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- S e c r e t   G a r d e n -
Secret Garden





MARCH 8, 2005


Featured cuts include “The Reel” and “Daughters of Erin”


Review & Press Contact:

Anita Daly
Daly Communications
217 East 86th Street #151
NYC, NY 10028

Combining the riveting performance style of Irish born violin virtuoso Fionnuala Sherry and the lush melodies and soundscapes of Norwegian composer/keyboardist Rolf Lovland, Secret Garden celebrates a remarkable decade of success in the classical, new age realm with its highly anticipated 2005 Decca release Earthsongs.  Among the recording’s 12 new composed tracks are four new vocal classics, including the Irish flavored ballad “Always There,” sung by Decca recording artist Russell Watson.  Earthsongs is the follow up to the 2002 recording Once in a Red Moon that featured the inspirational song “Your Raise Me Up.” This song became a worldwide phenomenon thanks to the Grammy-nominated performance of Josh Groban.

While Once in a Red Moon topped the classical lists, went gold both in Ireland and stayed in the Top Ten of Billboard’s New Age chart for several weeks, “You Raise Me Up” was drawing much deserved pop crossover attention to the globally acclaimed music of Secret Garden. Composed by Lovland with lyricist Brendan Graham, the song has been recorded by a total of 60 artists worldwide, was performed in connection with such important global events as the 2004 Summer Olympics and the 9/11 day of remembrance at Ground Zero in New York, Superbowl XXXVIII in commemoration of the NASA crew killed in the Columbia tragedy and is currently the #1 selling sheet music in America.

Songs From A Secret Garden in 1996, their five recordings (including the 2001 compilation Dreamcatcher) have sold over 3.5 million albums in 80 countries and have earned a total of 27 gold records worldwide. Even as Lovland and Sherry’s rousing live performances have taken Australia, Asia and Europe by storm, PBS has broadcast their concert program “A Night With Secret Garden” (now available on DVD) repeatedly in the U.S. since its 1999 debut.

For Secret Garden’s long awaited follow-up, Sherry came up with the title Earthsongs as a reflection of the organic nature of the music and the way the 12 tracks  touch upon the “soil and roots” of her cultural background.  Sherry was born in Naas in county Kildare, Ireland, surrounded by a musical family that cemented her passion for music. Eventually moving to Dublin to study music, she graduated from Trinity College and upon graduation she became a member of the popular RTE Orchestra.  Her musical interests were varied and moved beyond the classical repertory and led her to conceive, write and present her own music series for children on Irish National TV in the early 90’s.  Prior to co-founding Secret Garden, Sherry was a studio and touring performer working with Sinead O’Connor and Van Morrison.

Says Sherry, “The music on this album came to us in a very natural way, with us discovering the deeper feelings of it as the project evolved,” she says. “It’s more emotional and performance driven than some of our earlier work. We also made a conscious decision to go with a larger orchestral element, using the strings to offer details of the story rather than simply enhance it as in the past. With only two upbeat jig numbers (‘The Reel,’ ‘Daughters of Erin’), this is also Secret Garden’s most intimate recording to date.”

The recording of Earthsongs began in June of 2004 at Ireland’s remote but hyper modern studio Grouse Lodge, logistically perfect for gathering the many participating Irish musicians. The Irish Film Orchestra, Choir and vocals were then recorded at RTE’s main studio in Dublin, while the participating Norwegian musicians and Sherry’s magnificent violin solos were captured in the rural setting of PUK Studios in Jutland, Denmark, where the duo had previously recorded parts of their first CD. Then, during their Fall 2004 tour of China, Secret Garden recorded a performance by renowned Chinese “erhu” (Chinese 2-string violin) player Bian Liunian for the gently hypnotic and ambient tune “Lotus.”

The final mix of Earthsongs was done in Los Angeles with Alan Meyerson, legendary for his work with film composer Hans Zimmer on films like “The Gladiator,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Last Samurai.” Another distinctively West Coast touch is added by members of the gospel choir from Christ-Centered A.R.M.E.D Ministries and West Los Angeles Church of God in Christ from West Los Angeles, who back Russell Watson’s vocals brilliantly on “Always There.” The other significant gospel moment on Earthsongs is the final track “Raise Your Voices,” which Secret Garden debuted in Dublin in May 2003 at a performance in the Helix Concert Hall. The album version of this anthemic modern hymn features The Chamber Choir of Ireland accompanying the Irish Film Orchestra, orchestrated by David Downes.

The notion of discovering the reality within seemingly impossible dreams has been a Secret Garden trademark since Rolf Lovland and Fionnuala Sherry met at a 1994 Eurovision song contest in Dublin. Lovland, who holds a master’s degree from Norway’s Institute of Music, was a veteran composer for TV and pop singers in his home country whose songs had topped his country’s charts more than 60 times. After winning the competition in 1995, the two joined forces professionally and soon became a recording and touring sensation, traveling the world in support of their early releases Songs From a Secret Garden (1995), White Stones (1997), Dawn of a New Century (1999) and Once In A Red Moon (2002).

Secret Garden’s relentless touring schedule continued in 2004, with spring concerts in Singapore, Korea and Australia and 18 sold out fall dates in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Adding to their popularity in Asia was the inclusion of their song “Adagio” in the high profile Chinese film “2046” directed by Wong Kar Wai. In connection with the Norwegian release of Earthsongs, Secret Garden recently performed to a sell out audience at the Oslo Concert Hall on December 4, 2004.  The duo had a U.S. tour in the spring to coincide with the album’s March 2005 release and plans to tour Australia, China and Korea extensively as well.

"Somewhere within us all there is a secret garden. A garden in which we can seek refuge when times are rough, or retire to in joy or contemplation. For years I have visited my own secret garden in search of organic harmony and melody. The songs on this CD are some of what I've found.

In 1994 I met an artist who through the soulful simplicity of her instrument gave my songs a voice. She is the famed Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry. Together we have tended the secret garden - and the crop is here for your picking. It is my sincere wish that by uncovering some of our secrets, you will pay a visit to your own garden."
- Rolf Lovland

View & Listen to Earthsongs Presentation from Secret Garden web site.

Order Online at Amazon - CLICK HERE.


Published: Capital Celtic Network
Year Written: 2005

* * * * * * *

Many musical artists and groups are active in their communities. Some perform before faithful fans on a regular schedule each week or weekend. They are independent musicians as compared to those music industry big names. We often think of the big name groups because we are exposed to the marketing blitz. I have had the opportunity to hear a number of independent performers with Capital Celtic. Some are just starting out and are perhaps a little rough around the edges and some are so outstanding I wonder why they have not entered into the "Big Time" music industry. Perhaps you have experienced the same? Perhaps you know of a new artist or group that you believe has talent that would be enjoyed by others? If so send me a CD and Bio and we will feature them on The Capital Celtic Network. - EEHealy


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