Courtesy of casualnun.bandcamp.com
I just met Casual Nun! In my regular forays in to pop culture I stumbled -- happily -- upon a UK band called Casual Nun. Of course I found this intriguing, given my nun tendencies, so I plugged in my headphones and listened to a couple tracks on their new album, Psychometric Testing By....
Though it's not my usual listening style, I must say I liked what Christian Eede of London-based online magazine, The Quietus, called a "doom-inflected stomper, punctuated by guitar squalls and ... curious, submerged vocals." Sounds like my spiritual life at times! Quick note: the vocals were so submerged I could not catch them all so I can't vouch for it being free of anything explicit, heretical, or otherwise displeasing. ;)
As I listened I became more curious about the name of the band. So what's a nun to do? I contacted them and Casual Nun band member Matt Ridout responded immediately.
Sister Julie: Hi, I happened to see your band name pop up in my Google Alerts because of the "nun" part. I am curious as to what the title means.
Casual Nun: Not really any direct connection to nuns no :). I was on holiday in Sardinia with my girlfriend and, while waiting for a bus, thought I saw a woman in a nun's habit who was wearing a T-shirt and shorts. I said to my girlfriend, 'look, casual nun.' Turns out my eyes were just deceiving me, and it was just a woman with very dark hair and a wide white headband. Around that time we were looking for a name [for the band]. I suggested it, and it stuck.
Sister Julie: It's a great name! I find that the best names for stuff come from experiences like that.... And let me know when you come out with a nun-esque t-shirt. I always like to look hip and cool. ;)
In addition to having a cool name, I was interested in Eede's remark that Casual Nun's new album "sees the band embracing a more improvisational approach to their writing and recording process, with the entire recording having come from one session."
I can totally relate to that! Not in terms of music--(about all I can do on my electric guitar is pluck a tune that may or may not resemble "Amazing Grace")--but in terms of what it means to embrace the moment, to allow for all the possibilities in "one session." For me this means being present to the moment, recognizing that improvisation can happen here and now. There are many things in life that are scripted, that have a certain formula, a "right way" of doing things. Yet I find that within improvisation we often find an openness to the new and creative. I have seen very clearly the work of the Spirit in those moments where anything can happen!
So thank you, Casual Nun, for the reminder of what it means to be present to the moment and to allow the creativity of the Spirit to soar!
What band or piece of music have you found a surprising gift of the Holy Spirit? We'd love to hear from you -- just use the comment section below!