Our Band

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When we formed our band we had three issues that were important for us –

First of all, we were looking for players with a broad musical interest and a wide experience. We wanted to develop our own style of music and we needed a band that could be part of that development. We needed players with a musical confidence, strong enough to see the music from a Secret Garden perspective and see their role as part of a musical concept.

Secondly, we wanted players who could be part of a long-time musical commitment. Around the time we started, I worked with a lot of the most sought-after players in Norway. In a way it could have been tempting to choose from these top players, but I was hesitant going down that road. I discussed this with Fionnuala, and we agreed that working with a band of popular session players, and players involved in many other popular projects, would only create difficulties for our selves at some point. We wanted to form a band where Secret Garden would be the main priority; musicians who could would regard Secret Garden as an important career opportunity.

Third, and not the least important point: we wanted a group of players that could blend socially, be friends on tour on- and off-stage, and work and travel together without any big egos or friction. When you work with top players, musically and technically, it’s not always easy to find your position inside the group of talented people. There can be a lot of individual concerns upsetting a perfect musical and social balance, especially when all the players are artists in their own right. To have a band without conflicting interests was so important.

We were blessed to find our band members very soon; they fell into place in a very natural way.

Rhtyhm Section

Rolf Kristensen

Rolf Kristensen

band_rolf_kThe most consistent part of the group is our rhythm section. Our guitar player Rolf Kristensen has been there since the very first concert in 1995. Apart from a temporary teaching commitment as an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California, he has played every concert with us. In fact, when he was gone for 6 months, we chose to tour without replacing him. It would be too complicated to sub for him. When he is not touring with Secret Garden, he’s an Associate Professor at the University of Agder (UIA) in Kristiansand, teaching guitar.

He’s a very versatile player with jazz and contemporary music as his forte. He can also do a great classical acoustic guitar arrangement, but he is more confident on stage when he can strap up his Fender Stratocaster and step on his pedal rack.

It took a few years before he let out his artistic talent. In the beginning, he was very happy taking a back position on stage, almost a little shy. Later, he blossomed and became more confident as an artist, taking a front position whenever it’s needed.

In a funny way, he combines these practical and organized characteristics with an astonishing absent-mindedness. In fact, we always joke when we do our count to check if everybody’s onboard the bus: “Is Roofy here?” If the answer is ‘yes’, we know that everybody else is too.

The logistics of a tour, practical details and information can totally pass him by, but on the stage he’s solid as a rock.

Singers

Tracey Campbell

Tracey Campbell

Tracey was the original singer, along with Brian Kennedy, on our recording of ‘You Raise Me Up’ in 2001. After we brought her back with us, she’s been part of our regular touring group. It was great to have her onboard for the promotion of ‘You Raise Me Up’, but her great talent didn’t really come to fruition before we gave her a bigger role in the concerts by singing songs from Inside I’m Singing in 2007. We discovered Tracey’s divine talent when she stepped down from the bleachers of the London Gospel Community Choir and auditioned for the female verse of ‘You Raise Me Up’. We’d never imagined that our music, paired with a gospel singer, would work so well. When we heard Tracey, we just cried. She was perfect for the song and she made it into something more – something magical we could never plan for or expect.

Whatever song she performs with us she’s turning into a personal statement. She has this God-given talent that she’s doesn’t sing a song; the song sings her. Whether it’s ‘Simply You’, ‘The Things You Are To Me’, ‘Powered By Nature’, ‘Sometimes A Prayer Will Do’ or ‘You Raise Me Up’ she’s making it into a powerful spiritual moment. She says she always thinks about God when she sings. When I’m recording in the studio with her it’s actually hard to produce her because I’m so emotionally receptive to her performance I can’t concentrate on technical issues.

On tour she’s a mess, often late for the bus in the morning and always the last to check out of the hotel room. She’s able to miss flights and lose her tickets. It’s a regular part of the tour leader’s job to give her two wake-up calls in the morning. But she’s worth it! She is a genuine world-class talent, and we feel blessed that we’re able to work with her and regard her part of our Secret Garden ensemble.

Top Lines

Hans Fredrik Jacobsen

Hans Fredrik Jacobsen

band_hans_fredrikOur first regular top line player is the Norwegian whistle player Hans Fredrik Jacobsen. He’s the only original member of the band who was on stage with us in Dublin when we won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1995. He’s done countless concerts with us all over the world, but he’s also been busy with his own musical projects, both touring and recording… which means that he’s been unavailable for us from time to time. One of his strengths as a player is his technical excellence. He has a master degree at the University of Oslo as a traditional recorder player, and he is also a versatile improviser of any whistle, which is a rare combination. This means that he’s as capable playing a classical tune with beautiful phrasing as he is improvising fills and creating effects on his instruments. He’s solid as a rock on stage, and he always delivers pure gold in every concert he’s performing with us.

