Enclosed nuns sign major recording deal

Dickon Stainer passes contract to the sisters

Dickon Stainer passes contract to the sisters

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 was drawn from over 70 convents, including communities from North America and Africa. The Sisters' new label-mates include Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, U2 and convent-educated Lady GaGa herself.

The Nuns are part of an ancient order which dates back to the sixth 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 all their lives.

"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 are even filming their own TV commercial and photographing 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 said: "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".

The Nuns' signing follows the worldwide success of the Cistercian Monks of Stift Heiligenkreuz whose 2008 Universal Music album, 'Chant: Music For Paradise', sold over one million copies.

The Nuns' album, 'Voices - Chant from Avignon', will be released worldwide in November.

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