I’ve been waiting until Easter to post this heart-warming video of an Irish priest singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah for newly married couple, Chris and Leah O’Kane.
Father Ray Kelly, the parish priest of Oldcastle, Meath told couple Chris and Leah O’Kane he had a small surprise them during the ceremony.
At their wedding last Saturday, Fr Kelly began a note perfect rendition of Leonard Cohen’s/Jeff Buckleys Hallelujah. The talented priest is no stranger to singing and is currently working on his third album he told Evoke.ie.
Fr Kelly had no trouble hitting any of the high notes, even having time to have a little joke with the bride and groom. He received a rapturous applause following the song and received a standing ovation from some of the congregation.
The song found greater popular acclaim through a cover by John Cale, which later formed the basis for a cover by Jeff Buckley. It is the subject of the book The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah” (2012) by Alan Light. In a New York Times review of the book, Janet Maslin praises the book and the song, noting that “Cohen spent years struggling with his song ‘Hallelujah.’ . . . He wrote perhaps as many as 80 verses before paring the song down.”
Many cover versions have been performed by many and various singers, both in recordings and in concert, with over 300 versions known. The song has been used in film and television soundtracks, and televised talent contests. It is often called one of the greatest songs of all time
Father Kelly customized the lyrics for the happy couple. Here is the wonderful result. (The video starts off with the tail ending of a gorgeous duet of “Be Now My Vision”.)
Kelly was later interviewed on the radio about the video that went viral.
Father Ray’s Lyrics: