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Joe MacCarthy

The Singing Nun Suor Cristina

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Worldwide YouTube phenom Suor Cristina does it again.  Kicks ass on a version of Girls Just Want to Have Fun and moves on in the Italian version of The Voice.

Didn't look like she appreciated the comment from one of the coaches about Sister Act, she's probably only heard that about a million times.

The Mother Superior got some rhythm  :)

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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Suor Cristina chalks up another knockout to the sound of Mariah Carey's Hero.  The song suits her but is not as flashy as previous performances.

Good comment offered up on YouTube that about sums it up.

"Suor Cristina sings very, very well, but there are other singers in the competition that match or even overcome her vocally and in stage presence. But none overcomes this halo of goodness and positivity she has and this loving energy that she imprints in each word she sings. It comes from the heart and everybody feels it. It can't be faked or rehearsed. Either you have it like Suor Cristina or you don't. And there isn't more captivating music than the one that comes from the heart!"
Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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Suor Cristina (SisterAx) and her Nun Posse are at it again.  This time in a version of "Flashdance... What a Feeling"  Have to say I thought this would be right up her alley but was a bit disappointed with the arrangement. 

However, upon watching it again it seemed to grow on me a little more but still seemed a little contrived (especially the cheese background dancers), maybe wavering a bit from the comment a YouTube poster made above.

There is still truth in her interpretation, though, and the choreographers should take more advantage of her dance training (as they did somewhat in this video) because she can really move and doing it covered up in a habit strangely accentuates it.

The Nun Posse is still ratings gold.

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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A Singing Nun for a Reality TV World
Jim Yardley The New York Times May 6, 2014

ROME - A true if unlikely tale: Young woman enrolls at a drama school sponsored by nuns, where the artistic director is a former Italian erotic film actress who redirected her career after a religious awakening. The students are selected to perform before the pope at St. Peter’s Square, but during rehearsals the young woman fractures an ankle.

Unable to perform, the young woman, Cristina Scuccia, acts on a persistent spiritual tug and commits to becoming a nun. She travels to Brazil to work with poor children and then returns to Italy to live quietly in a convent in Milan. Except she is still a talented singer, so talented that she wins a Christian singing competition, and then auditions on March 19 for Italy’s version of the television show “The Voice.”

There, dressed in a full habit, with the crowd on its feet and a tattooed rap-star judge fighting back tears, she belts out a hip-shaking rendition of “No One,” by Alicia Keys, that brings down the house and quickly goes viral on the Internet, topping 47 million views on YouTube. Gossip magazines have splashed her on their covers in her habit and featured her in articles.

“It’s a very good piece of content,” said a smiling Marco Tombolini, a producer of the program, who has seen its ratings jump sharply. “It just is.”

“Content” is the digital-age euphemism for what once was called a story, and in Italy few stories match that of Sister Cristina, who is now 25. Both Ms. Keys and Whoopi Goldberg, the star of “Sister Act,” the 1992 comedy hit about singing nuns, have offered praise on Twitter. Sister Cristina has since won a “battle round” by outdueling another contestant during a duet of Cyndi Lauper’s 1980s hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and more recently sang “Hero,” by Mariah Carey. Her next appearance is expected on Wednesday night.

What once was nothing more than a singing show with mediocre ratings has become a TV phenomenon in Italy, with no shortage of potential story lines: Will Sister Cristina survive until the final round in early June? Will she convert her singing coach — the Italian rapper J-Ax — to Catholicism? And why has her appearance stirred such a huge reaction in Italy and beyond?

“My dream was to be a singer,” Sister Cristina told ANSA, the state news agency, in her only interview. “The Lord has made use of my wish to call me to him, and is taking me to realize my dream in a way that I could have never imagined.”

To some observers, the success of Sister Cristina is another byproduct of the new tone established during the first year of the papacy of Pope Francis. If it once might have seemed inappropriate for a nun to even appear on the show — an issue still stirring discussion on different Catholic websites — now the outpouring of public support is seen as more proof of the so-called Francis effect.

