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Musical evangelist sets Da Vinci to music

By Reed Stevenson

india Updated: May 13, 2006 19:03 IST

The Da Vinci Code is a goldmine not only for its creators but for a host of others producing spinoff merchandise like video games and guided tours that narrowly avoid using the novel's full title.

A new addition to the lengthening list is a CD called Music Inspired by Da Vinci -- after all, you can't copyright the Renaissance master's name.

Dutch songwriter and producer Jan Kisjes said he composed the collection of 14 songs with religiously slanted titles like Fear of the Unknown and Revelation o' the Truth to get people to re-examine Christianity and their faith.

"I am a musical evangelist," said Kisjes, 46, in his studio in the Dutch village of Dalfsen. "I think this book has opened the eyes of people."

The plot of The Da Vinci Code, which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, entertains the idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had a child, a theory that has prompted an outcry among Christian groups.

Vatican officials have called for a boycott of the novel and the forthcoming Hollywood adaptation starring Tom Hanks, on general release from May 19.

Da Vinci Inc, as the Da Vinci Code spinoff industry has come to be known, has thrived off the controversy, generating related products worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Like much of that merchandise, Kisjes' CD does not explicitly refer to the book or the movie, despite the fact that the film and the CD share the same corporate parent, Sony Corp.

"The book was one of the inspirations, but it was so much more than that," said Jurgen Post of Sony BMG in the Netherlands.

With the hype surrounding the book, the CD is sure to be featured on the shelves of music stores alongside the soundtrack to the movie, by Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer.

Post said Sony BMG was aiming for sales of 250,000 for Inspired by Da Vinci in over 38 countries.

"I really don't know how many CDs we're going to sell," said Kisjes, "I hope it's a lot."

First Published: May 13, 2006 19:03 IST