The BBC is reporting that Universal Music has ended its search for “monks, men of the cloth and sacred singers”. The Heiligenkreuz monastery won after submitting a YouTube clip. The Cistercian monastery, in the Vienna woods, is home to 80 monks and dates back to 1133.
Universal A&R executive Tom Lewis told the BBC News website he had been “blown away” by the quality of the monks’ singing:
These guys found about the competition through a friend of theirs in London and they sent a link of their monastery and of them singing on YouTube. It was beautiful, beautiful music and they’re using the very latest in terms of communication devices available to them to get their music heard. They’re lovely people, they’re very passionate about their music and they’re very excited about this opportunity. They feel it’s an opportunity for this music, that’s obviously so special to them, to be heard.
This is slightly bizarre – it doesn’t fit with our preconceived thoughts on the world, where monks can’t be up-to-date and know how to use technology, let alone youtube, and that a major record company would specifically want monks singing Gregorian chant. Something there about how we should dispel those boxes that we try and put people into!