Northern Irish singing priests to lift spirits with new CD

Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:59pm EST
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By Andras Gergely

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Satisfying the whims of celebrity artists became less of a task for one British music producer after signing up three Northern Irish priests of great talent but very modest needs.

The priests have become celebrities after their "million-dollar" music contract grabbed headlines, and they will finally see their album debut in 30-odd countries around the world next week, from the Philippines to Brazil.

Sony BMG hope the names Eugene O'Hagan, Martin O'Hagan and David Delargy -- and the title "The Priests" -- will one day be spoken in the same breath as earlier stars Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash or Celine Dion.

A video of the priests performing remained the most popular clip on YouTube for several weeks, according to Irish media.

Yet success may be where the similarity with the likes of Michael Jackson or U2 ends, said Nick Raphael, UK managing director of Sony's Epic Records label.

"Some artists (complain): why didn't we get a flight on a better class, why didn't get a better hotel," he said.

"These guys, anything you do they thank you for afterwards," Raphael told Reuters. They appreciate every nuance you do. 'God willing', 'God willing', things like that ..., it's never oh, you're taken for granted."

The priests point out that Sony's 1 million pound ($1.55 million) investment includes the cost of organizing concerts, PR and recording, and that a portion of the royalties they earn will go to charity.   Continued...

<p>Father Eugene O'Hagan, Father Martin O'Hagan and Father David Delargy (L-R) are seen singing as they pose for the photographer in St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, Northern Ireland in this September 9, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Michael Cooper</p>