Alicia Bay Laurel | Living In Hawaii Style

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Living In Hawaii Style

by Alicia Bay Laurel

Slack key guitar, tropical jazz, hulas and protest songs from Hawaii, half of the music original, and half historic, all very sweet and mellow.
Genre: World: Island
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Hau'oli La Hanau (Happy Birthday)
1:38 $0.99
2. Kanikau O Hawai'i
3:30 $0.99
3. From Hawai'i To You
3:53 $0.99
4. Nanakuli Blues/Vale of Feathers
4:13 $0.99
5. Waikaloa
4:27 $0.99
6. Ukulele Hula
4:17 $0.99
7. Holua, Kapalaoa, and Paliku
3:24 $0.99
8. Sassy/Manuela Boy/Livin' On Easy
3:17 $0.99
9. Moonlight and Shadows/Blue Lei
4:06 $0.99
10. Kawailehuaa'alakahonua
3:06 $0.99
11. Auntie Clara
3:38 $0.99
12. Living In Hawai'i Style
2:45 $0.99
13. Maui Chimes
1:59 $0.99
14. Kaupo
3:39 $0.99
15. Auntie Alice
2:26 $0.99
16. Kipahulu
3:10 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
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

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.



to write a review

Stanton Swihart

A paradisiacal love letter to Hawaii's musical lore; gorgeous open-key melodies
It took Alicia Bay Laurel nearly half of a lifetime and years of concerted study
in a variety of styles before completing her debut album, but, oh, was it worth
the wait. A gorgeous amalgam of John Fahey-style fingerpicking, modal passages,
and lovingly sacred sentiments, Music from Living on the Earth was a sparkling
stream of music pure from the heart. It took but mere months for Laurel to back
up those sentiments with a second album that is every bit as compelling and
beautifully realized, although it is considerably different in both tone and
purpose. Living in Hawai'i Style is instead 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.

Talking Leaves Magazine

Effervescent appreciation of Hawaii, with a call for environmental protections.
Review by Chris Roth
for Talking Leaves Magazine,
Spring, 2002.

Our friend Alicia Bay Laurel (author and illustrator of the 1971 bestselling book Living On The Earth) has put together an album of original and historic Hawai'ian songs, sung
with slack key guitar. 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.



lovely and elegant!
I can relax and be peacefull with this CD.