Nuns Aloud!

Chiswick record executives Oliver Harrop and Tom Lewis hope they've found the next big thing

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Chant From Avignon can be bought via

Prayer requests can also be submitted via the same link.

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Chiswick based record executives Oliver Harrop and Tom Lewis hope they have found the next big thing - singing nuns.

The pair are aiming to repeat Decca Records' 2008 success when the company had a worldwide hit with a group of Austrian monks singing Gregorian chant.

Followed by a BBC Film crew, Harrop and Lewis traveled the world in search of the finest singing nuns, with the aim of signing them up and taking them to number one in the charts.

From Ireland to the USA via France and Spain, no stone was left unturned in the quest to find the world's most heavenly voices which ended with the French Nuns of the Abbaye de Notre-Dame de l'Annonciation.

The reclusive order, based near Avignon, signed a deal with Decca Records, part of Universal Music, which counts Lady Gaga and U2 among their acts.

The nuns' ancient order dates back to the 6th Century and they follow a tradition of leading a hidden life behind closed doors. Speaking to the BBC, Reverend Mother Abbess said: "We never sought this, it came looking for us. 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."

The nuns are self-sufficient and include a plumber, an engineer, an electrician, a silk-weaver and a dental assistant. But their strict rules meant that even Decca Records managing director Dickon Stainer was unable to enter their home to congratulate them. "I passed the contract through the grille, they signed it and passed it back," he said. "Although the nuns do not leave the Convent, the whole world will now hear the true beauty of their singing."

Chant From Avignon, was released in November 2010 and can be bought via Prayer requests can also be submitted via the same link.

March 16, 2011