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Alice Coltrane’s Kirtan: Turiya Sings to be released this summer

Alice Coltrane playing piano onstage in 1987
(Image credit: Frans Schellekens)

Alice Coltrane’s Kirtan: Turiya Sings is released on July 16 via Impulse!/UMe. The rare album of nine devotional spiritual jazz songs was recorded in 1981 and includes the never-before-heard combination of the late US musician’s voice and organ.

Coltrane – musical partner and wife of saxophone player John Coltrane – is revered for her groundbreaking contributions to spiritual jazz with her legendary Impulse! recordings Journey in Satchidananda and Ptah, The El Daoud, among others. Throughout the 1970s, in addition to maintaining the busy schedule of a recording and touring artist, Alice Coltrane immersed herself in Eastern philosophies, mythologies, and Vedic religious practices. By the early 1980s, she had become a guru and spiritual teacher and began to make music exclusively for her community at The Vedantic Center, northwest of Los Angeles.

The original recording of these songs, Turiya Sings, was released exclusively on cassette in 1982 for the students of the ashram. In addition to Alice’s voice and organ, the recording included synthesisers, strings, and sound effects. In 2004, Alice’s son and producer of this record, Ravi Coltrane, found mixes he’d never heard before of just Alice’s voice and her Wurlitzer organ. He knew this is what the world had to hear.

“In this setting I felt the greatest sense of her passion, devotion and exaltation in singing these songs in praise of the Supreme,” he says. “In that moment, I knew people needed to hear Turiya Sings in this context.” Ravi continues, “as her son, growing up and hearing her playing these songs on the very same Wurlitzer you hear on this recording, I recognise this choice maintains the purity and essence of Alice’s musical and spiritual vision. In many ways, this new clarity brings these chants to an even higher place.”

Listen to Krishna Krisha below.