“There is a tendency for music to need to be transgressive,” said the Rev. Raffaele Giacopuzzi, artistic director of the Good News Festival, the Christian singing competition won by Sister Cristina last year. “But today faith is the last transgression. So the time was ripe, but no one noticed.”

Others see savvy programming. Aldo Grasso, television critic for Corriere della Sera, the Milan daily, said that reality shows occasionally produced viral singing sensations, such as Susan Boyle in Britain, but that the producers of “The Voice” also “were smart to exploit the fact that there is a popular pope who speaks to the faithful using popular language.”

He added: “The web is strange, because she went viral. The ‘Sister Act’ model, the nun that can sing, is always intriguing.”

Early in the year, as “The Voice” was looking for competitors to give a boost to the new season, the show’s creative director, Pasquale Romano, was scouring the Internet when he came across a video of Sister Cristina. He was stunned, and the staff invited her to sing in a conference room at the production company’s office in Rome.

“It was not just picking a nun,” said Mr. Tombolini, the producer. “It was picking that specific nun. She is young. She is talented. She fits perfectly the spirit of the show.”


Having grown up in Sicily, Sister Cristina was not yet a nun in 2008 when she played the role of Sister Rosa in a musical to celebrate the anniversary of the Ursuline Sisters of the Holy Family. She was spotted by Claudia Koll, who had starred in the 1992 erotic film “Così Fan Tutte,” which was released internationally as “All Ladies Do It,” but who had since returned to the Roman Catholic Church and was starting a drama school at a nunnery in Rome.

“When I saw Cristina, I realized she should be one of the first ones” to enroll, Ms. Koll said. “She had the ability to reach people’s hearts, to communicate with people. And she had a beautiful voice.”

At the beginning of Sister Cristina’s March 19 appearance on “The Voice,” the camera focused briefly on her sensible nun’s shoes as the judges perked up at the sound of her voice and the roar of the crowd. The show’s gimmick is that during these early auditions, the four judges sit with their backs to the performers. Then, if they like the voice, they hit a button, and their chairs spin so they can face the singer.

The first judge to hit the button for Sister Cristina was J-Ax, who is now serving as her coach in the competition. Once a self-proclaimed bad boy, J-Ax began to tear up. A man who grew up idolizing Run DMC and Public Enemy saw in Sister Cristina a different sort of rebel, “somebody breaking the rules, and doing it in a joyful and cheerful way.”

He also came to another realization: “Whoa,” he remembered thinking, “this is going to blow everybody’s minds.”

Now, more than 400 media outlets have called seeking interviews with Suor Cristina, as she is known in Italy. She has remained at her convent in Milan, except when she is rehearsing with J-Ax, who said he promised the convent’s mother superior that he would protect his protégée from the evils of show business. He also said that once the show ran its course, he would talk to her about spirituality.

“The light in her eyes makes me curious,” he said. (Asked about J-Ax during her interview with ANSA, Sister Cristina shrugged off any suggestion that he was “a devil,” calling him “attentive” and “very sensitive.”)

“The Voice” still has weeks to go, with the promise of higher and higher ratings when Sister Cristina appears. The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” program roughly quadrupled the ratings the show had registered before she joined it in March, which raises a tantalizing question: Will anyone dare vote her off the show?

After the duet, the decision of which woman would advance, Sister Cristina or the other singer, was left to J-Ax. He chose Sister Cristina. Before his decision, one of the other judges, Raffaella Carrà, praised Sister Cristina and laughingly told her not to worry.

“I’m convinced J-Ax will choose you,” Ms. Carrà said. “Otherwise, he’ll go to hell!”

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SisterAx and the Nun Posse, on the air again, this time with an Italian song "Uno su mille" (One in a Thousand).  Seemed to be a hit with the Italian folk.

