Young Franciscan Friar from Assisi signs to Universal Music
Decca Records/Universal Music announces the global signing of Franciscan Friar, Alessandro Brustenghi, from the original friary founded by Saint Francis of Assisi: the Porziuncola in Assisi.
Alessandro is the first Friar in the history of music to land a major record deal.
Senior Universal Executives from 25 different territories have flown into London today to hear Friar Alessandro's first performance outside Italy, at the 2012 International Decca Conference in Westminster.
Having taken a personal vow of poverty, Friar Alessandro will not accept any money from sales of the album and his day to day life will not change. Proceeds will go directly to the Order of Friars Minor for its charitable work.
Friar Alessandro has been singing all his life. Although music was always his passion, Alessandro received his "calling" as a teenager, and at the age of 21 he decided to become a friar.
The legendary Mike Hedges (U2, The Cure, Manic Street Preachers) and his manager discovered Alessandro whilst in Italy, after years of searching for "the next Italian Tenor". Much like new TV hit 'The Voice' it was only when they met Alessandro in person, dressed in his habit, that they realised the singer recommended to them was a friar.
Mike Hedges is making the record at Abbey Road. When Friar Alessandro recently visited the famous studios it was the first time he had ever been on a plane.
The album, which is due for release in October, will be a mix of traditional and modern sacred songs, including an original track by Royal Wedding composer Paul Mealor, set to a prayer written by St Francis of Assisi.
The Friar, by day, works in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, welcoming many of the six million visitors to Assisi every year. In his spare time he works as a carpenter, restoring furniture and making wooden lecterns.
Panis Angelicus - video:
Alessandro grew up listening to Michael Jackson and Bach, loves electronic music, and his latest musical interest is Bjork.