We hope you are all safe and have managed to get through this past year in good health and hopefully not having suffered the loss of any friends or family. If you have, then Rolf and I want to extend our deepest condolences to you. We are living through very tough times.
I know it certainly feels like groundhog day here in Ireland where we have the award for being the most locked-down country in Europe!
Unimaginable what the whole world is going through and continues to and we hope that you and your loved ones are coping with the everyday restrictions.
With the year that has gone by there is now such a huge and necessary interest in all our mental health and well-being, and with that in mind, this coming Friday, March 19th has been declared World Sleep Day. With the stress and anxiety surrounding Covid the value of Sleep has never been so important.
“WORLD SLEEP DAY is an annual call to action about the importance of healthy sleep. An internationally recognized awareness event, World Sleep Day (March 19, 2021) focuses on the impact of sound sleep habits on overall well-being.
In these demanding and uncertain times, Decca US has made it one of its priorities to endorse this year’s World Sleep Day and the mission to facilitate healthy sleep. “
We are delighted to have been asked by the Universal Verve label to participate in a special record release for this day which is a compilation of many artists providing a peaceful soundtrack to hopefully help us all drift off to dreamland.
With that in mind and with lockdown restrictions, we felt our song called “Sleepsong” was perfect for this project. We decided to do a new piano-only version of this lullaby which Rolf recorded a few weeks ago. There is something very soothing with just the simple sound of the piano playing this lullaby. I think Rolf nearly nodded off recording it!!!
We hope you enjoy and will find this CD on any of your preferred streaming devices.
As you all know the world of music and entertainment has ground to a halt for the past year and will be the last industry to reopen. Its been a very difficult time for all our fellow musicians and crews. Our life force is to perform and create music and to have that suspended for so long has created so much hardship for many artists.
We in Secret Garden have done our utmost to continue the creative process during this time, with many new compositions by Rolf, and thankfully with the technology available to us we are recording from our homes and creating demos with the hope that some of them will make the final cut into a new CD and concert setlist.
Our first Chrismas Album ever “Sacred Night” released last December turned out to be a great success and we have now recorded 3 more Christmas songs in the last 2 months ready to add to the existing album for next year. It’s been crazy and surreal working on Christmas lyrics now with the daffodils and tulips coming up but we hope you will enjoy these new songs when they are released next Christmas.
Our touring plans are still suspended and we don’t know yet when it will be possible for us all to rehearse and tour together, but we will keep you informed when that happy day comes again.
We also just want to say a heartfelt Thank You to all of you who have streamed, downloaded, or purchased our music over the past year. Your loyal support and interest have kept us going through the dark moments.
The light at the end of this dark tunnel is visible, the joy and thrill of live music will be back and we hope to see you all soon.
Fionnuala and Rolf
Here is a link to our first radio interview in Ireland to promote our Christmas album “Sacred Night”.
In Fionnula’s words, “It was lovely to chat with the infamous Marty Whelan who hosts one of the most popular Irish radio shows ‘Marty In The Morning’ with his good humour and lovely music choice he sets up the country to start the day with a smile!”
“Sacred Night” with Cathrine Iversen & Secret Garden! Perhaps some of these songs will become new Christmas favourites and hopefully, a part of your future traditions. That would be a wish come true for us.
This is the first time Secret Garden has made a Christmas album. The recording is a collaboration with Cathrine Iversen, who is the soloist on all songs. The Christmas songs are new, original songs by Rolf Løvland, except the 500-year old “I Know a Rose Tree”.
The album contains a mix of English and Norwegian lyrics. When Universal Music Norway learned about the album, they decided to release it internationally. “It feels surreal,” says Cathrine. “This started as a local Christmas project in my hometown without any plans of a recording. Now it’s being released throughout the world digitally and on CD!”
Last year we released ‘Strength’ on our album ‘Storyteller’. Somehow this song took on a new relevance in light of the challenging times we now find ourselves in.
Here is Espen Grotheim singing a stripped down, home version. Let’s be strong for each other.
We hope that you are all safe and managing to hold strong during this unprecedented time in history. We’ve decided that we won’t let it stand in the way of us celebrating triumphs in our lives. So, in that spirit, we have exciting news for you!
2020 marks the 25th Anniversary of our Eurovision win in 1995. So, we are celebrating with a new Secret Garden collection! “Nocturne: The 25th Anniversary Collection” is set for release next Friday, May 8th. The album will be a retrospective collection of our music, alongside new acoustic performances, and musical rarities.
Opening with and named after the plaintive, evocative Eurovision-winning ‘Nocturne’, the collection spans our whole career. Our music has always been about storytelling, ‘stories without words’ if you will. This collection tells a story that’s spanned 25 years.
The retrospective wouldn’t be complete without the original and first ever recording of “You Raise Me Up”, a song that we recorded for the first time with Brian Kennedy singing in 2001, and which now stands alongside over 1,000 others, in 40 different languages.
