerald Van Waes
Former radio producer and webmaster for radio show, Psyche Van Het Folk
Radio Centraal, Antwerp, Belgium
After more than twenty-five years living in Hawai’i, Alicia has obviously absorbed much of the spirit of her adopted home—a spirit she conveys with great respect and also an effervescent joy. Most of this is lovely music about what’s good in life on an island where native culture and nature are still respected and honored by such “adopted natives” as Alicia.
Just as important, several songs point to the threats and damage to Hawai’i’s people and land done by less respectful outsiders, and a call, gently and beautifully, for a return to balance and sovereignty.
Editor, Talking Leaves Magazine, Spring 2002
Living in Hawai’i Style is a collection of Hawaiian songs – some traditional, some native and, indeed, some from the pen of Laurel herself, a longtime resident of the 50th state.
Although a few have (most notably jazz guitarist George Benson), ha’oles (or “gringos”) have not traditionally been accepted with ease into the wider Hawaiian musical community. But Laurel proves herself acutely in-tuned to the nuances, subtleties, and details of traditional island styles, and the gorgeous open-key melodies or her original tunes are tailor-made to Hawaii’s deep legacy of slack-key guitar. Without debating the notion of authenticity, it can be said, at the very least, that Living is a supremely humble and giving album, both towards the listener and towards the Hawaiian musical history that it upholds and extends. That it goes well beyond is the album’s most endearing grace. Far from playing shallow and dilettantish, Living is, in fact, a paradisiacal love letter to Hawaii’s musical lore and to the place the artist calls home, and it could not honor the tradition any more than it does.
Laurel studied Hawaiian musical culture for more than two decades before even attempting to put her learning on tape (although some of the original songs date to the mid 1970s), and the album benefits greatly from that level of sensitivity and deference, as it incorporates nearly every style endemic to the islands, from ancient chant and drinking songs to a birthday tune, wedding songs, wonderfully breezy hulas, environmental anthems and songs of welcome. With ample help from the widely respected Hawaiian jazz-guitar great Sam Ahia and ravishing vocal support from spiritualist, composer, and educator Lei’ohu Ryder, Living in Hawai’i Style is every bit the blissful oasis that Hawaii often seems itself.
Review by Stanton Swihart
September 23, 2001
From Judy Barrett, former music industry professional in Honolulu, August 1, 2002:
I asked Led [slack key legend Ledward Ka’apana] to keep an eye out for you at the Hilo festival [the Big Island Slack Key Guitar Festival].
“She one haole girl? Kinda hippie?”
Yeah, that sounds about right, I said. Turned out he’d already met you at one of his workshops in Hilo a few months ago. Said you played some of your compositions for him.
I asked, “So?”
He said you were pretty good. Now, I know that sounds pretty dang low key, but, from him, it truly is high praise. Enjoy it!
Sounds like you had a great time. I love that little festival!
September 4, 2001
We just reviewed your charming release “Living in Hawai’i Style”. It is refreshing to know there are still some artists performing and recording in the islands who appreciate our magnificent musical roots.
Your original compositions offer a compelling story of what is happening to beloved Hawai’i. Usually, most artists only record their complaints, not solutions. You are the difference. Even though you are not native to the islands, you have the feel of the land and people.
When I was involved with the original “Hawai’i Calls” radio program, and the newer version, I always looked forward the most to the more traditional and hapa-haole numbers.
This is a most enjoyable musical experience.
Aloha nui loa,
J Hal Hodgson
Ports of Paradise
September 12, 2001
I am delighted to have shared in your CD project. The songs are clearly from your heart.
You are a gift to our islands. The makana who has been called to service the vision of aloha and maluhia for the world.
Congratulations on such a fine job. May you continue to heal the people in your work.
Vocalist/songwriter/spiritual teacher/recording artist
“What a nice recording. You did a very good job.”
January 21, 2002