The chart-topping Poor Clare Sisters of Arundel have released a new digital deluxe version of their best-selling album, which combines traditional plainchant with added beats.
The community of 23 nuns from the south of England released Light for the World last October, and have gone on to become surprise international music chart stars ever since, after strong sales made it the UK’s best-selling classical artist debut of 2020.
Now the Sisters’ new album includes four brand new ‘chill’ mixes – a soothing soundtrack for mindfulness and relaxation in challenging times.
Tom Lewis, co-managing director at Decca Records, said: “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 – courtesy of the sisters – 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.”
Light for the World has struck a chord with listeners worldwide. It reached number one in the iTunes mainstream album chart on release and reached number two in the Amazon UK bestsellers list, just behind Bruce Springsteen.
It reached number one on the UK Classical Artist Album and spent nine consecutive weeks at the top of the UK Specialist Classical Chart last year.
Internationally, the album is proving a hit too: it reached number three on Belgium’s classical chart, number five on Canada’s and number nine on the overall iTunes albums chart in Germany. The Poor Clares have also appeared on TV in the UK, US, Canada, Germany and beyond.
It’s all light years away from the sisters’ humble daily routine at their convent in Arundel, where Chant still plays a large part of their daily lives. The sisters follow a routine little changed since it was first drawn up by St Clare of Assisi in 1253.
The Poor Clares’ album, created in collaboration with composers Juliette Pochin and James Morgan, features writings from St Clare and St Francis, set beautifully to music, alongside hallowed Latin hymns and medieval texts with a unique 21st Century production.
At its centre is the ancient music of plainchant, a form of vocal music which has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years and can be heard in popular soundtracks – from the Halo video games to the hit TV show The Queen’s Gambit. Research has even shown that the simple flowing melody of plainchant may help reduce stress.
Sharing their ethos of kindness, calm and meditation through music with the release of Light for the World, the Sisters encourage the listener pause and find solace in moments of introspection.
Sr Gabriel said: “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.”