Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to get Ain Karem's albums (and almost impossible outside of Spain) but I'm hoping that by giving them more publicity and increasing the demand for their work from other countries, that this will change. If you're in Spain, you can get a couple of their albums from the Paulists and I have created links on the CDs below that can be purchased from the Paulists' online store. You can also find a lot of Ain Karem's music videos on their official YouTube channel.
Ain Karem started in 2000 as a project within the Pastoral Vedruna, a program of the Carmelite Sisters of Charity-Vedruna. Their mission is to proclaim the Gospel, the Good News, to all, but especially to young people, using the language of music and other forms of artistic expression.
The group initially included just Vedruna nuns but has evolved and now has nine members: six Vedruna Carmelite nuns, two young lay women -- from Victoria and Leon, and a Salesian priest. Their name, Ain Karem, refers to the place where the Virgin Mary's visitation with her cousin Elizabeth occured, according to Catholic tradition. "We chose this name because the reason we compose and sing is similar, in a way, to what Mary and Elizabeth must have felt" at that holy moment that led to Mary's Magnificat. "How can we not lift our voices and sing songs of praise to this God who became flesh, who 'dwells in us' and saves us? This God who showed His great love for us by becoming a little one among the little ones?"
The group has been invited to perform at many youth prayer encounters in parishes, high schools, and gatherings. Their song "¡Llueve Tú!" (lyrics/audio) was included in the recent CD compilation issued for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain. Ain Karem have recorded five albums:
- ¡Descálzate! (2002/2007)
- Según tu Palabra (2006)
- Con Él la Fiesta empezó (2008)
- A todos los pueblos (2010)
Their music is gorgeously lyrical and the words, often drawn from sacred scripture, reflect their commitment to justice, as can be seen from the video and lyrics of "Los 'Incontables'" which we offer below as a sample. Those of you who are into women's spirituality will also want to check out "Ruah" (lyrics/audio) and "María Magdalena" (lyrics/audio) which sets to music Mary Magdalene's discovery of the empty tomb in John 20. You can also hear more of their songs on the little radio widget on their Web site.
It is my firm hope that someone who knows more than I do about online music marketing and retailing at the international level will sit down with these sisters (and brother) and help them get the attention that their music deserves.
Los "Incontables" - from Ain Karem's A todos los pueblos CD (2010)
“Sin contar mujeres y niños”
(Mt 14:21; 15:38)
No cuentan las mujeres ni los niños,
no cuentan quienes vagan marginados,
no cuenta quien es pobre o está enfermo,
no cuenta quien está crucificado.
No cuentan quienes no tienen trabajo,
ni tampoco quien sufre una adicción
o quien habla otro idioma en tierra extraña,
no cuenta quien es de otro color.
MAS… PARA TI
SON QUIENES CUENTAN,
SON QUIENES CANTAN LA GLORIA DE DIOS,
SON TU ROSTRO, SEÑOR CRUCIFICADO,
SON TU ROSTRO, SEÑOR RESUCITADO (2)
Ni los niños soldados tienen nombre,
ni las niñas que están esclavizadas
no existen quienes hoy mueren de hambre,
y se ignora a quienes sufren soledad.
No contaron las mujeres ni los niños
y hoy siguen sin contar los más pequeños.
Que haga mío el dolor de mis hermanos
y comparta, en justicia, el pan con ellos.
English translation by Rebel Girl:
The women and the children are not counted,
Those who wander on the margins do not count,
The poor and the sick count for nothing,
Nor do the crucified ones count.
The unemployed are among the uncounted,
and those who suffer from addictions too,
and those who speak a different tongue in a strange land,
Those whose skin is of a different hue.
THEY ARE THE ONES WHO COUNT,
THE ONES WHO SING THE GLORY OF GOD.
THEY'RE YOUR FACE, CRUCIFIED LORD,
THEY'RE YOUR FACE, O RISEN ONE,
THEY ARE YOU.
The child soldiers have no name,
Neither do the girls who are enslaved.
Those who are dying of hunger don't exist,
and the lonely ones are ignored.
They didn't count the women and the children
And the least of these still don't count today.
May I make my brothers' pain my own,
and share the bread of justice with them.