In 1963, nine monks from the French monastery of Saint-Pierre of Solesmes, a centuries-old stronghold of the ancient Gregorian plainchant tradition, journeyed to remote Senegal to establish a Benedictine abbey. Keur Moussa Abbey, as it is known to the local villagers, means "House of Moses." From the day of their arrival, the monks of Keur Moussa have investigated their convergent musical worlds, and created a remarkable new lineage in the thousand-year-old choral music tradition. On Keur Moussa, they weave the rhythms and instrumental textures of Africa with traditional Western plainchant (sung in French and Wolof, the language of the region).
Choral works are performed in the daily masses at the abbey, accompanied on koras (African lutes handmade by the brothers), tabala (a large Mauritanian camel-skin drum), balafon (a Malinke instrument similar to the xylophone), tom-tom, and flute. This video was recorded on the feastday of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The brothers of Keur Moussa invite you to join them as they raise their voices in unique praise of the divine.