The Newest Genre of Music Is Catholic Ambient Dubstep. Really.

CDs from The Priests of Beat — an electronic album with vocals by priests and nuns — are being sold outside the World Meeting of Families.

Catholic Dubstep

Photo | Dan McQuade

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When you think Catholic music, you probably think of church hymns or maybe even Gregorian chants. One group at the World Meeting of Families is trying to change that. The Priests of Beat, a DJ project that has been selling CDs on Arch Street all week, is attempting to bring Catholic ambient dubstep to the masses.

“The vocals are priests and nuns,” says Sarah, the woman selling the CDs who declined to give her last name. “We’re trying to put out a music that is the modern rhythm sound — you got, chill, trance, EDM, progressive house, some ambient dubstep — and infuse it with the inspiration of the holy spirit.”

The lyrics are from scriptures and Catholic prayers. Priests of Beat CDs go for $10 on Arch Street.

Priests of Beat 2

Photo | Dan McQuade

Sarah is from Nevada, but says she spends most her time volunteering abroad with Catholic organizations. She teaches dance, music and martial arts and works with the homeless. She and her brother, a DJ, discovered the Priests of Beat earlier this year. “Literally, this group is brand new,” she said. “We don’t even have a website.” The Priests of Beat do have a Facebook page.

The Priests of Beat hope to offer an alternative to more mainstream electronic music for Catholics and other Christians. “We can give the youth today — really, anyone who loves music — a music that’s going to move you, that’s going to inspire you and that’s also going to edify your spirit and that doesn’t push you away from him,” Sarah says. “A lot of the music out there today, you love the rhythm and you love to listen to it, but the lyrics are just contradictory to everything we believe in.”

Christian music is a better-known genre; the last explicit Catholic album to be a big hit is probably Chant, the 1994 album by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos. Sarah says Christian rock has some good lyrics, but she’s not a fan of the music.

“Music varies so much across the board, and a lot of the protestant, evangelical music it’s got some good lyrics, but a lot of it is very commercial,” she says. “I don’t want to offend anybody, but it’s not my kind of music. I look for the deeper rhythms of the ambient dubstep. I love dance music. I train a lot for marathons, so I want something that fits my pace that I can move to. For me hearing this music — there’s a depth there. You want to give somebody a depth of spirit and a depth of music.”

Sarah and her Priests of Beat table will be outside the Convention Center through the weekend.