Song of the Day: Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda “Om Rama”
Hip hop and reggae are my favorite genres, so I often get playfully teased by my classically-trained, music-producer fiancé for listening to music with simple and repetitive musical landscapes. I like the repetition, to me it makes the lyrics and the voices pop. For this week’s post, I’m taking my repetitive-loving aesthetic one step further and offering you a track steeped in hindu spirituality, produced by Alice Coltrane. After becoming a swami in the 1970’s, Alice changed her name to Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda. Until her death in 2007, she ran an Ashram outside of L.A. where she produced a library of music, just recently uncovered and released by Luaka Bop.
In this 10 minute track, Om Rama, there is a beautiful balance of human vocals, groups of people chanting and harmonizing over the lyrics “Om Rama.” These organic voices are complimented by electronic manipulation and production of ambient sounds. The music and the voices move together for about four minutes, and then we are introduced to a soulful soloist with clapping accompaniment. Coltrane grew up in the church, and this gospel influence comes through loud and clear at this point in the track. At about minute seven, the community of voices return, this time more ecstatic, with more energy and life. It’s about this time when I forget that I have only heard two words throughout, and instead, I’m transformed to a different place. The repetition only helps to get me there.