Musician Lucy Dacus’ Journey to a French Monastery

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What was a place that defied all your expectations?

I finished a book set in Guadeloupe called “The Bridge of Beyond” by Simone Schwarz-Bart while I was on tour in the winter of 2017. I was so cold; my skin was dry and cracked, so I looked up flights while daydreaming of escaping the weather. There was a ridiculous promotion going on; flights were $120 round trip, so I booked a visit for a few weeks later. The island has different colored sand on every side: black, tan, white, and pink. It’s a small enough place that you could visit all of them on the same day. I could’ve never imagined it.

What’s the most unexpected meal you’ve ever had?

We played at the Corona Capital festival in Mexico City in 2019, and the label took us out for a meal at Rosetta. They’re all food folks over at Matador, so I follow their lead when they want to go out. The surprise from that meal was the bread with ant caviar butter. It was hearty and salty; I think of it often.

What place has the most interesting energy?

My mom and I visited a monastery in France called Taizé in 2014. They’re known for their music, which is repetitive and droning. My mom was interested in visiting because she uses Taizé music at the Episcopal church where she plays piano. It began as a very small group of monks, but they started allowing visitors, and nowadays, the monastery has thousands of visitors at a time from many countries. There is no administration or hierarchy. When you check in, you donate what you’re willing to pay and are asked to fulfill tasks to contribute to the upkeep of the grounds. Even the people checking you in have just been taught to do that by previous visitors. There are three services a day where everyone sits on the floor of a giant chapel and sings together; the hymns are in many different languages. Then a modest meal is served, like a roll and some chocolate. The monks make cider, so after the last service of the day, people drink, dance, play instruments, and teach each other songs. People from the same countries find each other and will show others traditional folk dances and music. The song that crossed all cultures and unified everyone was “Wonderwall.”



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Our Contributors

Lucy Dacus Writer

Lucy Dacus is a musician, performer, and “one of the best songwriters of her generation” (Rolling Stone). She has released three full-length albums under her name, including last year’s “Home Video” plus the boygenius album in 2018 with her bandmates Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker.

Lisa Lok Writer

Lisa Lok is an art director at Departures. A Brooklyn-based creative, she enjoys collaborating with illustrators and photographers from around the world. Her work can be found in the pages of Airbnb Magazine, NYLON, and Asia Society Magazine, among others.


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