2020 marks the 50 anniversary of the release of harpist/composer Alice Coltrane’s 1970 home recorded album Ptah, The El Daoud. Some years before, her late husband, John Coltrane had composed and recorded A Love Supreme. I’d suggest that for some, listening to either can elicit experiences not unlike what some ritual work will produce. I think the titles of each is a giveaway as to their intent. Grammy.com published an article about this release.
Here’s a song:
An excerpt reads:
“Ptah, which Coltrane titled in tribute to the Egyptian creator god of Memphis and patron of craftspeople and architects (‘El Daoud’ means ‘the beloved’ in Arabic), contains abundant hypnotic power and emotional import. These qualities relate to the inner journey Coltrane underwent at the time, the fact she recorded Ptah at home, her quintet’s performances, and the album’s matrix of ancient Vedic and Egyptian references.
By all accounts, Coltrane conceived Ptah, The El Daoud, and its predecessors, A Monastic Trio (1968) and Huntington Ashram Monastery (1969), during a period of grief and spiritual evolution. In the years after her husband, John, died of liver cancer in 1967, she experienced physical, mental and metaphysical phenomena, as documented in her 1977 spiritual memoir, ‘Monument Eternal.’
“‘Sometimes, my heartbeat shifted to the right side of my body. All of the hair on my head would stand on end as if it were electrically charged,’ Coltrane wrote, citing the ‘extensive mental and physical austerities’ she underwent during this time.”
Read the whole schmear: