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 May 27th, 10:57 am

Secret Garden

Get the story behind Dreamcatcher! The whole performance can be found on our YouTube channel 🌙✨ See MoreSee Less

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Fionnuala Sherry – She just finished her last breast cancer treatment on Thursday. She is the most superb violinist but the Irish call it fiddling😊 I’ve “fiddled” many times in my life but somehow it never ends with a beautiful symphony of music. May she continue to represent Ireland and Dublin with her ever lasting
Music.

Love this song and often play it to fall asleep to.

A real Ray Of Light <3

Posted May 22nd, 9:10 am

Secret Garden

We look back at the iconic tune Nocturne from 1995… 🙌 See MoreSee Less

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Love EVERYTHING from Secret Garden

Eu escolhi esta música para me despertar para o trabalho, sempre às 5h da manhã. Acordo leve, tranquila e de bom humor. Linda voz, harmonia.

This is another of my favorites!

Very beautiful song 💖

Admirable!Then AND Now!

what, secret garden?

Yo los sigo desde hace muchos años , su música es maravillosa y este video espectacular.
El álbum de los 25 años hay que tenerlo

Me encanta esa gente. Son excelentes

💞

❤❤❤❤

I worked on this video doing the makeup for Fionnula and Rolf 💚 I remember it like yesterday as we worked throughout the night with all the beautiful animals 🦉🦊 just wonderful memories💚

I love Nocturne, since the first time I heard it. The song has an indescribable sensitivity. Thank you Secret Garden 🎶🎵🎼🎹🎻💓💗❤

I grew to love your music and songs at 14 years old! I remember buying your 'Songs from a Secret Garden' CD after winning a CD shop coupon from my school's wisdom challenge contest. 20 years on, 'Serenade to Spring is still my favourite soundtrack along with a handful of later productions that have given me inspiration in poetry writing! Thank you so much, Fionnuala and Rolf for leading me through your magical journey from my teens into adulthood! ❤🧡❤🧡❤🧡

Sailing any Norwegian fjord, listening to this song, becomes a unique experience. I did.🙂👍

This is one of my very favorite songs! I love it!

This music simply brings me JOY. Joy to my ears, through my brain, and into my heart.

He is one of my favorite songs

Love this 💕💕

I only get 5 seconds of this video. Then it starts again! 🤔

Yes, the Norwegian version should be added to Spotify and other digital platforms as soon as possible, Secret Garden when will you do it?

Please add this Norwegian version of Nocturne to Spotify!

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Posted May 20th, 9:34 am

Secret Garden

Here’s a little video about Hymn To Hope. You can enjoy the whole song on our YouTube channel: shorturl.at/dfEW2 See MoreSee Less

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Specially for these sads times 😔

Thanks guys 🎻🎹😉

Love everything the two of you do!!! I am Norwegian and i worked as a tour guide for Italian groups in Scandinavia and i always played your CD"S in the bus. I think each and every Italian went home with one or more of them. My favorite music!!

Thats how i found them. Our tour guide Daniel Ferro in 2005 kept playing their Earthsongs Cd in the bus while we did a tour round eastern USA😃

Balm for the soul.

Love you !

I love

😀

I fell in love with your music today. Thank you from my heart. I have been a singer/songwriter for 48 years. May I sen you a copy of one of my songs as a thank you? Paul Skyland PaulSkyland.com❤️😊

Your music touch my heart you are best violinist ever 🎻🎻❤️

Beautiful song

Fabulous Piece 🎻🎹🎶

Absolutely beautiful

So beautiful ❤️

Beautiful!

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Posted May 18th, 6:21 pm

Secret Garden

Looking forward to catching up with Mairead, best friends forever!Hi Everyone! Tune in today for Máiréad Mondays! 3pm EST on Facebook Youtube LIVE ! My special guest today is the fabulous Fionnuala Sherry, violinist of Secret Garden & a beautiful performance with Fionnuala & Rolf Lovland for the Eurovision Home Concerts! See you then! 💚🎻💗 See MoreSee Less

Looking forward to catching up with Mairead, best friends forever!

