04/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Chanting Gregorian Monks Land Record Deal Off Of YouTube Clip

All it took was an e-mail, and a group of 15 monks from a 12th-century Austrian monastery secured a recording contract with Universal Music, the label for pop stars such as Amy Winehouse and Eminem.

The monks -- from the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz (The Holy Cross) in the Vienna woods -- were notified by a friend in London that Universal was on the look-out for a so-called Choralschola, a group that sings Gregorian Chant.

"We didn't have much hope of securing a deal", a spokesman for the monks, Father Philipp-Neri Gschanes, told AFP.

"But we applied via an e-mail containing links to our website and to a YouTube video that one of our brothers had made for us," he explained.

Universal executive Tom Lewis said the company had detected an upsurge in interest in Gregorian chant -- one of the oldest forms of western music dating as far back as the 4th century -- thanks to a best-selling computer game, Halo, which features plainchant in its soundtrack.

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