An enclosed order of Benedictine nuns is set to storm the charts after signing a deal with Universal Music Group, the world’s leading record company. The Nuns of the Abbaye de Notre Dame de l'Annonciation, from a remote region of France near Avignon, won a worldwide search dubbed “Nun Idol” by an international media frenzy, to find the world’s finest female singers of Gregorian Chant. The search took in over 70 convents, including communities as far afield as North America and Africa. The Nuns’ join a roster with such international stars as Andrea Bocelli, Elton John, Sting, The Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse and U2 to name a few. Voices- Chant From Avignon will be in stores November 22nd on Decca.
The Nuns are part of an ancient order which dates back to the 6th Century. They continue the tradition of leading a hidden life, literally behind closed doors. To remain ‘secluded’ to the outside world, any visitors, even family, must communicate with the sisters through a grille. Once vows have been taken to live in the convent, the sisters remain there until their death. They lead a life which seems to be the polar opposite of most recording artists – they have no possessions and remain silent unless it is absolutely necessary to speak. Their album features the most ancient form of Gregorian Chant, which the sisters sing eight times a day, and was the first music ever to be written down. Practice has certainly made perfect, as listeners the world over are only now privileged to appreciate.
The international media is already buzzing about these “inspirational sisters” with “exquisite voices” (UK’s Sunday Mail). A documentary of the “nun hunt” was filmed by Talkback Thames for BBC1 and the prestigious Sunday Times Magazine described their music as “a mixture of chant and soul diva, very pop-influenced”.
Voices: Chant from Avignon presents a sound that never fails to create a feeling of calm serenity. It expresses the peace people yearn for in this stressful world – a simple beauty in music that is timeless. The nuns explain that this album is “a parable of human life. In other words, all men and all human beings come from somewhere and are all on a journey towards their Destiny. The common grounding that all humans have is based upon the challenges they face”. After recording the album, the Mother Superior added: “We are happy with the result but one mustn’t be too pleased with oneself!”