There's a reason for the rhyme, insists the rapping reverend
The parishioners of Uplyme in Devon are sticklers for yuletide tradition: get up, turkey in the oven, glass of Buck's Fizz, open the presents... then it's off to church through the morning mist to listen to the human beatboxing vicar.
The Reverend Gavin Tyte delivered a hip-hop version of the gospel according to St Luke to his congregation at Uplyme Church near Lyme Regis.
His Beatbox Nativity, in which he raps the Christmas story over a beat laid own by a beatboxing shepherd, has won him a flock far beyond the geographical constraints of his ministry through viral online videos.
Beatboxing involves using the mouth and the natural voice, with a microphone, to mimic drum beats and record scratching effects, musical instruments and production studio effects.
"People love it," said Reverend Tyte. "It's a translation of the bible in rhyme. If you rhyme, people listen."
Reverend Tyte says it was not God who called him to the mic and that he has been "spitting lyrics" far longer than sermons – since he was eight, in fact. He was ordained in 2002, while working as a music teacher at Farnborough College, Hampshire, and regularly indulges his other passion, both pursuits both sacred and profane.
"I'm only a part-time vicar. Four days a week I'm in church. Then I do two days of my own music production," he says. "I'll get rung up by a school who'll say, 'We just want a beatboxer to come in and do beatboxing workshops,' but inevitably I'll get roped in to do an RE lesson. I do electronica music production for the Bible Society too."
The Beatbox Nativity has been viewed by 110,000 people on Youtube, considerably more than could ever fit into Uplyme Church and with lines like: "No hotel, motel, custom baby-changer / She wrapped the baby up and laid him in a manger," it's a wonder it isn't more.
The vicar sits across a triple split screen, dressed as an angel, a shepherd and as himself in a dog collar. The lyrics appear above a panel indicating the relevant biblical passage.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has called Reverend Tyte's work "pretty impressive".
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Christmas 2014: The three most intriguing celebrity panto appearances
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage from Lana Del Rey rape video
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track