The lyrics speak of a strong desire for redemption and is an invitation not to give up when faced with difficulties of life, that life - with all its ups and downs - is compared to the tide (Wikipedia).

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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SisterAx (sans Nun Posse) sings "Livin' on a Prayer"  YouTube comments seemed favourable but IMO it was her worst performance yet.  She seemed out of tune (she played with her IFB earpiece) and her English mispronunciations (understandably) were particularly noticeable with this song.
Having said that, I retract my comments about her performance of "Flashdance... What a Feeling".  Having seen it a few times it is really good but I don't think I'll be retracting anything about Livin' on a Prayer"  Just didn't work, IMO

Maybe she needed the Nun Posse around :)

Edit:  Nun Posse was around just not in this video, not sure if they liked the song choice.

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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God forbid (pardon the expression) I thought Suor Cristina lost to a fat rapper.  She didn't, she's on to the finals.  Kind of confusing when you don't speak Italian and the subtitles are useless.  To wit, the fat rapper said "I won that fag"  Most interesting.

SisterAx goes to the final by singing "I had the time of my life" from Dirty Dancing.  Just a real nice rendition with some tasteful background dancers.  She does so much better with Italian songs though as she really knows how to sell them.  Her English pronunciation sometimes gets in the way in the English songs but she can still sell them too (but not as well as the Italian)

You can really see her confidence and her emoting improve on the Italian song Sally by Vasco Rossi.

Will be interesting to see if she gets Susan Boyle-d (loses the competition but wins in the end)

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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Sister Cristina will face the final judgment… on The Voice
Carol Glatz Catholic News Service May 29, 2014

ROME — Regardless of all the jokes that voting for anyone other than Suor Cristina would incur excommunication, it seemed to be a given that Ursuline Sister Cristina Scuccia would make it to the finals of The Voice of Italy.

Even her Team J-Ax “opponent,” Dylan Magon, said in a behind-the-scenes preview that he was looking at the semi-finals show last night as his last hurrah.

Sadly, Dylan and Sister Cristina — the two final contestants on J-Ax’s team — had been the targets of widespread and often vicious criticism on social media for weeks.

Racist comments were directed against 21-year-old Dylan who was born in Palermo, Sicily, and whose parents are from the island of Mauritius,  and “haters” looked at 25-year-old Sister Cristina’s continued presence on the show, not as a sign of her promising talent, but as a showbiz gimmick to pull in viewers.

On each show, J-Ax delivered a heartfelt appeal for people to rise above the prejudice and pettiness.

“I want to live in an Italy like this: where I - an atheist rapper, can showcase, with all due respect, a nun being embraced by an Italian with Mauritian roots. I want to live in this kind of Italy,” he said last night to great applause.

He also addressed criticism that Sister Cristina shouldn’t be wearing her habit on stage, but should assume a more “neutral” presence.

J-Ax condemned assertions that her religious dress was some kind of costume put on for show, and said it was an authentic part of her true and full identity.

“It’s like Superman,” whose pretend costume is the normal everyday clothing of Clark Kent, to blend in with the crowd and cover up his true super hero essence, J-Ax said.

Sister Cristina shouldn’t hide her true nature as a religious, was his message: “If  you want the voice, you have to take the whole package.”

An unexpected, but endearing part of that package has been her ability to make this tattooed rap star get teary-eyed every time she sings.

He said on a talk show this week that Sister Cristina has been “one of the most wonderful and wholesome things that has ever happened in my career.”

While Sister Cristina’s rendition last night of  “(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life” got the most attention on YouTube, her cover of Vasco Rossi’s “Sally” in her later round was exceptional.

It’s a song about a woman who has suffered at the hands of others. But despite all the ill-will and the mistakes she’s made, she finds the inner strength to rise above the “madness” and carry on. She bravely accepts the sometimes cruel reality (the rain), while the critics and weak-kneed hide in their homes, content and wrapped-up in the pretend world of TV.

