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.
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.
The photo of Alicia performing her original Hawaiian songs, accompanied by Hawai'ian vocalist/bassist Bobo Brown, was taken at the Big Island Slack Key Guitar Festival in Hilo, Hawai'i on July 21, 2002 by Lynn Nakkim.