Secret Garden is an Irish-Norwegian band specialized in new instrumental music, led by the duo consisting of Irish violinist and singer Fionnuala Sherry and Norwegian composer, arranger and pianist Rolf Løvland.
The group has sold over 3 million albums since having won the 1995 Eurovision Song Contest, representing Norway with the composition “Nocturne”.
Eurovision Song Contest
The group won the Eurovision Melody Grand Prix Contest for Norway’s second time in 1995 with the composition “Nocturne”. It was the only time to date that a predominantly instrumental piece has won the Eurovision Song Contest, although a few Norwegian lyrics, written by screenwriter Petter Skavlan, were included to ensure that the entry adhered to the contest’s rules. Norwegian singer Gunnhild Tvinnereim sang the song in the Eurovision Song Contest and Swedish nyckelharpist Åsa Jinder also guested on the occasion, although neither is a regular member of the group. Ten years earlier, Rolf Løvland wrote the song “La det swinge” (Let it swing) that secured Norway its first Eurovision Song Contest victory in 1985.
Songs from a Secret Garden
Their success at Eurovision spearheaded the success of their first album Songs from a Secret Garden. It sold a million copies around the world going platinum in Norway and Korea, gold in Ireland, Hong Kong and New Zealand and spending two years in the Billboard new-age charts in 1996 and 1997. Barbra Streisand adapted “Heartstrings” from this album as the song “I’ve Dreamed of You” on her A Love Like Ours album. She also used “Heartstrings” in her wedding to James Brolin.
The album White Stones followed in 1997 also making the top ten on Billboard New Age charts. Dawn of a New Century, again with lyrics by Norway’s Petter Skavlan, in 1999, Dreamcatcher in 2001 and Once in a Red Moon also enjoyed success around the world including reaching top ten on the Billboard.
Their most famous song “You Raise Me Up”, performed by Brian Kennedy, has been recorded by more than a hundred other artists including Josh Groban, Russell Watson, Westlife, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Becky Taylor, Celtic Woman, Lena Park, Robert Tremlett, Il Divo, Rhydian, and Sergio Dalma.
Secret Garden has released a Dreamcatcher: Best Of album for its tour through Australia and New Zealand in 2004. It reached the top of the Australian New Age charts and the ARIA top 50 album charts.
Their piece “Adagio”, with a cor anglais solo, was used in the Wong Kar-wai film 2046 released in 2004.
In 2010, Fionnuala Sherry released her solo debut entitled Songs From Before.
Secret Garden published a book written by Rolf Løvland with Fionnuala Sherry as co-writer entitled “You Raise Me Up: The Story of Secret Garden” in 2015. The book tells their story from the inside – their triumphs as well as the trials and tribulations they’ve endured along two decades.