The stage was set, Swiss guards provided the security and the ogling fans were in place at the Vatican on Thursday (5 November). But this time the religious world took a backseat as Pope Francis made his big break into the music world.
The 78-year old Argentine pope released his first album entitled Wake Up! at a rather solemn ceremony within the Vatican walls, unfortunately not attended by the star himself. The pontiff's foray into the music world is a selection of his public speeches, put to various styles of music ranging from pop and rock to Latin chants. The pope's simple, down-to-earth style served as inspiration for the album, explained producer and artistic director Don Giulio Neroni.
"The idea was born from the moment that Pope Francis came out on the balcony and said 'dear brothers and sisters, good evening'. With that 'good evening' I saw that this pope was completely different from all the others because for 2,000 years a pope that comes out on the balcony does not say 'good evening', he says something like 'may the Lord be with you', 'may peace be with you', but this one said 'good evening'," he said.
Composers Dino Doni and Toni Pagliuca, meanwhile, said they hoped their arrangements would help lend support to the pope's words. "We took into consideration Pope Francis's speeches, speeches he made in various countries around the world, with diverse themes. We hope we have delivered a different arrangement for this work but also that we have managed to maintain the emotional and psychological aspect of the pope. The music may in some way help to deliver the message of Pope Francis," said Doni.
Wake Up! contains 11 tracks featuring the pope's speeches and prayers. It will be released in Italy on 6 November and comes at a recommended retail price of €15.99 (£11.44, $17.39). The producers said Wake Up! will later receive a worldwide release.