La Voz del Desierto en The Catholic Universe

Nos ha entrevistado Geraldine Durrant para The Catholic Universe, un periódico católico de Manchester (Reino Unido).

La Voz del Desierto en The Catholic Universe

La Voz del Desierto en The Catholic Universe

Meet rockers of the Church on a roll with their latest release

At first glance the latest video from the Spanish rock band La Voz del Desierto appears typical of the genre. Set in a scene of graffiti-ridden urban decay, the sevenstrong line-up of darkly handsome musicians beat out a powerful rythmn as motorcycles and a helicopter punctuate their close-ups.

But listen closely to the lyrics – sung by the band members in English for the first time – and it becomes apparent these are no regular rockers, even before their redemption- by-love-lyrics give way to glimpses of priestly dog collars and a crucifix. And that is probably because, unlike most rock bands, this one was started at the request of a bishop and features three priests – Frs Alberto, Julio and Curry from the Spanish diocese of Alcalá de Henares – in its line-up.

The band was formed ten years ago after Alcalá’s Bishop Jesús Catalá said he wanted to hold a celebration for the young people of the diocese. “He said that ‘to be a Catholic, is not to be a sad person’ and so after a youth day devoted to confession and shared prayer he wanted to end with a party where everybody was happy – singing, jumping and dancing,” recalled Fr Alberto who was working at the diocesan seminary at the time.

Now 42 and still playing electric guitar, Fr Alberto approached two of his seminarians and asked if they would join a band for the event. Fr Julio, 38 and now serving the villages of Brea de Tajo and Estremera, agreed to play bass guitar. And Fr Curry, 38, whose parish is Torrejón de Ardoz, was recruited as a singer.

Since then the line-up has been joined by four lay members– 33-year-old singer Dani and 27-year-old Alex on the electric guitar, both of whom are engineers, and Jose who at 22 is the youngest of the group and studies Chemistry at Alcala University. Completing the line-up is Pedro, 52, a professional musician who plays keyboards.

The band rehearses on Sunday evenings after all Masses have been celebrated and over the past ten years have made three very successful albums. The first, Hágase En Mí Tu Voluntad, was produced in 2005 and was, says Alberto, a rewarding experience for the novice rockers. “Recording our first album was a marvellous experience. It was a compilation of songs we had done previously and we were very proud of our work.”

A second album of original songs followed, Hacia Una Luz, but it was their third which Alberto considers their first truly professional work and the one of which he is most proud. La Llamada (The Call) took a year to compose and features songs which explore the theme of vocation. “We had a specific aim in mind – to play at World Youth Day held in Madrid in 2011. “It was fantastic. Amazing. And we played some of our songs just before the appearance of the Pope who arrived to meet all the volunteers.”

Their inspiration is grounded in the Catholic faith, but Fr Alberto believes that it is the band’s different backgrounds and experience which makes their music so interesting and diverse. “Between us, we all have varied styles and we all like different kinds of music which we think is enriching.” Their blend of rock and religion has won the band a worldwide following – even if audiences don’t always believe that they really are priests. “People are often so surprised when they see us perform that we have often been asked if we really are priests or are just wearing a costume,” laughed Fr Alberto.

La Voz del Desierto have a worldwide YouTube following and their fame is also growing rapidly in America where they have been invited to tour. “As priests it is not easy for us to leave our parishes, but we hope to be able to go to America one day soon – even if it is only on our holidays!”

But whatever the future holds for La Voz del Desierto, the priestly trio’s first priority remains their calling to lives of prayer and service.

See the band’s latest release, The Lord Gets Me Up Again, on YouTube

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