Hans Fredrik enjoys a good meal, a great glass of wine, a good book or some great music. He can produce the most elegant and funny limericks on the spot. There is a story about him I can’t confirm because I wasn’t there, but Espen Andersen, our monitor-mixing engineer, can. On one of our tours he was watching a movie on the plane to China. A group of formal men in black suits was standing right next to his seat discussing something. Hans Fredrik was eventually annoyed by the disturbance they caused, and basically told them to get lost in his slightly ironic and not the most eloquent manner. It turned out that it was the Belgian Prime Minister he’d verbally annihilated.

Hans Fredrik is considered a leading traditional flute player in Norway. His list of recordings and concert projects is a study of Norwegian music history in itself.

Crew

Dag Stephen Solberg

Dag Stephen Solberg

crew_dag_stephenWe met Dag Stephen by coincidence at one of our first corporate events in Oslo. He was coincidentally assigned by the sound company who was hired to do the gig. He was young and inexperienced, but he had this incredible energy and enthusiasm that Fionnuala and I liked. He was ‘hungry’, at the beginning of his career and talented. We saw, in this combination, a perfect potential for us. By investing in his talent and by giving him professional experience along with our own growth as a group, we were confident that Dag Stephen was the right sound engineer for us. This was in 1996 before we started our international touring. When the opportunity came for international concerts, it was never a question of working with anyone else but Dag Stephen… even if he was a novice to the international market.

He is still with us, doing most of our concerts and tours. Needles to say, he’s embedded in our 20-year history, and we rely heavily on his experience and professionalism. Today, he is one of the most sought-after sound engineers in Norway, doing the biggest concerts and events for Norwegian and international top acts.

The sound is essential to a concert, and and there is nothing we can do to affect the sound other than how we play on stage. It’s all resting in the hands of the sound mixer. It could be a subtle detail in the arrangement or a delicate balance between two instruments, it could be the EQs in a difficult hall or it could be the right reverb on the violin. It’s all the small details that will decide how the audience eventually will perceive the music. Everywhere we go, we hear praise of Dag Stephen’s sound. It’s really a matter of trust. We’re very fortunate to have him with us for all these years. He knows our music back to front and still, after almost 2 decades, has this boyish energy and enthusiasm when we work with him.

During a sound check, I might occasionally walk out into the hall just to have a listen and get a feel for the sound. I might have opinions, but mostly I’ve learned to trust our highly qualified sound crew.

In times when Dag Stephen has been unavailable for us, we’ve worked with David Solheim. During the years, he has toured with us on numerous occasions, in Asia, Australia, USA and Europe. There are minor variations in the way they produce sound but they both possess the same ambition and sincerity in their work ethics. David is the calm rock and lets no stress bite even when there’s a storm around him. They’re different persons, but they both share a common understanding of our musical concept,  and they’ve both earned our full respect and confidence.

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Posted July 3rd, 11:18 am

Secret Garden

Get the story behind Sleepsong 🌙
See the whole performance on YouTube (here performed by Cathrine Iren Iversen): shorturl.at/dgjP6
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Comment on Facebook 3035445716509011

If I had to pick ONE vocal track from SG, this is the one. The soothing melody, and the lyric that truly blesses whoever is listening to it… The combination is just perfect.

The most beautiful lullaby in the World (vocally & lyrically) I played to my 4 year son since before he was even born – thank you Secret Garden 💕

I freaking LOVE that song. It competes with evensong for my favorite song ever

Absolutly mesmerising! 😍

I was listening to the CD Earthsongs while soaking in the bath today; as always, I get to track 6, and don't want to move! The most beautiful song ever! 🌞🙏🏻🍀

There are only few things in this worlds that put me in tears. Sleepsong is one of them. Love you guys ❤️

Always makes me cry…

One of My favorites songs for sure

My fav lullaby

Such a beautiful song ❤️

I love your music

I want to watch on YouTube

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Posted June 17th, 1:23 pm

Secret Garden

We share some thoughts about the song Moving! Go to YouTube to see the whole performance. See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook 2992285367491713

Great. Love you music

ok. im understand.

Posted June 16th, 9:33 am

Secret Garden

Today: Were honoured that Quincy Jones is using You raise me up in global online piano recital!In partnership with Quincy Jones and Hal Leonard Corporation, we are excited to announce the launch of the “You Raise Me Up” Global Piano Recital – a worldwide piano class and virtual recital to bring the world together through music! 🎹🌍🎶⁣
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During this time when we cannot physically be together, we are inviting you to spend time as a global community learning a beautiful, uplifting song “You Raise Me Up” popularized by Josh Groban, and later perform it as one global piano voice! 🙌⁣

Beginners, kids, advanced players – all can take part and learn a section of “You Raise Me Up” with FREE video lessons released every day until all the sections of the song have been covered.
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Here’s how to participate:⁣

1. Download the Playground Sessions app and locate the FREE “You Raise Me Up” course to learn with the full interactive experience OR go to www.playgroundsessions.com/global-piano-recital to follow along on the website.⁣

2. Pick your difficulty level and start learning!⁣

3. As you’re learning the song, share your progress and milestones with fellow learners using the hashtag ➡️#GlobalPianoClass and tagging @thePlaygroundSessions

4. Once you’ve learned your section, you will be able to submit your performance to the Global Piano Recital by posting your video on Facebook using the hashtag ➡️#GlobalPianoRecital and tagging @thePlaygroundSessions starting on June 1st (more details to come!)

