Friday 19 July 2019

Singing priests upstage the 'boss'

Ken Sweeney

Outdoing your boss is always a bit tricky so Irish group The Priests will have a bit of explaining to do the next time they visit the Vatican.

Last November northern curates Father Eugene O'Hagan, Father Martin O'Hagan and Father David Delargy released their second album, 'Harmony', the follow-up to their million-selling debut.

However The Priests had some clerical competition in the shape of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, who that same month released Alma Mater, an album of Marian hymns and prayers.

However, it seems that music lovers prefer their hymns from the rank-and-file rather than their boss in Rome.

In the Christmas charts, released on December 24, The Priests' album Harmony had by then sold 14,190 copies in Ireland, outselling The Pope's 'Alma Mater' album by more than five to one. Only charting at No 58 on its week of release, 'Alma Mater' still remains outside the Top 100 albums.

That was an embarrassing outcome which Priests' member Father Eugene O'Hagan perhaps foresaw when he told an interviewer last month: "The Pope's is a very different album to ours. We sing a different kind of music."

"We are on the same team but playing different positions and we have the ability to tour whereas maybe he doesn't," he added.

But there is hope for The Pope, according to Gennaro Castaldo of HMV, who advises his Holiness to keep at it and perhaps appeal to the masses next time.

"This is The Priests' second album, and they have a pretty decent following which crosses over into the mainstream," he said.

"It makes an ideal Christmas gift for many people while The Pope's record, 'Alma Mater', on the other hand, is a bit of a one-off recording, and has quite specialist appeal."

Irish Independent

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