Friday, June 8, 2012 'Music that is utterly new, yet timeless' (Excerpt)
"Plainsong has a long history of charting, starting with Decca's 1993 recording made in the Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos in Spain, an album that reached number three in the Billboard pop chart and which has now sold more than four million copies worldwide. Over the years major labels have repeatedly returned to what has been termed 'monk rock' to generate classical album sales; Decca's CD with the nuns of L'Abbaye Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation at Le Barroux just failed to reach number one in the UK Christmas 2011 classical chart, and in the last few months Sony Masterworks have given Gregorian a trans-Atlantic flavour with a new album cut at The Monastery of Christ in the Desert near Santa Fe. 

"But despite its chart success Gregorian chant is a marketing conundrum: it responds to promotion, but it is difficult to produce a chant album that is new and different - even when sung by nuns or American monks. But my recent travels uncovered some chant recordings which are very different, and which could offer an enterprising record label a remarkable marketing opportunity.

"The path starts several years ago when I visited the the Dominican Monastery of Notre-Dame de Beaufort in Brittany. I had travelled to Notre-Dame de Beaufort to hear a very special sound, because the Sisters there use the kora - an African bridge-harp - to accompany the Divine Offices."

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