By Susan Gately - 09 September, 2016
"Today’s world is topsy turvy and there are still serious threats on the world stage. It’s a bewildering place for people. Music gives people a sense of calm, serenity and hope," says Fr Eugene O'Hagan.
The much awaited fourth album from the singing sensation, The Priests, is due out in October.
Fathers Eugene O’Hagan, Martin O’Hagan and David Delargy – collectively known as The Priests – were catapulted to fame when they signed with Sony BMG in 2008.
“It was all a bit of a whirlwind,” said Fr Eugene. “It was really accidental rather than by design. We went from obscurity to being very well known.”
For the first couple of years the men were very busy, trying to juggle ministry commitments with international concerts, road trips and recording time.
“The albums were released internationally which meant there was a lot of travel, which took us around the world. It was all very exciting,” Fr David Dalargy recalled.
Sony had invested a lot in the project. It was “very interesting and pleasant but very demanding and tiring as well”.
“We were trying to make sure all our duties in the parish were covered. After three albums, we decided it was time to reduce our travelling and spend more time in our parishes,” he added.
Coming from a background of the Troubles, the men have always believed in the healing and peace making power of music.
“Today’s world is topsy – turvy and there are still serious threats on the world stage. It’s a bewildering place for people. Music gives people a sense of calm, serenity and hope,” said Fr Eugene O’Hagan.
Their first album The Priests reached number one in Ireland and number 5 in the UK, scoring a platinum disc in both territories.
Their next album Harmony released in 2009, was also very successful reaching the top ten in Ireland and top 20 in the UK.
Speaking in advance of the release of Alleluia, due out on 7 October, Fr David said they were delighted to have the chance to record a new album.
“The last one was 2010, so it’s been a while. The whole process of trying to identify suitable music and get the creative juices flowing and arrange it so that it’s suitable for us is very stimulating. It’s been very good fun to be back in the recording studio.”
The new album is a mixture of traditional sacred hymns like Nearer My God To Thee, Cead Mille Failte Romhat, The Lord is my Shepherd and Be Thou My Vision, and well known folk and pop favourites like Morning Has Broken and Eleanor Rigby.
It also has classical favourites like the Halleluiah Chorus, Ave Verum and the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria.
According to the group’s publicist, the classical music trio have more projects in the pipeline and are hoping that the release of their fourth album will be followed by a feature film, called Raising the Roof.
But Fr Martin is not so sure the project will go ahead.
“Raising The Roof is a distinct possibility, it is in the pipeline but pipelines can be extremely long!”
For now, the men are focused on their new album and upcoming concerts in November and December in the United States, Northern Ireland and the UK.