A young Franciscan friar dubbed 'the voice from Assisi, has become the first member of his order to sign a major record deal.
Alessandro Brustenghi who hails from the home town of St Francis was discovered by Mike Hedges, the legendary sound engineer who has worked with bands like U2 and The Cure, as well as popular Irish singing group 'The Priests'.
Now the tenor, who lists among his favourite artists Michael Jackson and Bjork, has been signed by Universal Muisc Group for an undisclosed sum. He is the first Franciscan to have won such a deal, and joins a list of Universal artists which includes many household names, from ABBA to The Who .
But he will not profit financially from it, his vow of personal poverty prevents him from pocketing the proceeds of his albums, which will instead go towards the charitable work of his order.
Alessandro says he believes that God communicates through music, and likened his own career to that of St Francis, who was known as the 'Jongleur de Dieu'.
He said: “[Singing is] the way to spread the gospel, to everybody, to the world. The story of St Francis of Assisi is very similar to mine. Francis was a humble man, and he decided to spread the Gospel with music, dance and joy.”
When he's not singing, Alessandro divides his time between welcoming many of the six million visitors to Assisi every year, and carpentry.
Visitors to the photogenic Friar's website can currently enjoy a free download of one of his classical recordings.
May 23rd, 2012 - Posted & Written by Simon Cross