Af­ter many years of suc­cess­ful in­ter­na­tional tour­ing, The Celtic Tenors still can’t quite be­lieve they get paid to do what they en­joy so much

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - SHOWS - CLARE MOR­GAN

They are the Ir­ish su­per­group who have sold more than a mil­lion al­bums, won awards, topped the charts and per­formed for pres­i­dents and dig­ni­taries.

And, no, it’s not U2. Meet The Celtic Tenors, a trio of clas­si­cally trained singers who have achieved world­wide suc­cess with their fu­sion of opera, Ir­ish folk and pop.

Af­ter many tours of North Amer­ica, Europe and the Mid­dle East, this week they em­bark on their first Aus­tralian tour as guests of another Ir­ish su­per­group, Celtic Woman.

Singer James Nel­son can’t wait. He is the only orig­i­nal mem­ber of the group that be­gan life in 1995 as the Three Ir­ish Tenors.

Af­ter an im­promptu au­di­tion at EMI in Lon­don, they were signed to an in­ter­na­tional record deal.

Nel­son and fel­low tenors Matthew Gilse­nan and Daryl Simp­son have been to­gether since 2006 and have ce­mented their place among the most suc­cess­ful clas­si­cal cross­over artists.

“We’re very har­monies­based,” Nel­son says.

“Be­cause we know each other’s voices so well, we do our own ar­range­ments.

“Peo­ple watch­ing us no­tice that the song shifts be­tween us, so no one is stuck in a bor­ing base­line.”

Nel­son says the three have be­come like broth­ers.

There is the odd ar­gu­ment, given they spent so much time to­gether, but they have de­vel­oped a “tenor democ­racy” and “no diva be­hav­iour is tol­er­ated”.

Their Aus­tralian per­for­mances will show­case songs from their new al­bum Time­less in­clud­ing Some­where from West Side Story, Bob Dy­lan’s For­ever Young and the Bee Gees’ How Do You Mend A Bro­ken Heart.

The for­mer sec­ondary school mu­sic teacher and church or­gan­ist says he is still amazed by the group’s suc­cess.

“You know, we per­form at some of the big Ir­ish fes­ti­vals in the United States and 150,000 peo­ple can be there,” he says.

“We might have 20,000 to 25,000 peo­ple at our stage.

“We’re just three nice Ir­ish guys who en­joy meet­ing peo­ple and trav­el­ling. It re­ally is a case of pinch­ing my­self; it’s a hobby that has turned into a ca­reer.”

The Celtic Tenors, Daryl Simp­son, Matthew Gilse­nan and James Nel­son, are tour­ing Aus­tralia.

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