Northern Ireland

The Priests: Holy row averted over gig promotion mix-up

The Priests are a religious music trio from Northern Ireland
Image caption The Priests - Fr Eugene O'Hagan, Fr David Delargy and Fr Martin O'Hagan - are a religious music trio from Northern Ireland

A member of religious music group The Priests has admitted to being "a bit surprised" after a music promoter mixed them up with a US punk band.

The Priests are classical music singers from Northern Ireland, while Priests are a punk outfit from Washington DC.

Photos of the three NI clerics appeared on Songkick and other music websites to promote the punk band's 2017 US tour.

Fr Eugene O'Hagan said some fans has been contacting them over how to get tickets for their non-existent US gigs.

"We were taken a bit by surprise, needless to say," he told BBC's Good Morning Ulster.

"It would be a whole new audience if we walked out on stage. Or if they walked out on stage, with our fan base, there might be a few heart attacks in the audience."

The Northern Ireland trio - Fr Eugene, his younger brother Fr Martin O'Hagan and Fr David Delargy - are more used to an audience with the Pope than playing to punk fans.

To date, they have sold more then 3.5m records worldwide and have sung for Pope Francis, the British Royal Family and the Irish president.

When classical music fans spotted photos of the clerics beside the punk band's tour schedule, Fr Martin O'Hagan was quick to point out it had nothing to do with them.

In a Facebook post to his fans on Monday, he said they were trying to get things "straightened out as soon as possible".

"They're a very different band from us. I Googled them the other evening to find that they're described as singing with tempered tension, thoughtful rage and relentless energy.

"I think the only thing we have in common with them might be the relentless energy."

Image copyright Fr O'Hagan/Facebook
Image caption Fr Martin O'Hagan warned fans about the mix-up on his Facebook account

Fr Eugene added that it's not the first time the singing priests have been confused with another group.

"There's another band called The Priests in America as well, they work out of New York City.

"We've been confused with them before and they with us. They general dress in kind of black leather jackets and studded shirts but, as you know, our outfit is very different."

Fr Eugene has not met any members of Priests, but has seen photographs of the American group, and said the punks must be "equally bemused" by the comparisons.

"They are the complete antithesis of what our constituency would expect," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Priests recreated The Beatles' famous pose when they recorded their second album, Harmony, at Abbey Road studios in 2009

The cleric also wondered what the punk band thinks of promoters using a photo of "three angelic-looking priests staring into candles" to advertise their gigs.

In a statement to BBC News NI, a Songkick spokeswoman said: "We've removed the events from Songkick with immediate effect.

"This is an example of an event that was aggregated into Songkick from an external source - something like this happens very rarely, but when it does, the imports deal with acts that have the same name incorrectly, which is what happened here."

She added: "We work to catch these errors as quickly as possible."

The Priests signed their first record deal in 2008 and that same year, their self-titled debut album was a number five UK hit.

Two years later, they teamed up with Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan to record a version of Christmas song Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.

US band Priests are expected to release their debut album, Nothing Feels Natural, in January.

They have lined up a 2017 tour of North America to support the release.

Related Topics

More on this story