Every year the World Youth Day takes places in different countries, bringing together children and adolescents from around the globe. The occasional performance is often staged, but not one such as this – rock and roll nuns.
Siervas, or “Servants”, has stormed the lines with millions of views on YouTube and hits on Spotify and iTunes, and are now set to perform at World Youth Day 2019 in Panama where Pope Francis himself will be in attendance.
Members of the band come from all around the world like Chile, Japan, Ecuador, China and Costa Rica; their keyboard player Sister Kathleen is from the Philippines. “This is another form of bringing our evangelical message, showing our strength – that’s to say, it’s also music that we like, it shows a lot about who we are,” says their guitarist Sister Ivonne, from Chile.
Siervas plays catchy Christian songs that sound pretty much like any other rock songs, but instead of the usual grunge look or black leather vests, the nuns stick to their much preferred black and white attires, complete with veils.
The band formed in Lima, Peru in 2014 when young musician nuns from different countries came together, according to violinist Sister Arisa, from Japan. Since then Siervas as been to 11 countries, changing its lineup then and there as the nuns choose to continue missionary work; but the Spanish-performing band is still based in Peru, where they also bring food to the homeless on the streets.
“We’re not just working in music, but we take the word of God and his consolation to the prisons, to the disabled,” says drummer Sister Daniela, from Costa Rica. And now they will get to take their mission to their biggest gig yet, at the World Youth Day celebrations in front of a global Catholic youth and Pope Francis.
“We want to reach as many people as possible, and if the pope is included in that, we’re more than satisfied,” says Ivonne. “Until now we have not been able to talk to the pope, we would love it if he approaches us”, she adds, as the band has performed at Pope Francis’ visits to Mexico and Peru, “I wouldn’t know what to say, I think I would faint.”
On their way to Panama, Siervas will perform at a women’s prison and several children’s cancer hospital and schools.
A version of this story from AFP was also posted on Manila Bulletin.