Poor Clare Sisters of Arundel go digital deluxe with brand-new chill mixes

The chart-topping Poor Clare Sisters of Arundel are bringing out a new digital deluxe version of their hit album Light For The World on Decca Records

Poor Clares of Arundel (c) Chris O'Donovan
Poor Clares of Arundel (c) Chris O'Donovan

Spokeswoman Samii Taylor said: “More than 800 years since they were founded, the Poor Clare Sisters of Arundel – a community of 23 nuns – have found themselves unexpected recording stars. Their album, Light for the World, released by Decca Records in October, is enjoying international chart success and they have become the UK’s best-selling classical artist debut of 2020.

“Poor Clares are now releasing a new digital deluxe version of their album, which combines traditional plainchant with added beats. The new album includes four brand-new chill mixes – a soothing soundtrack for mindfulness and relaxation in challenging times.

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“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.”

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 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 its release and number two in the Amazon UK bestsellers list, just behind Bruce Springsteen. It was number one on the UK Classical Artist Album and spent nine consecutive weeks at number one on the UK Specialist Classical Chart last year, returning to the top spot again at the start of 2021.

Internationally, the album is proving a hit too – it reached number three on the classical chart in Belgium, number five on Canada’s classical chart, number six on the Amazon US Bestsellers chart 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 – all whilst maintaining their humble daily routine at the convent in Arundel.

Casandra Strauss, senior specials projects manager and classical co-ordinator with BPI, the British recorded music industry’s trade association, said: “We’ve seen a strong trend of more people turning to music over the past 12 months to get through these difficulties times, and CD sales and streams of classical in particular have seen a real uplift as timeless music that can provide solace and relaxation when we most need it.

“We congratulate the Poor Clare Sisters of Arundel on their success with their album Light for the World, which is clearly bringing comfort to communities around the world.”

The overwhelming public reaction has come of something as a surprise to Sister Gabriel Davison of the Poor Clares: “We are thrilled that our music has touched the hearts of the public. 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.”

The Poor Clares’ album features writings from St Clare and St Francis, set to music, alongside Latin hymns and medieval texts with a unique 21st century production. It was created in collaboration with composers Juliette Pochin and James Morgan.

At the centre of the album is the ancient music of plainchant. This type of vocal music 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.

Sister Gabriel Davison added: “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.”