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 February 19th, 5:03 pm

Secret Garden

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our manager, partner and dear friend Barry Matheson. For over 20 years he gave us his love, support and guidance. He was our North Star We miss him so very much. See MoreSee Less

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our manager, partner and dear friend Barry Matheson. For over 20 years he gave us his love, support and guidance. He was our North Star  We miss him so very much.

Comment on Facebook

We are so sorry to hear that. Condolences from the Sham Poo family in New York. My husband Stanley who worked for SAS for 32 years, knew him well, and Barry and I went to the same High School in Oslo (Oslo Handelsgymnasium).

What a loss! Barry was the one who introduced me to norwegian music, especially Secret Garden!
Rest in Peace Barry!

So very sorry for your loss 😢
Our thoughts are with you at this sad time! 💔
Hvil i fred, Barry

Sincere Condolences on the loss of your friend and colleague. Rest in Peace Barry. 🌻

I know you all will miss you tremendously.. our condolences to his family and friends.

Gone…only from our sight. My deep condolences to all who knew and loved him.

God bless him and my sincere condolences to both of you in your loss.

❤️

So sorry to hear your very sad news. RIP Barry

I am sorry for your loss; my heart is with your music. Sending you love.

I'm so sorry, perfect and extraordinary job like a manager. My condolences to you "Secret Garden team"

My condolences. A big big for you both.

So sorry to hear this … may he be in peace …

Rolf and Fionnuala.. that's really sad news… a larger than life man with a big heart… My love and thoughts to you and his family. Xxx

So sorry for your loss. Prayers being sent to you and his family.

May he Rest In Peace 🙏

Sorry to hear this. Thought with family and the secret garden band, rolf and fin x

So sorry for your and his families loss

Si sorry to hear. God bless his soul and his family and friends.

So sorry to hear this!

So sorry for your loss.

Ánimo a tod@s Un abrazo momentos difíciles

I’m so sorry for your loss.

May his soul rest in peace

God bless his soul

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Posted February 4th, 11:43 pm

Secret Garden

Nocturne has new platform!
2020 is the 25th anniversary of Secret Gardens Eurovision win with Nocturne in 1995.
The host of that Eurovision was the wonderful Irish TV presenter Mary Kennedy. Mary is competing in Irelands Dancing with the Stars and she choose Nocturne to perform her dance routine last night in Dublin.
With her dancing partner and choreographer John Nolan they performed a stunning waltz.
It was great fun and an honour to be invited with hubby as Mary and John’s guests to see this amazing and emotional performance.
A lovely start to the year for us and a welcome relief from the daily routine of dealing with breast cancer treatment.

Hopefully it won’t be so long now before I can start performing it again.!!
Fionnuala x See MoreSee Less

Nocturne has new platform! 
2020 is the 25th anniversary of Secret Gardens Eurovision win with Nocturne in 1995.
The host of that  Eurovision was the wonderful Irish TV presenter Mary Kennedy. Mary is competing in Irelands Dancing with the Stars and she choose Nocturne to perform her dance routine last night in Dublin.
With her dancing partner and choreographer John Nolan  they performed a stunning waltz.
It was great fun and an honour to be invited with hubby as Mary and John’s guests to see this amazing and emotional performance.
A lovely start to the year for us and a welcome relief from the daily routine of dealing with  breast cancer treatment.
Hopefully it won’t be so long now before I can start performing it again.!!
Fionnuala x

Comment on Facebook

Yay Fi!! This is indeed a beautiful way to kick off what is going to be a beautiful year!!

Love your music Fionnuala, get well soon. People you don't even know are thinking about you and wishing you well.🎻💐

Love you forever and hope you will be all right soon.💕 Looking forward to see you again.💗

We continue to pray for your health and ask our sister Cecil to intercede for you from Heaven.

❤️❤️❤️ SG

Looking great Fionnuala, wishing you a speedy full recovery ♥️🙏

Best Eurovision winner ! – All your albums are stunning.

Looking great! Hope to see you on stage this year!