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Perfect duo <3

Didn’t get the notice until late my time but watched afterwards and thank you. I didn’t know of you and now I have one more great artist to add to my Irish connections. Something in my dna hears the music of Ireland and I wish to explore it more. Most of my heritage died during the famine but alas I’m here and now have two lovely, strong Irish woman such as myself (although I have no music talent, but a great appreciation). As a professor I am the ying to your lovely yang and both my Collies agree with me 😄

Good day! How cute friend'picture! Happy days to you nice Secret Garden aind hugs from maria'

Perfect friends ❤️❤️❤️

Yay!!! ❤️❤️❤️

How do we access?

Where can we find you?

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Posted May 16th, 8:28 pm

Secret Garden

Since it’s a quarter of a century since we won the ESC, we’ve put together a home version of ‘Nocturne’. It’s still a nice memory for us. This was produced for the online event Eurovision Home Concerts. See MoreSee Less

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Absolutely Perfect!! Such a joy to hear Nocturne again and such a treat to see you both ‘up close and personal’ and each note so beautifully played 💐💐 Thank you xx

Thank you so much! It's my favorite song. So happy to hear it.❤🧡💛💚💜💙 from Québec Canada.

Sublime !!! Charming !!!! Thank you Fionnuala 🎻, Thank you Rolf 🎹, Thank you Secret Garden 🎶🎵🎼, for the generosity in giving us this song, which continues to involve our soul and our hearts. 🇧🇷 I'm very happy to hear Nocturne and see how you are doing in Fionnuala, how exciting your smile is. 🌹😘 Stay in peace and take care 🙌🙏💓💗❤💐

Happy Constitution Day, Rolf! Beautiful rendition, Rolf & Fi!

I listen to your beautiful music every day. Nocturne will always be special ❤️

Since you won the ESC we fall asleep to your music every night. Playlist from all your records. It is so soothing and calming to the soul!! 💕💕💕

First time I came across your music was on ESC 25 years ago. You made me dream, travel and believe in magic with this song in particular. You still do. Wrote my first short story to the sound of Nocturne. Fell in love with other songs from your albums but this one will always be the One! ❤ from Portugal.

Love your music! This is one of my favorites. Thank you for playing this again! ♥️ greetings from Sri Lanka (a.k.a ceylon) ! 🇱🇰

Absolutely beautiful! This song got me hooked on Secret Garden forever 💕

OMG this was and always is so deeply moving and emotional and no one could make it sound like that but only you two. I find myself so totally immersed and lost in time and space. You both create magic and I feel so lucky to have found you and your music. Thank you ❤❤ XX

Stunningly beautiful, always send shivers around my body, thank you. ❤️❤️

That was when I discovered Secret Garden and a new era of music opened up to me. Thank you guys! 🎻🎹❤️

Can’t get enough of your wonderful music… thank you so much!!❤️🙏

I love your music! This is one of my favorites! Thank you for sharing from your homes during this time of COVID! 💖

One of my favourites! Thank you so much for sharing this!
Much Love! ♥️

In my opinion, it's an excellent and relaxing performance. Thank you.

I still have a video recording of Nocturne I made on the night you won😊

Congratulations to you and Rolf Fionnuala Sherry🎻Really enjoyed that , it’s as wonderful now as it was 25 years ago. Timeless beautiful music, just like you Fi💗😘

Ohhh very beautiful you are great artist.. Can get your any Cd and photos and autograph!?? Please you lot greetings from Croatia

Always enchanting ! Thank you Rolf & Fionnuala !

So beautiful. Thank you! ❤️ You should have been a part of yesterday’s show Europe Shine a Light. 💞

I love that song! Thank you so much for sharing it! From Vermont USA.

That was the day ye guys opened up a brand new Music Chapter in my life.
🎹🎻🎶🎵🎼💞💕🌻💐X
Thank You both

the best one ever , i cant help my self stop playing that music ♥️♥️♥️♥️

Thank you again for this beautiful melody. It is heavenly..❤

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