Alum Lauren Bjelde Funks Up the Blues in Her Band Royal Jelly Jive

Thursday, May 09, 2019

GOOD TIMES (SANTA CRUZ) -- Before Royal Jelly Jive came together, she was studying Islamic art and architecture in Turkey, and trained as an underwater archeologist (scuba diving is something of a family tradition). She was also a member of the CIA, “which stands for Conceptual/Information Arts,” she says, referring to author, artist and Professor Stephen Wilson’s innovative San Francisco State program exploring the cultural implications of new technologies.

Bjelde was immersed in the program when it fell apart after Wilson’s death in 2011, but she spent fruitful months “taking apart pianos and putting them together in poetic ways,” she recalls. “We’d use electronics and metal fabrications and create these interactive poems that would react to the person who was looking at it.”

With her SF State adventure coming to an end, the Boom Boom Room started exerting a powerful pull. Music had long been a more private pursuit. “I should have known,” she says. “Every memory I have I was singing, whether I was lulling myself to sleep or on the bus, music was part of it.”