Fionnuala una gran alegría verte, espero que estés recuperada
Estás guapísima
Un abrazo

More than anything, I wish you a full recovery. I know this process is difficult but keep on the fight. I'm confident that you'll play again soon. Best of luck to you!

Great to see you on Sunday Fionnuala.You look great.Best wishes with the rest of your treatment.

Praying that you'll get through the treatment with flying colors !💓(from a breast cancer survivor of 17 years)

Good to see you, beautiful Fionnuala! And I'm really looking forward to hearing you and Rolf playing again! I love your music and the special way you are playing! Keep up your spirit! ❤️❤️

It was great to see you in the audience Fionnuala, Be Blessed with strength and continued recovery. 🌻❤️

I pray for your return to performing with a clean bill of health!

sending ❤💪 may your recovery be swift and complete Fionnuala.

Looking forward hear and see you live on stage again Fionnula! Have a speedy recovery and take care🌸

Love you music! Good recovery, all the best wishes from Switzerland, Roland.

That’s wonderful. Hope you’re doing well Fionnuala

Lots of love Fionnuala. Write me with your news xx

Wow great to see you up and smiling! Keep the faith! Sláinte!

It was beautiful to watch them dance and listen to the wonderful music. Wishing you every success 🙏

My dream is to attend a Secret Garden Concert. My best wishes for a complete recovery – you have no idea how much your music has done for me.

A quarter of century playing wonderful and peaceful music for all the world… We love your greatest hearth and soul…

You look vibrant and healthy ❤️❤️❤️

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Posted November 10th, 1:07 pm

Secret Garden

Note to self!! Remember not to leave new hat unattended !!😊 See MoreSee Less

Note to self!! Remember not to leave new hat unattended !!😊

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it happens! (Just released a new book you might enjoy … A HAPPY TRUTH: Last Dogs Aren't Always Last <3

Never to do, hat on the bed, so I've heard,,,, hope all is well

Se educar, vc pode deixar sim o chapéu sozinho

Our Aussie is the same. Leeta, Destroyer of Things.

Looking at it I think he was trying to cut out his own silohuete !

he looks innocent to me❤️

Does look a bit like a meat pie!

Ha,ha,ha…,!

These things happen unfortunately. He looks very sorry. You could use whats left to make a toy for him.

Look so innocent. 😁

Ah ah ah so lovely… poor hat… 🙂

The look on his face, though…! 😄 Too cute to be angry at.

Hehe, så uskyldig! 😄 Silas ødelegger heldigvis veldig lite. Han har andre "utfordringer" istedet 😜

This hat sets a new trend as it is so unique. Set it on top of a plastic head. Call it "Covered" and sell it as rare and special piece of art for – let's say $50000.

Nice hat. Such a shame you'll have to go back and shop for another one

just discovered your beautiful music iam a classical guitarist and slowly learning your beautiful music for my guitar all my thanks for the music susie

The message is, "take me out more, NOW!"

Those eyes are saying "I'm sorry. Do you still love me?"

Love Jack Russells. They are so naughty 😊

Awww. ..what a cutie!

The look says," but, I thought it was for me" 😂

Jajajaja

Looks a whole lot better!

This hat is one of a kind now

But that face!!❤

I love this dog❣️🥰

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Posted October 16th, 10:29 pm

Secret Garden

Honoured to be associated with this stunning creation, The Fi bra by @paularowangloves in aid of the @mariekeatingfoundation currently on display in @marksandspencerireland
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#mariekeatingfoundation #Cancer#pinkribbon #pink
See MoreSee Less

Honoured to be associated with this stunning creation, The Fi bra by @paularowangloves in aid of the @mariekeatingfoundation currently on display in @marksandspencerireland 
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.
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#mariekeatingfoundation #cancer#pinkribbon #pink

Comment on Facebook

My first thought was how does this represent our Fi… a heart center of rose softness, passionate and delicate… surrounded by bold strength that captivates. The past years you’ve been through so much… but you persevere with passion.

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