Derry Priests and music sensations, Martin and Eugene O’Hagan, have proved to be the toast of both the music industry and Hollywood and are returning to their hometown for a special Christmas performance.
The O’Hagan brothers are two thirds of supergroup The Priests. Their show ‘Christmas With The Priests’ sees them and Fr. David Delargy singing much loved classics such as Ave Maria, Pie Jesu and Amazing Grace. The Priests will also perform tracks from their third album ‘Noel’ for the first time. So expect Ding Dong Merrily On High to O Come All Ye Faithful, Sussex Carol to Silent Night.
Despite having recorded great success ‘The Priests’ are reeling from what they are calling ‘Black Wednesday.’ That is the cancellation of their US tour this month.
The trio were to embark on a tour of 1,000 seater venues in the States this week but that was postponed until the Spring of 2012.
Fr Martin, whose father Frank still lives in the Waterside, said: “It is our black Wednesday, the reason we had to postpone was the dates clashed with some of our Irish tour. We are all very disappointed but considering the bad weather there, it may be a blessing in disguise. It will give us more time to rehearse though.
“In fact we watched Lady Gaga at the EMAs so we are thinking of adapting some of her costume changes,” he joked before adding, “particularly Fr. David, maybe we’ll get more avant garde and dress up in red carpet instead of appearing on it.”
The red carpet is a reference to the fact that a movie script ‘loosely based’ on the lives of the ‘holy singers’ has been commissioned.
“I know 20th Century Fox have expressed an interest in the project but other than that we know very little about it to be honest,” said Fr. Martin. “We know it is happening, we know that some screenwriters are holed up in France trying to create something. Please God we’ll meet them in the New Year however until then they wanted some space.
“We learned the idea was being mooted last summer and Please God it has taken hold.”So the obvious question is, who will play The Priests? “Well obviously Brad Pitt or if he isn’t available then Colin Farrell, Eugene is looking for George Clooney and David wants Liam Neeson to play him just so he can get the Ballymena accent right,” laughed Fr. O’Hagan.
In even more good news the three singers have just re-signed to Sony Record label. “Considering the challenges facing the music industry we are delighted.”
When The Priests released their eponymously-titled album back in 2008, they had little idea of what was about to happen to them. Three million records sold, three Classic Brit nominations, one Guinness World Record, a book, countless TV appearances and playing concerts to a global audience, little wonder Hollywood has sat up and paid attention.
It is especially surprising when one considers the boys are only ‘part-timers’ when it comes to performing. They balance their singing with their parish duties, all three are serving parish priests. “In fact the US tour was to be our holidays.”
Would they like to concentrate on the music full time? “That isn’t even an option. There is such a shortage of priests and so few numbers we have to do this all creatively. We have to pull together three separate diaries in order to make things happen so there is a lot of thinking outside the box. It really is a case of keeping a foot in each of two different worlds.” That is at least until they set out on their Irish tour. “We really can’t wait, we travelled a lot for the first few years but this year has been a different pace, a different type of journey. These gigs will be the first time we’ve played live since mid-2010. So we are very excited.” The band are also excited at the prospect of recording under Sony. “Hopefully we’ll get a chance to go into the studio in 2012. We are looking to bring out a new album so we are discussing if these should feature secular or sacred music or a hybrid.” The album will also feature as part of the proposed movie. “2012 will be exciting, I don’t think there is any doubt about that.”
The Priests are bringing their unique sound to The Millennium Forum on Saturday and Sunday December 17 and 18. Tickets from the box office on 71264455. The Derry Journal in association with our friends at Wonderland Promotions have two pairs of tickets for our lucky readers. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, phone number and tell us how many clergy are in The Priests?