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Enya


Country of origin:

Ireland

Type of music generally:

Ethereal traditional Celtic folk with New Age influence and mainstream pop

Status:

Most recent release, The Very Best Of (CD/DVD compilation, 2009); most recent release of new material Amarantine (2005)

See also:

Enya's site

An Enya translations and lyrics page

The Ectophiles' Guide entries for Clannad, her family's band (Enya has appeared on two of their albums), and for her sister, Maire Brennan

Comparisons:

Clannad, Maire Brennan, Loreena McKennitt, Heidi Berry, Virginia Astley

Covers/own material:

Own (some co-written or traditional)

General comments:

While not a big fan I do find her pleasant to listen to on occasion, good sunday morning music (although I much prefer her sister Maire Brennan). (sspan)

I'm a pretty big fan. Her music touches something deep in my soul that is very difficult to explain. And there are not many other artists that seem to have this effect on me. (kcd@cray.com)

Enya is best described as 'calming'. Sometimes irritatingly so. After four album, one gets to long for the moment that she will break some new ground, pick up an electric guitar or something. Her middle two albums are close to perfection, whereas the other two tend to be too sketchy to make much of an impression. (marcel@kimwilde.com)

Enya's trademark are her multi-multi layered vocals, sometimes she uses up to a 100 overdubs (and she all sings them herself!). Her music is mostly fairly quiet, calming, having Celtic influences but also Latin Church music or more pop songs. She sings in various languages, mostly English or Gaelic but also Latin or Spanish. (Marion)

I like her for some certain moods, but I'm much more likely to put on something else. (rholmes@cs.stanford.edu)

in my opinion, nothing gets more bland than Enya. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Although this is the only Enya disc I own, the CD single of "Silent Night" in Gaelic is incredibly beautiful. (bravegirl@earthlink.net)

I'm not really an Enya fan, and I listened to part of her new CD at Borders one day and thought, "oh, just another Enya album". But of course that's what it is, and perhaps that's all it needs to be, even if it isn't at all exciting. It puts me in mind of nothing except background music, but that doesn't mean it's bad, right? :) I wouldn't call it jacuzzi for the mind...more like a lukewarm bath for the mind. (excelsis@angelfire.com)

Recommended first album:

Watermark or the compilation album with her best songs Paint The Sky With Stars—The Best of Enya

Recordings:


Enya

Release info:

1987—BBC UK—BBC CD 605

Availability:

Hard to find. The album was remastered and re-released as The Celts in 1992.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Enya—vocals, piano, Juno 60, DX7, Emulator II, Kurtzweil

Guest artists:

Patrick Halling—violin
Arty McGlynn—electric guitar
Liam O'Flionn—Uillean pipes

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan

Comments:

Music from the BBC series The Celts. The album has been re-released under another title (The Celts) which is easier to find. Beautiful, light music, sparser than Watermark. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Watermark

Release info:

1988—WEA—243875-2 (the 1989 reissue includes the extra track "Storms in Africa (Part II)" )

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Must have

Group members:

Enya—all vocals and instruments

Guest artists:

Neil Buckley—clarinet
Chris Hughes—roto toms, African hand drums
Davy Spillane—Uillean pipes, low whistle

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan

Comments:

Rich tapestries of music. Beautiful. Great music for walking in the rain: the rain merely becomes a setting for the great longing expressed in the music. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Watermark was the first Enya album I heard, thanks to the success of singles "Orinoco flow" and "Evening falls". There are lots of beautiful tracks on this album, such as the title track and "Cursum perficio". Mostly, this is not very wild stuff but great to chill out to. (marcel@kimwilde.com)

"Watermark" is my favorite Enya album. (wpm@value.net)


Shepherd Moons

Release info:

1991—WEA—9031-75572-2  (The early releases of this album have the original version of "Book of Days" but most post-1992 releases feature the re-recorded English-lyric version of this song)

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Enya—all vocals and instruments

Guest artists:

Andy Duncan—percussion
Roy Jewitt—clarinet
Liam O'Flionn—Uillean pipes
Nicky Ryan—percussion
Steve Sidwell—cornet

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan

Comments:

Weaker than Enya or Watermark, but still good. Main problem is a lack of emotion in the music. Some nice lyrics. (jbr@casetech.dk)

After two brilliant albums, Shepherd Moons was, to my mind, a tremendous bore. Okay, so "Caribbean Blue" is amongst her best work, and "Book of Dreams" isn't bad, but for the most part I found the album to verge on unlistenable. (burka@jeffrey.net)


The Celts

Release info:

1992—WEA—4509-91167-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Enya—all vocals and instruments

Guest artists:

Neil Buckley—clarinet
Chris Hughes—roto toms, African hand drums
Davy Spillane—Uillean pipes, low whistle

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan

Comments:

This album is a re-release of Enya, containing a selection of material composed and performed by Enya for the BBC-TV documentary series The Celts. It has been remastered and "Portrait" replaced by an expanded version of itself under the title "Portrait (Out Of The Blue)", previously released on various singles as "Out Of The Blue". It has also been re-packaged with a new cover.