If your profile is private, you can submit your video on www.playgroundsessions.com/global-piano-recital 🎹⁣⁣
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Join our dedicated Facebook Group ▶️ www.facebook.com/groups/TheYouRaiseMeUpGlobalVirtualPianoRecital/ to engage with other learners, learn tips and more! See MoreSee Less

Today: Were honoured that Quincy Jones is using You raise me up in global online piano recital!

Posted June 12th, 5:59 pm

Secret Garden

Fionnuala finalises cancer treatment ❤️ See MoreSee Less

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Overwhelmed by all of your amazing messages of support to my recent post. This past year was truly made possible and the positive outcome is as a direct result of the positivity that was sent my way. I thank each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart for been with me throughout the process. lots of love Fionnuala

Well done you brave lady. The best is yet to come. Xxx

These are wonderful news! I'm sending you a virtual huge, warm hug from Athens, Greece! ❤ And once again, thank you for the music that touches my soul for so many years now! All the finest to you – and yours! ⚘

Your courage and optimism in the face of such a dreaded disease is so inspiring. I sincerely wish you a long healthy and happy life. Know you have profoundly touched millions around the world.

Jesus Christ Fionnuala has been supporting and healing you dear. You and Rolf without knowing have been healing people with you music and so you were blessed. We are blessed too to know you and see Gods work with you. From Canada , my family and I writing with love to you hoping we can meet you in person in the near future. My wife Febronia Milad Yanni, my daughters Loreena, Melitsa and I. ❤️

You have fought against cancer… And you have defeated it. Well done, brave warrior!!!

Great news, I'm so happy for you and for Rolf. My husband is battling another type of cancer, so we know how important it is to stay strong. God bless you and stay well. xx 😃👏👏🙏❤️🎻🎼

I passed my 5 year mark from Lung Cancer last October

Congratulations! Thanks for your sharing and your honesty. Have loved your music for years. Blessings.

Bless you, I look forward to more beautiful music from you and Rolf x ❤️

My mom is battling against this horrible disease!😭 I'm so glad to hear you're ok now!🙏🏻💖 Many hugs and blessings for you!!

Lots of love to you – you look great and so happy you are over the worst . Xxx

Thank you for sharing this wonderful news. I can relate as a fellow breast cancer survivor (24 years now). God bless you with good health and peace of heart and mind. Looking forward to much more beautiful music in the coming years. Sending a hug from Lancaster, Pennsylvania!

So great, warm hug from Beijing, China. Hope you will be healthy soon, and visit China again.

Good to hear treatment has finished, and wishing you a full recovery back to good health. 😘

Well done lovely lady…really pleased for you. I emailed you but I'm not sure if it got through. Would love to hear from you xxxxx

Thank you for the secret garden music, which used to comfort me when I was lonely.🥰

I am so happy that you are now on the road to getting your health back! As much as we all miss you and all of Secret Garden, you take as long as you need! Your well being is the most important thing right now! I always play one of your CD's every single night on my Bose! You are never far away ! Secret Garden music has helped me get through the long nights since my husband passed. (He also loved all your music!) Take care and God bless you! ❤

I hope you keep getting better and get your strength back little by little. Vitamin D is important. Secret Garden's music has been my favourite music for twenty years and still is. I have all your albums except for the latest. Thank you for your beautiful music!

Well done Fionnuala – tough at the time but it is all behind you now ❤️

It's really wonderful to see you reach the end point of your treatment journey and I can only imagine how difficult it was for you. However, I'm happy that you've come through. I wish you good health and strength. I know you and Rolf will continue to share your inspiration through music once again. It is known that some of the most beautiful pieces of music came from a difficult place in life. Thank you for providing us this positive update.

you're a fighter, you'll win for sure, your soul is divine and shining, your tunes are the mirror of what you are

Hooray! such great news for you, your family and all of us all over the world who love your music…music which gets us through the tough times and helps us enjoy the good times! Lots of love from a small place southwest of Sydney, Australia..🙃💓💓💓

Great news and we look forward to seeing you in the near future in Dublin and going on another magical trip down memory lane into the Secret Garden !

So happy to hear this news, Fionnuala! Delighted for you and so proud of your brave journey. Praying for renewed health and strength. Your music has always been a blessing and solace to me over the years, and even more so in these difficult times. All the best to you. 🎶💕🌸

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Posted June 12th, 9:41 am

Secret Garden

We share the inspiration behind "Frozen In Time" 💙 Go to YouTube to see the whole performance. See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook 2979313738788876

Love your music!❤️

Beautiful melody! Thank you Fio & Rolf for the light!

So beautiful!

Your music touches my heart with every note❣🎶

Meravigliosi come sempre

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