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Singing nuns bring Gregorian chant into the 21st century

By Catholic Online
December 9th, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

After a search of over 70 convents, stretching all the way from North America to Africa, the finest international selection of female vocalists was assembled for The Nuns of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation. Their mission is to preserve and bring new listeners to the Gregorian chant, an ancient form of sacred music.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Nuns are part of an ancient order which dates back to the 6th Century, and continue the tradition of leading a hidden life behind closed doors. Remaining "secluded" to the outside world, family members, in addition to all outside visitors must communicate with the sisters through a grill. Once the vows have been taken to live in the Convent, the sisters remain there until their death.

"We never sought this, it came looking for us," said Reverend Mother Abbess says. "At first we were worried it would affect our cloistered life, so we asked St. Joseph in prayer. Our prayers were answered, and we thought that this album would be a good thing if it touches people's lives and helps them find peace."

The Nuns will film their own TV commercial and photograph their own album cover, eschewing all outside influences. Among the Convent, there is a plumber, an engineer, an electrician, a silk-weaver and a dental assistant. They have forbidden record company executives from entering their cloister.

"I passed the contract through the grill; they signed it and passed it back. Although the nuns do not leave the Convent, the whole world will now hear the true beauty of their singing," Dickon Stainer, Managing Director of Decca Records says.

The Nuns' album will feature the most ancient form of Gregorian Chant, which the sisters sing eight times a day, the first music ever to be written down. Tom Lewis, Head of A&R at Decca Records, says, "When you hear the sound of nuns chanting, it's like an immediate escape from the challenges, stresses, noise and pace of modern living. You're given a glimpse of a secret world of peace and calm."

The Nuns' album, "Voices - Chant from Avignon," will see a worldwide release.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)