Mumbai: The Priests – Father Eugene O’Hagan, Father Martin O’Hagan and Father David Delargy – that were signed by Epic Records MD Nick Raphael are set to release their music on 18 November. Raphael was so impressed with their music that he immediately began secret negotiations to persuade them to sign for the label, which is understood to have committed a £ 1 million investment to The Priests.
The Priests are practicing Roman Catholic Priests from Northern Ireland who grew up singing together while studying for the priesthood, all joined by their shared faith and passion for music. The three have also stipulated that a percentage of the proceeds from record sales will go to charity/charities of their choice.
In an unprecedented move, all tracks from the album have been recorded with the Philharmonic Academy of Rome from St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, and the choir was arranged and conducted by Pablo Colino, the Maestro Emeritus Director of Music at St. Peter’s Basilica; thus getting the ultimate seal of approval from the Catholic Church and its most senior organization.
It will be a multi-language collection of religious classics (sung in English, Irish, Spanish, German and Latin) as chosen by the Priests and produced by Mike Hedges (The Cure, U2 & Dido) and will include Ave Maria, Pie Jesu, Panis Angelicus, Abide With Me, Plegaria (by Alvarez – Spanish), Hacia Belen (Spanish) and The Creation (German).
The music will be religious and spiritually-inspired classics including Ave Maria and Panis Angelicus. The Priests’ extraordinary combined talents were first recognized while they were at school at Garron Tower, at Queens’s University in Belfast and while they were training for the Priesthood at the Irish College in Rome. Following further vocal training in Rome, they were frequently invited to sing for the Pope and, since returning to their vocations in Ireland, they have sung together many times always to the appreciation and enjoyment of their audiences.
Uniquely, the recording contract which they signed in April 2008 on the steps of Westminster Cathedral, London allows them exemption from any promotional or recording duties in the event, for instance, of the death of a parishioner over whose funeral they may be required to preside.
It also specifies that none of the three will ever be obliged to take part in any performance or commercial activity which they may feel conflicts with their religious beliefs and that their debut album must be released in Vatican City as well as more familiar global territories such as the UK, USA and Northern Europe.
Raphael said, "These are three extraordinary men blessed with a stunning musical talent which we believe will cross any divides and appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. The integrity of Eugene, Martin and David is reflected in their music and we are delighted to have signed what is, in any terms, a unique recording contract with them."