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Music

Pope Francis releases an eclectic rock record

Compared to his predecessors, the popular Pope Francis does have an unconventional style. Now a new album makes him a rock star. It combines his speeches, prog rock, Gregorian pop and a Chinese choir.

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Pop(e) star Francis releases rock record

After a two-minute intro of 70s style prog rock music, you hear the Pope say "Wake up! Wake up!" Then, accompanied by electric guitar, keyboards and drums, he goes on to talk about the responsibilities given by God. One could think this is some kind of surreal mash-up created by a YouTuber seeking fame - but the music is endorsed by the Vatican itself.

The album "Wake up!" was presented by the Vatican at the beginning of November and is released on Friday (27.11.2015) on Believe Digital.

On the eleven-song album, key sermons by Pope Francis are mixed with an unexpected variety of musical styles. Among the contributors are the Italian prog-rock composer Tony Pagliuca from the band Le Orme; an Italian-born monk who's embraced Indian asceticism - Giorgio Kriegsch, aka Nirvanananda Swami Saraswati - and a Chinese choir.

The first track released from the album in September, "Wake Up! Go! Go! Forward!," which features a sermon the Pope gave in South Korea last year, can be heard online.

The album was produced by Father Giulio Neroni, an 80-year-old Italian priest who works at Multimedia San Paolo, a record company attached to the Society of Saint Paul, a Catholic congregation.

"Mine is a simple life, whose main ingredients are integrity, respect, honesty, priestly commitment and music... and why not... rock'n roll," Neroni said in a statement.

The priest also added that he sees music as an excellent tool for evangelization and that he chose the rock genre to accompany Francis' words "because it is the one that comes closest" to the Pope's style.

Most of the "songs" are in Spanish, the native language of the Buenos Aires-born pontiff. His speeches are most powerful in this language. When he calls out "The Church must go out on the street," for example, he is truly rocking the institution.

Part of the sales proceeds are to be donated to a refugee support fund.

eg/rf (dpa, epd)

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