An ancient order of nuns founded in the 13th century are “thrilled” after their debut album shot straight to the top of the music charts.
The Poor Clares of Arundel, a community of 23 nuns, have been overwhelmed by the public’s reaction to their debut album, Light For The World, which reached the number one position in both the Classical Artist Album Chart and Classical Specialist Album Chart last week, having stormed up the overall iTunes and Amazon UK albums charts, peaking at number one and number two respectively earlier that week.
A contemporary production from original isolators, Light For The World, released on Decca Records, comes as the world faces much anxiety and uncertainty amid the current Covid-19 pandemic and the Poor Clares hope that it will be a spiritual antidote to the stresses for modern life.
“We are thrilled that our music has touched the hearts of the public and has reached number one in the Classical Chart. We hope Light For The World will bring you peace, joy and a sense of calm as you cope during these difficult times of isolation and stress,” said Sr Gabriel Davison.
No strangers to living in isolation, the sisters are delighted to share the music which has, for them, been a constant source of healing and reflection. Chant takes precedence as a large part of their daily lives. They live, work, laugh and pray according to the form of life drawn up by St Clare of Assisi in 1253, from their convent in the rural countryside of Sussex, near Arundel.
“Making the recording was a great adventure, we were so impressed by the openness and respect Decca showed, our fears and insecurities of making our songs and work public were quickly allayed. We find deep joy in our chants and now hope that our music will reach many lives, bringing peace, love and a sense of well-being to all who listen,” said Sr Gabriel.
Sharing their ethos of kindness, calm and meditation through music with the release of Light For The World, the sisters encourage the listener to return to the very roots of Mindfulness. A time to pause and find solace in moments of introspection, that aid our ever-evolving search for inner peace.
The album features writings from St Clare and St Francis set to music written by composers James Morgan and Juliette Pochin – hallowed Latin hymns and mediaeval texts with a unique 21st Century production. The words and music are destined to linger in the heart, which the sisters hope will be received by all as a blessing.
Tom Lewis, co-MD of Decca Records, said: “I don’t think we’ve ever seen a reaction like this. We heard of people stopping their cars in tears having heard the music and message of The Poor Clares. It has caught us totally by surprise to the extent that we are currently out of stock! Their music clearly contains a magical musical balm that people need right now.
“The magical, calming qualities of Gregorian Chant regularly re-emerge and enjoy massive worldwide popularity. It is music that soothes something ancient within us all. And, with the world facing so many concurrent challenges, it’s no accident that chant is back again.
“When we first heard the demos from the Poor Clares of Arundel, we were transfixed. Theirs is a brand-new approach, perfectly designed for the headphone-wearing masses looking for a moment of escape,” added Mr Lewis.
Picture: The Poor Clares of Arundel. (Chris O’Donovan).