For us our music is all about chemistry. It’s as if we have our own invisible musical bond between the two of us, the band and you!! It’s always been like that from day one. We feel the 25th anniversary of that bond _is_ worth celebrating! … and we truly hope that you will celebrate with us.
Here’s the brand new solo piano version of our track “Adagio”
And, you can pre-order the album HERE
We wanted to check in again with you in this uncertain and difficult time in the world. We’re all in this together and we need to take care of each other. All of us in Secret Garden felt that the way that we could best do our part was to send you some music to soothe your soul and raise your spirits! Remember, this too will pass.
It’ll be awhile until we can play concerts, but until then, here is our lock-down performance of “Flow” from each of our homes in Norway and Ireland.
We sincerely hope that our music can be positive force in your life “these days”. Enjoy, Stay Calm and Stay Safe!!
Thank you to All of You, for the great responses you gave us to our video, “Reflection”, last week.
We were so inspired by you, that we decided to make a new video this week.
So, here is our ‘lock-down entertainment’ for you inspired by the season, “Serenade to Spring”.
We can’t travel and can’t perform during these strange times.
The only way to keep musical sanity is by sharing with you here cyber space.
We’ve recorded “Reflection” – Fionnuala in her home in Dublin and Rolf in his in Norway.
It’s the “Just the Two of Us” version – filmed on cell phones and edited into a little pastiche.
Enjoy and Stay Safe & Healthy and together we’ll make it through this. Rolf & Fionnuala
The following are personal letters from each of us to our dear but now departed manager Barry Matheson. We wanted to share them with you as he was, for over 20 years, as much an integral part of Secret Garden off-stage as we are on-stage.
This month we made our final farewell to our manager, friend and partner Barry Matheson. Barry fought a long battle with cancer and his strength and determination helped to delay its outcome for the past 3 years.
As our manager for 21 years, Barry opened many doors and opportunities that we could never have imagined. Nothing was an obstacle for him and his huge belief in us and his amazing ability to never take no as an answer meant that we were the first Norwegian signed act to travel the globe as much as we have done. Everybody loved Barry and to travel with him was an experience in itself. By the time we would board our plane he already was on familiar names and terms with the ground staff, ensuring our very overweight baggage was on board! – and throughout the flights, his charm continued with the crew. On arrival, he would always know every detail of the local record company staff and promotion team just ensuring a safe and easy passage for us all.
Traveling with Barry was fun and hassle-free and still now when there have been flight delays or cancellations we wish we could call him as Barry could fix anything, and in the process was a soothing and caring presence that took all the stress away.
Apart from his natural charm Barry was incredibly well dressed for every occasion, Beautifully tailored suits, shirts pocket handkerchiefs with a briefcase full of any emergency items you might need. It was always lovely to watch him work a crowd or a reception, he could be spotted from afar as been the most well dressed and vivacious person in the room. He was so outgoing and fun that we could hide behind him when we were exhausted from performing.
As a friend and partner, there was nothing we could not call Barry about, and at any time of day or night 7 days a week, Barry never switched off – he was always there for us. When my father died in 1996 it seemed that Barry quietly stepped into that role, guiding me throughout the years, being at the other end of the phone whenever I needed to talk, being a mentor and best friend. For my 40th birthday, Barry bought me a diamond bracelet, which I treasured so much and wore it continuously. So much so that due to wear and tear it eventually broke and I had it remodeled into my now wedding eternity ring. I love that wedding ring which is a constant reminder of Barry, and a lovely comfort and memory every morning when I put it on.
Barry understood the importance of family and relationships enjoying his time with his amazing wife Berit, siblings, children and grandchildren all that he was so proud of. He encouraged me always to have time with my family and kept up with the minutiae of all of our everyday lives even though he had such a busy schedule.
Barry was very much recognized as a hugely important influential person within the Norwegian Music industry not to mind his chair role of Rotary International, that it’s hard to believe he could also be our partner and manager in Secret Garden. His capacity was endless.
For us to lose Barry after all these years is like a wheel has come off.
He was our partner, best friend and manager and his loss is immense.
He has gone but will never be forgotten.
Bless you Barry and Thank you.
We’ve always been close to Barry – nearly every day for two decades. He was the “total” manager caring about every aspect of our professional lives – and far beyond. Maybe the past couple of years, after Barry retired due to illness, I realized how much I depended on him. His knowledge and experience were priceless; his energy and ambition inspired us to be our best; his respect for everyone and his gentleman-like demeanor always made us proud of him. So we realized more than ever how dear he was to us when he was no longer there.
Last year we released our album ‘Storyteller’ and in the booklet, we wrote a special dedication:
”A special thank you to Barry Matheson for being our manager for the past 20 years. It’s been a journey of extraordinary guidance and fatherly care for us – both professionally and personally – now coming to an end by this album. We can never thank you enough. We dedicate this album to you with our deepest gratitude and love”.
Thank you from bottom of my heart Barry,
Rest in Peace.