I still like it. If you're only considering this for the different version of "Portrait", then don't buy it. It's 'just longer'. (uli@zoodle.robin.de)


Oíche Chiún

Release info:

1992—Reprise—9 40660-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Enya

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan, Enya (1)

Comments:

A beautiful EP. Just 3 songs, a perfect length, and one of my favorites to listen to throughout the holiday season. "Oíche Chiún" is a beautiful Gaelic version of "Silent Night". (JoAnn Whetsell)

The Memory Of Trees

Release info:

1995—WEA—0630-12879-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Enya—all vocals and instruments

Guest artists:

No other artists are mentioned but they're probably the same as on the previous albums

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan

Comments:

I really like Enya's music, but have been left a little disappointed by this latest release. I have played it 4-5 times. Whilst I enjoy it, it hasn't really grabbed me (not like the first 2 albums anyway). I really think Enya needs to try and extend herself a little more, she is starting to sound the same and really needs to vary her style or approach her music from a different perspective with each new release. Considering that it has been quite a few years since Shepherd Moons, The Memory of Trees is very disappointing. I give it 6/10. (Garry_Potter.VICROADS@vrnotes.roads.vic.gov.au)

i have to say i was disappointed with the new enya CD, especially that second song that was the single. damn perky, it sorta annoys me. though the cover is awfully pretty. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Simply put, I find The Memory of Trees to be a beautiful album! I have heard the complaint that this new effort doesn't really break any new ground and I cannot really argue with that. However, my expectations may have been somewhat different. I really didn't expect any *grand* departure from what she has done in the past. After all, Enya is just, well *Enya*!
     I like the whole album, but not surprisingly, some tracks stand out more than others. I believe "Anywhere Is" is the first single to be released from the album. Seems like a logical choice as it does have a more mainstream pop sound to it. Although "China Roses" would have done well as a single also. I like both songs just fine, but I would not list them as my favorites. As for those, "Pax Deorum" is a dark, haunting (although most of Enya's music could be described this way) tune with Latin lyrics that just add to the dark mood. "Athair ar Neamh" is a Gaelic song that is just beautiful and ethereal. Really shows off Enya's voice. Possibly my favorite on the album. The last track on the CD, "On My Way Home" is a light, airy, optimistic tune that puts a smile on my face.
     That's just my take on the new album and I think most Enya fans would really enjoy it. I know I do. (kcd@cray.com)

While I don't think The Memory of Trees is on par with The Celts or Watermark, it's a far (and away) cry better than the last release Shepherd Moons. The most interesting track seems to be "Anywhere Is", which appears to instill either love or hate in its listeners. Personally, I love it, largely because it's quite unlike any song on the other albums Enya has released. I may never get another "Cursum Perficio" or "Aldeberan," but I'm relieved to find that Enya hasn't drained her muse dry. (burka@jeffrey.net)

While I agree with the general consensus that little new ground is broken here, I find it a darn beautiful album, and quite relaxing, too. It continues to grow on me. (rlovejoy@comcast.net)

My dad likes it a lot, but it's just a carbon copy of everything else she's ever done, and while that worked fine the first few times, it's starting to get old, y'know? You'd think by now she'd have figured out how to reprogram her synths to get some new and interesting sounds out of them, at least. Oh, well. At least now I know I won't be needing another copy for myself. :) (meth@smoe.org)

As to the track "Anywhere Is" on Enya's, I have tried to like it, really tried, but it fails on so many levels I just wind up starting with track 3 (and skipping a good song in track 1). That said, I can't recommend her new album highly enough. I have been waiting since 1993 for a new Enya and I am not disappointed with this one. (mp@moonmac.com)

Except for a couple of songs ("Anywhere Is" (which I *like*—it's like an ever-turning wheel/travelling song) and one other I can't recall just now), this is almost a carbon copy of her last album or two. But...it's good for putting on in the background :) (fleur)

I had quite high expectations of this one when I first got it, and to be honest it didn't meet them. It seemed to be a rehash of all her other albums with a new cover. However, upon listening to it more, I've come to like it a lot. I still think that the style of it doesn't differ much from previous efforts, it just bothers me less. It's done a fair penance in the CD player too, of late. (c.boek@ee.mu.OZ.AU)

I cannot say this is a disappointment, because I didn't really expect anything different. It's a pity that Enya doesn't seem able to evolve her music a bit. For me this already showed on her last album, Shepherd Moons. (uli@zoodle.robin.de)

