Exploring the Depths of “Kyrie Eleison” with Peg Luke: An Exclusive Interview

Exploring the Depths of "Kyrie Eleison" with Peg Luke: An Exclusive Interview

Peg Luke, Emmy and Grammy-nominated artist, breathes new life into the timeless Christian prayer “Kyrie Eleison” with her latest single. In an interview, Peg revealed that she composed the piece years ago, inspired by a desire to create a “beautiful flowing prayer” to calm and center the soul amid today’s chaotic world. This rendition, meaning “Lord, have mercy” in Greek, merges ancient liturgical themes with modern orchestration. Peg Luke’s blend of classical training and contemporary innovation underscores her commitment to connecting deeply with her audience, using music to convey profound messages of faith and mercy.

Read the full interview below:

Penny Powell: “Kyrie Eleison” is such a timeless and profound prayer. What inspired you to choose this piece as the focus of your new single?

    Peg Luke: I composed “Kyrie Eleison” several years ago.  The inspiration was that I wanted to compose a beautiful flowing prayer of sorts, one that you could sing to.  I dusted off my original manuscript and presented it to my producer, Steve Avedis and away we went.  I added on orchestration and Steve edited my ideas and in a way we “cooked up” this intricate end result.  The reason behind releasing “Kyrie Eleison” at this time was a no brainer.  Our world sometimes seems to be spinning out of control and in its own special way, “Kyrie Eleison” brings us back to our “center”.  This introspective tune quiets the mind and mends the soul.

    Penny Powell: Your rendition of “Kyrie Eleison” blends ancient liturgical themes with modern musical elements. Can you walk us through your creative process for this composition?

      Peg Luke: It’s been a few years since I actually created “Kyrie Eleison” but if I can recall, the melody actually came at the same time as the chordal structure.  Sometimes tunes compose themselves quickly.  This was one of those experiences.  The ease of the musical structure, the simplicity of the the text seemed to gel the moment I wrote it down on staff paper as I was sitting at my piano.  I love those moments.  Nothing seems to get in the way of the actual message. 

      My musical creative mind always centers with my musical ear which is rooted in the classical music world.  That is why the music is “new” but the idiom seems “ancient”.  I think that is what sets my music apart from other music today.  That is why I call myself a Christian meditative classical artist.

      Penny Powell: How has your understanding of “mercy” evolved through the process of creating and performing “Kyrie Eleison”?

        Peg Luke: To me “mercy” means love, freedom from sin, coming face to face with our Maker and being redeemed, being brought “back to life”.  “Mercy” means to me awakening to our fullness, our positive belief in goodness, our belief in miracles, our belief in deliverance and our belief in the invisible.

        Penny Powell: How did you approach integrating AI into the creation of the accompanying lyric video for “Kyrie Eleison”? What challenges and rewards did this innovative process bring?

          Peg Luke: I found my creative soul being recently pulled into the AI world.  In my case, I wanted to use AI for something I could not physically catch an image of. I hoped with AI technology I could speak into my AI application and it would produce something spectacular.  I believe that happened.  I wanted to capture a big Gothic cathedral to accompany “Kyrie Eleison”.  But instead of capturing the music inside the 4 walls of this cathedral, I wanted the roof and the stained glass windows to come alive with glorious angels.

          The idea being that “Kyrie Eleison” was being angelically carried outside of these 4 walls into our needy world.  I love the fact there is no roof on this cathedral.  I think the use of AI in this instance brings the mysticism I was looking for to accompany “Kyrie Eleison”.  It was awesome having such a positive first experience with AI.

          Penny Powell: As a renowned flutist and composer, what unique elements do you believe your musical background brought to this new single?

            Peg Luke: It is hard to actually comprehend where my early classical training comes into my current compositional techniques, other than after years of formal music theory training I find myself wanting to buck the conventional way of composing.  I don’t sit down and say “this needs to be a dominant chord, or this phrase needs to end on this note”, etc.  I let my heart, my soul and my ear dictate my writing.  I am a firm believer that if you express your art through your soul you have a greater tendency to connect with the listener’s soul.  Honesty in creativity goes a long way in the success of your work.

            Penny Powell: Can you describe any particular moments during the production of “Kyrie Eleison” that stood out as particularly moving or transformative for you?

              Peg Luke: The original version of “Kyrie Eleison” was written for one voice, clarinet and piano.  When I was orchestrating the tune I started adding voices and instruments.  But it wasn’t until I was actually sitting behind my microphone recording the vocals in my downstairs studio that I felt I needed to add my flute into the track.  Playing and recording my flute impromptu, “on the spot” without any music was transformational for me.  Sometimes I feel magic in the course of the creative process, that was the moment for me.  Those unexpected moments can be so special.

              Penny Powell: “Kyrie Eleison” translates to “Lord, have mercy,” a phrase deeply embedded in Christian liturgy. How does this prayer resonate with your personal journey and faith?

                Peg Luke: Oh my goodness, this is quite a personal question but I am happy to answer it because my Faith journey has had so many “ups and downs”.  My life has not been pristine by any accounts.  I have made my share of wrong decisions and have battled so many things in my life.  My ongoing battle with my rare autoimmune disease would get most people down on their knees.  But because of my Faith journey I have so much spiritual strength with my Higher Power right there with me. 

                The miracles that have come out of a dire situation, the “death” of my public performance career and the constant pain I endure are all nullified by the “mercy” I have been so freely given.  Everyone is given “mercy” that is why “Kyrie Eleison” is so exceptional in its effect on the human soul.

                Penny Powell: Music has always been a medium for expressing faith and humanity. How does “Kyrie Eleison” align with your broader mission as an artist?

                  Peg Luke: I am always trying to reach “across the line” to the non believer, to the person in crisis, to the person facing challenges, to the person facing grief.  We all have these moments.  I believe the humbleness of “Kyrie Eleison” can delve deep into one’s soul.  The importance of this single direct statement as found in these 2 words, “Kyrie Eleison” connects exactly to my earthly music mission.  I am put here to help people make their lives better whether they believe in a Higher Power, angels or miracles.  I am called into this world to make it better because of my music and I believe “Kyrie Eleison” is an important chapter in my testimony.

                  Penny Powell: Your repertoire spans classical pieces to spiritual hymns. How do you decide on the direction and themes of your new projects?

                    Peg Luke: That’s pretty easy.  The path doesn’t usually come from me.  That is what prayer is all about.  I find myself in all kinds of creative projects.  The future is looking very bright!

                    Penny Powell: Looking forward, do you see yourself continuing to blend AI and technology with your music? What possibilities excite you the most about this intersection?

                      Peg Luke: Absolutely.  I believe another one of my upcoming singles, “God on a Bumpersticker” will also be employing some AI video.  I love learning about new technology.  If you don’t embrace the here and now, you will be left behind.  It’s an exciting time to be alive!

                      Peg’s reflections on mercy and her dedication to creating music that quiets the mind and mends the soul resonate deeply, offering a timeless message of hope and compassion. As she continues to explore new frontiers in her music, Peg Luke’s work reminds us of the enduring power of art to connect, heal, and inspire. We eagerly await the next chapter in her remarkable career.