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June 2019
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2005-10-29 Classical, pop, combination makes Celtic Tenors international stars

By Review Staff


Not many five-year-old groups can boast multiplatinum sales, international touring, performances for the world's political elite and personal phone calls for a favour from rock and activism icon Bono.


But then again, Ireland's The Celtic Tenors really aren't your average band.

Creating unique music by mixing their operatic voices with traditional Celtic tunes and more current pop fare, the three Tenors - Matthew Gilsenan, Niall Morris and James Nelson - have been a hit almost from their first performance.And five years after that performance the trio are bringing their music to Brock University's Centre for the Arts Thursday.


Signed to an international record deal after an impromptu audition in London in 2000, the three singers have had a five-year run of impressive accomplishments culminating with the recent release of their third CD Remember Me.


Their self-titled debut album hit number one in Germany (the love in Germany continued in 2002 when the tenors won the 2002 Echo Award for Best Crossover Album); their second disc, So Strong, reached number two on the UK classical charts and number nine on the U.S. Billboard Classical chart.With those notably milestones on their resume, why are the tenors so excited about promoting their latest release? Building on the success of the first two projects, Remember Me shows the Irish men embracing a more contemporary feel than on the previous projects.


Pop highlights on the project include a new interpretation of the Josh Groban-popularized You Raise Me Up, but the track generating the most talk is the tenors cover of the Air Supply hit All Out of Love. It seems the person most impressed with the take is the song's co-writer and singer Graham Russell.

"All Out of Love was our biggest hit," Graham has said. "I wanted to re-record it and I heard The Celtic Tenors on a visit to Ireland and I knew immediately that we had to duet with these guys."


Of course, what celtic album - tenor or otherwise - would be complete without a version of Danny Boy, especially a performance that has a presidential seal of approval? According to their press material, former U.S. president Bill Clinton calls the Celtic Tenors "the best singing group, I have ever heard. Their version of Danny Boy quite honestly brought tears to my eyes."


And what about the Bono factor?


Morris recalls the day he walked into his Ireland home last October to field a call from the U2 office."Bono wondered if the Celtic Tenors would drop over to Farmleigh that evening to give a small private concert for Kofi Annan and his wife. I called the boys with the news that we had finally hit the big time. Not only did Bono know we existed, but we were his personal choice of Tenor-gram to the Secretary General of the United Nations."