Are there rappers in India
This is not how you imagine a monk: The Viennese Franciscan monk Sandesh Manuel tries to inspire young people with hip hop - with his music and his faith. You can also rap at the altar.
DOMRADIO.DE: You rap in several languages on your YouTube channel. How would you describe your music?
Father Sandesh Manuel OFM (Franciscan monk): St. Francis was a troubadour. He was a little crazy. Crazy through and with God. And he discovered this new way of simply praising God - for example, he was in a forest and picked up two sticks. Then he played the violin with it and said: Lord, God, you are above everything to me, important and I don't need an instrument to praise you. And for me it's similar. I was looking for a way of expression and I found that in rap. Because in rap I can say anything I want and that suits me very well.
DOMRADIO.DE: You already say that in rap you can say anything you want to say. Why does that fit so well with the church?
Manuel: It fits really well, because the church already has a message. For me the most important thing is: I am human! I am how I am. There are also parts of my life where there is a lot of quiet time. And then also some where I can laugh. You need these two sides for a real person. And the church also needs both sides in order to be able to say something clearly. Even in the silence, with this slower and quiet music that you can enjoy. Both sides should not be separated. I personally like both types of music. But this new one somehow fits with the young people in the church. It has become a kind of language that young people understand better.
DOMRADIO.DE: Exactly, it's about the youth here. Especially in one of your videos you dance in your habit with a cap on your head together with many young people. How are the reactions to your music?
Manuel: Differently. A lot of people in the churches find this a little difficult. Because it is not so common for a monk to do such a thing. When you think of a monk, many think of Gregorian chant - and I sing that too. For example Pange Lingua. This will be uploaded on January 1st. But I also like to sing rap and it works really well. The monk's habit looks very cool and goes very well with a rapper.
DOMRADIO.DE: The song the video is about is called "Hambalisu". That's a good mood song in two languages. Why is it so important to you to combine several languages in your songs?
Manuel: Because I am originally from India. The sung is my mother tongue, which is called Kannada or is recorded in the dictionary by a German who was a missionary in India. And the song "Hambalisu" is about following your golden dreams. I am in Austria and I use several languages there: German, English and Kannada. With it everything is possible to pass on simple messages. Many people who do not come to church are very excited. Usually nobody searches for Christian songs on YouTube if they have nothing to do with God. You're more likely to look for rap songs and then all of a sudden you find this crazy monk. But they also find content or a message from the Bible. And that's where things get interesting - that's my goal.
Julia Reck conducted the interview
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