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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Singing nun wins Italian television talent show
au.news.yahoo.com June 6, 2014

Milan (AFP) - A cheery Catholic nun clinched an Italian television talent singing contest on Friday after winning millions of followers with her lively dance act and soulful renditions of pop classics.

Wearing her habit and a crucifix around her neck, Suor Cristina immediately thanked God for her victory in The Voice of Italy and recited an "Our Father" prayer to puzzlement among the organisers.

"I want Jesus to come in here!" said the wholesome 25-year-old with a self-effacing manner, who was dressed in the sensible black shoes and ankle-length black skirt she has worn throughout.

"My presence here is not up to me, it's thanks to the man upstairs!" said Suor Cristina after winning out against a 28-year-old long-haired hard rocker who had just performed "Stairway to Heaven".

Suor Cristina, a reformed rebel from Sicily who now lives with her order in Milan, has won a record contract with Universal although she has hinted she does not want a musical career.

"I'm not here to start a career but because I want to impart a message," said the soul sister, adding that she was following Pope Francis's calls for a Catholic Church that is closer to ordinary people.

She shot to fame in recent months in this predominantly Catholic country with her versions of songs like "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and "Time of My Life" from the film "Dirty Dancing".

It was a performance of Alicia Keys's "No One" that first drew attention in March and she sang it again on Friday to cheers from an audience that included nuns from her Ursuline Order.

There was some confusion when one panel judge -- rock star Pier Pelu -- joked she was the "devil incarnate", prompting the host to quickly step in saying this was intended with "maximum irony".

The talent show was also apparently being followed in the Vatican corridors of power, with top culture official Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi tweeting a quote from a Roman thinker: "If we commit injustice, God will leave us without music."

Suor Cristina has already sung alongside Kylie Minogue and Ricky Martin and Keys defined as "pure energy" Suor Cristina's performance, which received more than 50 million YouTube hits.

She has also received an endorsement from actress Whoopi Goldberg -- the star of the 1990s comedy "Sister Act" where she is a singer playing a nun.

But Suor Cristina still defined herself as a "humble servant" and ascribed her sudden success to a "thirst for joy" among television viewers.

"Since Pope Francis talks of a bible of joy I think I'm on the right track," she said on Wednesday in the run-up to the showdown.

- 'Mysterious and special force' -

Fame has brought media scrutiny to her past, including interviews with an ex-boyfriend and with Claudia Koll, the director of the musical academy where she trained -- herself an ex-starlet who is now a lay sister.

"Cristina's personal journey has brought her to maturity and artistic fullness thanks to a mysterious and special force. By giving herself to the Lord, she has enriched her art," Koll said in a recent interview.

Suor Cristina has said she used to rebel against religion when she sang in a band but was inspired to be a nun when she auditioned for a part in a musical about the founder of the Ursuline Order, Saint Angela Merici.

She became a novice in 2009 and worked for two years with poor children in Brazil before formally joining the order and still has to take her final vows.

She may have won audience hearts but her popularity is not universal, even in Italy and critics have ascribed her success more to novelty value than to genuine talent.

Singer Emma Marrone, who represented Italy in this year's Eurovision song contest, said the sensation surrounding the nun was "an insult to showbusiness".

Suor Cristina herself has hinted she might prefer a return to a "normal life" with her community in Milan, singing "with young people in church and in schools".

"I will continue to sing wherever the Lord wants," she said.

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Suor Cristina, Italy's singing nun, wins TV talent show
Cristina Scuccia, 25, recites Lord's Prayer after her win on The Voice of Italy, but has angered many traditional Catholics
Lizzy Davies in Rome, theguardian.com, 6 June 2014

Tears, tantrums, and tediously long speeches: all of these are the stuff of any good TV singing contest final. Rarely, however, does the Lord's Prayer feature. Then again, rarely is the contest won by a nun.

