The Benedictine Sisters of the Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux in France (a traditional Catholic order linked in the sidebar under vocations www.barroux.org/monial/monialpres.html) have signed on with the Major recording label Decca Records.
Father Zuhlsdorf has the story here: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/07/traditional-benedictine-nuns-in-france-sign-major-recording-contract/
From the Decca Records website:
An enclosed order of Benedictine nuns is set to storm the charts after signing a deal with Universal Music, 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 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' new label-mates include The Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, U2 and convent-educated Lady GaGa herself. (Lady GaGa was educated at Sacred Heart Convent School in New York City which is not an actual convent)
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 grill. Once 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."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".
To avoid intrusion into their daily lives, the Nuns will film their own TV commercial and photograph their own album cover. The self-sufficient Nuns, who count amongst them a plumber, an engineer, an electrician, a silk-weaver and a dental assistant, have already forbidden record company bosses from entering their cloister.
Dickon Stainer, Managing Director of Decca Records, said, "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".
The Nuns' album will feature 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. 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".
This signing follows the worldwide success of the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz whose 2008 Universal Music album, 'Chant: Music For Paradise', sold over 1 million copies.
The Nuns' album, 'Voices - Chant from Avignon', will be released worldwide in November.
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