It's all very pleasant, but exhibits virtually no pushing of Enya's own distinctive compositional envelope, so I find it rather disappointing. (GTP10@cus.cam.ac.uk)

To me, Enya's most recent full-length album is the least appealing of them all. I don't know, perhaps it's the reminiscence of its two predecessors that does it. I haven't played this CD very often and the only standout tracks I can find are the title track and the two very well-chosen singles, "On my way home" and "Anywhere is". (marcel@kimwilde.com)


Paint The Sky With Stars—The Best Of Enya

Release info:

1997—WEA—3984-20895-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

See above; all but two tracks are previously released

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan

Comments:

Paint The Sky With Stars is a compilation album featuring a selection of Enya's best known material plus two new tracks—"Paint The Sky With Stars" and "Only If". Some tracks appear to have been remastered, exhibiting better low level detail, and there is also some evidence of remixing, notably on "Ebudae".
     I quite like this compilation as it does indeed have Enya's best songs, and since it has the best tracks of The memory of trees (especially "China roses") it also saved me from having to buy that album.... However this compilation, most notably in the beginning of the album where the more up tempo songs are put together, does clearly show how similar Enya's music has been on all of her previous albums—the songs go together very well and it's hard to tell from which album they were originally (if you're not that familiar with the separate albums). Because of that I think this would be a good introduction to Enya's music. (Marion)

A Box of Dreams

Release info:

1997—WEA—3984-21333-2

Availability:

Released in Germany/Europe only?

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

see above; all but three tracks are previously released

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan

Comments:

The 3 CD box-set A Box of Dreams is a random compilation of the four Enya albums released up until then, with the 'new' tracks "Only if", "Willows on the water" and "Painting the sky with stars", taken from the compilation album Paint the sky with stars released in 1997 as well. As far as I know, this box set was only released in Germany. I have seen a Japanese version, but that one contained Watermark, Shepherd moon and The Memory of trees for some reason. The three discs, called "Oceans", "Clouds" and "Stars", are thematically ordered compilations, with "Oceans" containing 'vocal' tracks (i.e. with lyrics) and the other two instrumental tracks. "Clouds" seems to be a 'daylight' compilation with tracks such as 'Morning glory' and 'Miss Clare Remembers', whereas "Stars" seems to have a darker theme with 'Evening falls', 'Eclipse' and 'Marble Halls'. Perfect mood music and highly recommended even if you have all of the Enya albums (and don't have access to a CD burner!)
     The box is finally notable for the 36-page booklet, containing 16 transparent pages and looking more like a work of art than anything else. With precious little liner notes and extra goodies it can hardly be described as 'lavish', but comes dangerously close without being so. (marcel@kimwilde.com)

Amarantine

Copy-protected disc

Release info:

2005—Reprise Records—49474-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Enya—all instruments and vocals, arrangements

Guest artists:

Nicky Ryan—arrangements

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan

Comments:

Not as mushy as her weakest material, but not as strong as her best work either. Enya still creates gorgeous soundscapes, and when she picks up the pace a bit, she still creates interesting music. There are a few really beautiful tracks, including the two songs in Loxian, "The river sings" and "Water shows the hidden heart." Overall, though, it's too New Age and same-sounding for my tastes, a nice place to drift until you realize the landscape pretty much looks the same. (JoAnn Whetsell)

NBC Sounds of the Season: The Enya Collection

Release info:

2006—Rhino Custom Products—R2CD-74115

Availability:

Out of print?

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Enya

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan

Comments:

I only listen to Enya at Christmastime. Her voice and smooth New Age music just seem perfectly suited to holiday music, which she smartly makes in ep formats&—just the right amount of comforting sweet beauty before you get sick of it. Her third ep, Songs for the Season with Enya, available exclusively at Target, is a welcome addition. Sure, she makes "Joy to the World" into a bit of a downer, but she makes "Adeste, Fidelis" sound regal and magical. (JoAnn Whetsell)

And Winter Came

Release info:

2008—Reprise—512383-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Enya—arrangements, all vocals and instrumentation

Guest artists:

Nicky Ryan—arrangements
Pat Farrell—lead guitar and 12-string guitar (11)

Produced by:

Nicky Ryan

Comments:

This album is fantastic from start to finish, consisting of a mixture of Christmas classics and some originals. It's an incredibly soothing album. Very peaceful and serene. I'm getting as much playtime in during the winter season as I can—but wouldn't be surprised to find myself listening to it throughout the year. (lasherboy@gmail.com)

Really beautiful. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Further info:

Enya has worked with Clannad on their albums Crann Ull and Fuaim.


Thanks to Jens P. Tagore Brage, Marion Kippers, Marcel Rijs and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2009-12-02 00:20:18.
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