On Thursday night, to the surprise of almost no one, Cristina Scuccia, a 25-year-old Sicilian with a modest manner and a big voice, triumphed in the final of reality show The Voice of Italy.

Suor (Sister) Cristina, as she is almost universally known, had been the hot favourite ever since she debuted with Alicia Keys's No One in March.

When her victory was confirmed – at 62% it was even more of a landslide than prime minister Matteo Renzi's showing in the European elections, and possibly more heartfelt – she smiled and gave a cheerful thumbs up. Then, standing in her habit next to the bemused hosts, she started to recite the Lord's Prayer.

"The last word of thanks, the most important, goes of course to him in heaven," she said, moments before. "And my dream is to recite a Padre Nostro together … I want Jesus to enter into this."

A somewhat startled host reminded her that the programme was running over and "we have to finish!" But Scuccia, centre-stage in spectacles and flat black shoes, was having none of it.

In a success story that many have seen as fitting for the era of a popular, down-to-earth pope, Scuccia's appearance on the reality television show has gripped viewers in Italy since her blind audition.

That performance – which left the judges looking incredulous and programme directors, doubtless, suddenly seeing a potential blockbuster – went viral, and has had more than 51m views on YouTube.

Thursday's final garnered a 21% audience share for the public broadcaster's Rai 2 channel.

Some members of the audience at the final were wearing versions of Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster of Barack Obama, with Scuccia's face on them instead of that of the US president.

The celebrity of a nun in what has always been seen as a fiercely secular arena has not been without controversy among Catholic traditionalists. Perhaps in allusion to those critics, she gave thanks on Thursday night to those who had supported her through "a period that has certainly been difficult".

But Scuccia appears to have the blessing of the Vatican: shortly after her audition, the Italian cardinal in charge of the pontifical council for culture, Gianfranco Ravasi, posted a message of support for her on Twitter. "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others (1 Peter 4:10) #suorcristina," it read.

It is unclear what Scuccia's next step will be. As the winner of the show, she will reportedly be offered a contract with Universal, and her coach on the show, a tattooed rapper who goes by the name of J-Ax, suggested she release a song or album, and give the proceeds to charity.

But she was quoted as saying earlier this week that she would leave it up to her superiors to decide whether a career in showbusinesses was an appropriate activity for a nun. "I would also be very happy to go back to singing with the children in parish churches," she reportedly said.

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If anyone is wondering what became of the singing nun Suor Cristina, she has since released an album (included on which was her debut video "Like a Virgin") and has made numerous appearances.

She has gone somewhat trendy abandoning her sensible flat black shoes for a new set of kicks (black low top Chuck All Stars).  Here is an appearance on the Helene Fischer Show with Suor Cristina duetting a nice version of True Colors with the host.

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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A rock band like nun other: Siervas, the sister act with an international following
Their name Siervas — Spanish for 'the servants' — comes from the convent where the band was formed and still lives
Amy Taxin The Associated Press September 18, 2017

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — Eleven nuns take the stage wearing traditional black-and white habits but are anything but old school as they belt out songs to the ringing of electric guitar and a rock ‘n’ roll beat.


Known as “Siervas,” the band was born in a Peruvian convent three years ago and now travels far and wide to perform.

Of all the extraordinary things about Siervas the most remarkable may be they are not just a novelty. They have a genuine international following.

Their songs of love and faith have earned over a million YouTube views, led to the release of two CDs and now they are waiting to see if they are among the honourees when Latin Grammy nominations are announced Wednesday.

Siervas recently travelled to Southern California and drew 4,000 people when they headlined a Spanish-language Catholic music festival.

“Everyone was calling our office saying we want to see these nuns, when are they singing?” said Ryan Lilyengren, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which organized the event. “They’re sharing their message in a way people are willing to hear it.”

The nuns, who come from eight countries and range in age from 20s to 40s, insist they aren’t rock stars. But they certainly act the part when on stage performing to the electric guitar, steady drumbeat and catchy lyrics, uniformly smiling as silver crosses dangle from their necks.

