Alessandro Brustenghi (born in Assisi, Italy in 21 April 1978) also known as Friar Alessandro or at times Brother Alessandro (in English), Frate Alessandro (in Italian) or Frère Alessandro (in French) is an Italian Franciscan friar and a tenor singer of religious music. He is also the first religious brother to land an exclusive record contract with a major record label, in this case Universal Music.
Friar Alessandro's debut album is called Voice from Assisi (in Italian La voce da Assisi or in French La voix d'Assise). It was released on 15 October 2012. The initial single is a double-A side release, the tracks "Panis Angelicus" and "Sancta Maria". The first is the penultimate strophe of the hymn Sacris solemniis written by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Feast of Corpus Christi and the second is from Cavalleria rusticana .
Alessandro Brustenghi started playing music when he was just 9, wanting to becoming a percussionist. He started learning to play the piano and organ at 14. He also took part in choirs, but never as a lead singer. At 21, he joined the Franciscan order and sang in the order at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli at Assisi, Italy where he worked as a joiner-carpenter.
The friars first noticed his beautiful tenor voice when he had to pass a vocal exam to enter the ministry. Some of his recordings were introduced to Mike Hedges (producer to U2, Dido, The Cure, Manic Street Preachers amongst others) who, after hearing his voice, offered him to produce an album in Abbey Road Studios. that would include sacred music, both traditional and contemporary.
To record the album, Frère Alessandro had to take a plane to London. This was the first time ever he had traveled by air. Also, true to his pledge of poverty, Frère Alessandro refused to receive any monetary compensation for the sale of his album. Any profits from sales go to the Order of Friars Minor as a registered charity to assist Franciscan charity activities in different parts of the world. Friar Alessandro isn't allowed to travel far from the monastery to promote the album.
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