Austrian monks ride high in charts

LONDON Sun May 25, 2008 7:01pm BST

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LONDON (Reuters) - A group of Austrian monks have entered the British album charts with a recording of Gregorian chants, the Official UK Charts Company said on Sunday.

The Cistercian monks of the Stift Heiligenkreuz monastery are Universal Classics' latest unlikely stars, entering the British album charts at number nine with their debut "Chant -- Music for Paradise".

It also clinched the top spot in the classical chart.

"We're overjoyed, and really did not think that so many people would like the album so much," said the order's Father Karl on Sunday.

"We hope that all who listen to it find calm and strength in those thousand-year-old melodies."

The money made from the album will be used to train priests from Vietnam and other poor countries, he said.

The monks were signed up by Universal -- the same record label as Amy Winehouse and Eminem -- after beating more than 200 entries from around the world with their YouTube video submitted in response to the label's advertisement for a choir.

The brothers' chants -- the oldest written form of music in the world -- are already believed to be a favourite of Pope Benedict.

But they failed to match the success of indie-rock band The Ting Tings, which went straight in at number one with their debut album.

The double act, Katie White and Jules de Martino, took the top spot with their first album "We Started Nothing", knocking Neil Diamond's "Home Before Dark" into second place.

The Ting Tings took number one in the singles chart last week with "That's Not My Name", but the track fell to second place on Sunday, switching places with Rihanna's "Take a Bow".

There was little change elsewhere in the singles chart.

The Ting Tings are the fifth British act this year to reach the top spot with a debut album. Just three artists -- Amy Winehouse, The View and Mika -- managed the feat in the same period last year.

English singer-songwriter Beth Rowley, born in Peru, was a third new entry in Sunday's album chart. She went in at number six with "Little Dreamer".

(Reporting by Jennifer Hill; editing by David Clarke)

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