Their name Siervas — Spanish for “the servants” — comes from the convent where the band was formed and still lives.

    They're sharing their message in a way people are willing to hear it

At first, they composed and played music together as a hobby after spending days praying with incarcerated women and the poor in Peruvian shantytowns.

When Siervas had enough original music they compiled a CD. That led to a concert performance that attracted local media attention in Peru and then invitations to perform in nearby Colombia and Ecuador. Interest skyrocketed on the internet and the group released a second CD.

Now, they rehearse together twice a week, melding upbeat lyrics with Latin pop and rock. Each nun also practices daily on her own, honing skills on instruments ranging from cello to electric guitar.

A YouTube video of the group standing on a rooftop helipad overlooking Lima, Peru, and belting out their song “Confia en Dios” — or “Trust in God” — has more than 1 million views.

The band’s popularity comes at a time when the Catholic Church and other religious organizations are seeking to draw younger people. Among America’s so-called millennial generation, more than a third reported no religious affiliation and only 16 per cent identified as Catholic, according to a 2014 study by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.

“Modern times have modern music,” said Sister Monica Nobl, a 40-year-old vocalist. “Pop-rock music is a kind of music we’ve heard all or lives. We grew up with that kind of music, so it’s also just natural to use it.”

Sister Andrea Garcia, 47, remembers listening to Michael Jackson when she was a college student. She thought she’d pursue a career in biology, but found faith instead.

“We think this music, or this genre, resonates with young people today,” said Garcia, a composer and vocalist from Argentina. “Our goal is that through the melodies, our lyrics will reach people.”

They sing in Spanish and their themes are Christian, but fans post messages to them on social media from Asia and Europe as well as Latin America. And while many fans are devout Catholics, others are from different denominations or even atheists, Garcia said.

Milagros Izagara, a 53-year-old real estate agent in Simi Valley, California, said she isn’t particularly religious but was drawn to the band’s songs encouraging unity.

“I am not a churchgoer, but I love this music,” said Izagara, who helped start a Peruvian community organization in Southern California. “I love it because they are breaking a paradigm. They are out of the box.”

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1 minute ago, Joe MacCarthy said:

A YouTube video of the group standing on a rooftop helipad overlooking Lima, Peru, and belting out their song “Confia en Dios” — or “Trust in God” — has more than 1 million views.

Good song and a nice message in a cynical world


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Some more pre Suor Cristina vid (2:07).  This thread has a lot of views so somebody seems interested in it and seeing as I didn't post to it for 6 months and then a year it is surprising to me why people are interested. 

Originally, I thought it was a cool story and posted about her on The Voice and this thread got a few views.  One thing I found fascinating was, when I posted the pics of her pre sisterhood the number of views skyrocketed.  Is this some sort of Superman/Clark Kent thing? :)


Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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Sor Ines had a mid 90s disco based hit Un Rayo de Sol.  She has some interesting moves and as we are seeing with Siervas is cute as a bug.  Catchy little tune for its time, but kinda strange.  She has a version of Dominique but even I have to draw the line somewhere :)


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Father Ray Kelly does a nice job of REM`s Everybody Hurts and the dude is retirement age.  He`s in the bookies` top three to win Britain`s Got Talent 2018 and I think he has some staying power as he`ll likely do his great version of Leonard Cohen`s Hallelujah next while the other`s may have already shot their load (pardon the expression).  But he`s Irish and a priest which likely means Britain will not vote for him.

They had two fantastic Irish choirs in the past two years and neither made it to the finals (one of which Simon Cowell was backing).  He`s backing Father Ray maybe because he saw what happened with Suor Cristina and her doubling and tripling of the ratings for Italy`s version of The Voice, unlikely to happen in this situation though.

Always good to see a performer who can quiet an audience and be very compelling. The video could have used some more audience reactions because if you look not at the main person on camera, but around them, they were captivated.


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