Urban Chant Records is a project of Jared Lamenzo and Joshua South. We are located at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, in NoLIta (north of Little Italy, in Soho). Every week we work with young people, often new to the city, who come from all walks of life. They want to learn about Latin, chant, and more generally, music. A collaborative effort, we strive for excellence in everything we sing. Our volunteer Basilica Schola is supplemented with some of the finest singers in New York. Jared Lamenzo is the Organist and Director of Music and Joshua South is the Cantor and Music Associate of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral.
We began this project by asking ourselves this question: what does it mean to sing 1,000-year old chants in the middle of NYC, in one of the trendiest, zippiest zip codes on the planet? Chant happens all around us; people from all cultures and faith traditions chant--think of people chanting in yoga classes, or even at baseball games. Essentially, this album is a statement about timelessness and universality, despite our specific time and place.
In addition to plainchant, we are working on polyphonic pieces with our professional singers, works based on chant spanning the centuries. We will also be recording our fabulous 1868 Henry Erben organ, the only intact organ of its size in its original acoustic space.
Our recordings are organic, and so included the sounds of the city: the occasional engine, honk, or thud is part of the soundtrack. Some of those sounds align auspiciously, either harmonically or emphatically.