Secret Garden

(cc) Paul Sandham - Flickr

(cc) Paul Sandham – Flickr

There are probably few people on the planet who have not heard Josh Groban sing his signature song, “You Raise Me Up”. It was released on his second studio album, “Closer”, on November 11, 2003. Josh appeared on Good Morning America to promote the album on its release date, and sang “You Raise Me Up” live in the GMA studios. Like everyone else, I loved the song. But as he was singing, I thought to myself, “I’ve heard that song before.”

In the spring of 2002 I was serving as Youth Minister to the College Street Church of Christ in Waxahachie, Texas. Every year the church honors its graduating high school seniors with a reception. At the end of the reception, a slide show is presented showing pictures of each senior from birth to the present, with each student’s photos accompanied by a song of their choosing. One of our 2002 graduates was a young lady named Lindsey, and her song of choice was “You Raise Me Up”, but not by Josh Groban.

I had never heard the song until Lindsey brought it to me on a CD to be included in her slide show. As I was previewing the song, I became enchanted by the mesmerizing sound and the beautiful message of “You Raise Me Up”, sung by an Irish-Norwegian duo named Secret Garden.

Canute and Josephine Canuteson, 1924

Canute and Josephine Canuteson, 1924

I have long been interested in my family history, and particularly fascinated with my Norwegian heritage. My mother’s great grandparents were from the small village of Nes Verk, Holt Parish, Norway. They left Norway in 1851, sailing from Arendal to America.

With the last name O’Rear, it has always been assumed that there is Irish blood running through my veins. We’ve never been able to trace the Irish connection, but that has not diminished my sense of enchantment with the Emerald Isle.

So, when I learned that Secret Garden was “an Irish-Norwegian duo”, how could I not be completely taken in?

Rolf Løvland, the Norwegian half of the duo, composed the music to “You Raise Me Up”. The lyrics were written by Irish novelist and composer Brendan Graham. The vocals were performed by Irish singer-songwriter Brian Kennedy. This is the original version of the song, and I actually prefer it to Josh Groban’s version.

Click to listen

Paul O'Rear Signature


Photo Credits:

  1. Secret Garden, by Paul Sandham (Flickr), Creative Commons License.


  1. Wikipedia contributors, “Josh Groban,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 26, 2012).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, “Secret Garden (duo),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 26, 2012).
  3. Wikipedia contributors, “You Raise Me Up,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 26, 2012).

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2 thoughts on “Secret Garden

  1. Paul, I LOVE the picture of Canute and Josephine on their front porch! I believe that is their house in Clifton, which I visited several times as a young girl. I had forgotten about this picture. If you have other pictures of the house in Clifton, or anything else along those lines, I would love to see them (again) :). I’m sure they (the pictures) lived at my house at one time, and I figured they would get more exposure if they lived at your house! I remember a few other pictures taken on one of our trips to Clifton. I don’t remember Canute; he must have died when I was very young, or perhaps before I was born. But I do remember Josephine. She was a very “stately” woman, and my GREAT-grandmother. Somewhere there is, I believe, a picture at this same house of four generations of us Canuteson women. I would love to see that picture again!

    • Mom: Yes, the picture of Canute and Josephine was taken on the front porch of their house in Clifton. Canute died on May 20, 1935. I think I know the four-generation photo you are talking about, and I thought I had scanned it, but I could not find it on my computer. I’ll have to see if I can find it in one of the boxes around here and scan it so you can see it.