Born in the late '70s in the small, central Italian village of Castiglione della Valle, Alessandro Brustenghi studied music from the age of nine, initially focusing on composition and the organ before concentrating on singing. During this period he developed a love not only for the music of such disparate figures as Michael Jackson and Bach, but also for the poetry and song of St. Francis of Assisi. From the age of 14 onwards he took part in choral singing and, following an intense period of practice and study in his late teens, his voice reached its full potential. Upon completing a music diploma, Brustenghi entered the Franciscan Order, where he went on to teach singing and spend time restoring various musical instruments such as harmoniums. Brustenghi grabbed headlines when he secured a major deal with Decca Records — who marketed him as Friar Alessandro — and the resultant Voice from Assisi entered the U.K. album chart in October 2012. Recorded at Abbey Road and produced by Mike Hedges — who had worked with everyone from the Cure to Martha Wainwright and Russell Watson to the Priests, and who had discovered Brustenghi — the album showcased his rich tenor and featured a wealth of spiritual material, including arrangements from Stephen Baker and Paul Mealor.
- Perugia, Italy