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2005-12-01 The Celtic Tenors - Bono's present

written for De Telegraaf
by Angelique Luijten


In December of this year, the three young Irish tenors James Nelson, Niall Morris and Matthew Gilsenan, better known as The Celtic Tenors, want to raise the roof of several Dutch theatres with their Irish and classical songs.


James Nelson played the piano from the age of 6, and started singing to it from the age of 16. It was only logical that he would go on to study music. At school he met Niall Morris, who had done a lot of singing since his childhood. I have given many concerts since I was twelve. At that time, I was too young to be nervous. Morris explains. En then there was Matthew Gilsenan. Gilsenan: I was training to be an engineer when my mother advised me to start training my voice. In the end, I spend more time singing than I did working as an engineer. When I entered into singing contests, I met James and Niall. About five years ago Nelson, Morris and Gilsenan put their heads together and decided to continue as three tenors under the name of The Celtic Tenors. The formation soon turned out to be a success. Within six months they had a deal which resulted in three albums. A little over a month ago they released their fourth CD, We Are Not Islands themselves.


The repertoire of The Celtic Tenors is very broad. We have Irish, classical and pop songs. Sometimes a capella and also some easy listening. Nelson says. It doesn't matter what kind of music you make. It comes from the same part of your body. Music is something very deep. Gilsenan adds. We are serious about our music, but not about our work on stage. Morris says casually We make a lot of jokes during the shows. Not pre-rehearsed jokes, but spontaneous ones. If someone does something clumsy, we joke about that. That might be the secret of our success.


In any case, The Celtic Tenors appeal to many people. Morris: One day I returned home to find I had received a phone call from someone from U2. They asked us if we would be willing to sing for Kofi Annan, on his birthday. We were Bono's birthday present to Kofi Annan! And that's not all. One of our most famous songs, Danny Boy, we sang for Bill Clinton.