Cloistered French nuns sign record deal
A closed order of French nuns have signed an album deal with Universal Music, the record label announced Sunday, after a worldwide search to find the best female singers of Gregorian Chant.
The Benedictine sisters cannot leave their abbey near Avignon, in the south of France, and visitors are rarely allowed in, but the ancient chants they sing eight times a day will be available for everyone to hear from November.
"We never sought this, it came looking for us," said Placide Devillers, the Reverend Mother Abbess of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation, in a statement released by Universal Music.
"At first we were worried it would affect our cloistered life, so we asked Saint 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 protect their vow of isolation, recording engineers were only allowed into the convent when the nuns were in a different part of the building.
They set up microphones in the chapel, then retreated to a separate room when the sisters sang, directing the recording remotely.
To promote the album, the nuns will film their own television commercial and photograph the album cover, said a spokesman for the label, whose vast roster of artists include Lady Gaga.
The nuns were chosen after a search by the record label of more than 70 convents worldwide, sparked by the success of a 2008 album by the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz in Austria.
© 2010 AFP