From Academic Kids

Missing image
Enya won a Grammy for "Best New Age Album," though she denies her music is of that genre. This image is taken from a late-1980s television interview.

Enya (born 17 May 1961), birth name Eithne Ní Bhraonáin (sometimes seen as the Anglicized Enya Brennan), is Ireland's best-selling solo musician. As a musical group, Enya is really three people: Enya herself composes and performs the music; Nicky Ryan, who produces the records; and Roma Ryan, who writes the lyrics, often in several languages. Enya is a phonetic approximation of how Eithne is pronounced in her native Irish Gaelic.



Musical upbringing

Eithne was born in Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland in 1961 to a musical family. Her grandparents were in a band that traveled and played throughout Ireland, her father was the leader of the Slieve Foy Band before opening a pub, and her mother played in a dance band and later taught music at the Gweedore Comprehensive School. Eithne has four brothers and four sisters, several of whom formed the band An Clann As Dobhair in 1968 (they renamed the band Clannad in the 1970s).

In 1980, Eithne joined Clannad, the band composed of her siblings Máire, Pól, and Ciarán and twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan. Eithne played the keyboard and provided backing vocals on their albums Cran Ull (1980) and Fuaim (1982). In 1982 (shortly before Clannad became famous for "Theme From Harry's Game"), producer and manager Nicky Ryan left Clannad and Eithne joined him to start her own solo career.


Eithne, working with Nicky and his wife Roma, recorded two solo instrumental songs called "An Ghaoth On Ghrian" ("The Solar Wind") and "Miss Clare Remembers" that were released on the 1984 album Touch Travel. Eithne was first credited as Enya for writing some of the music for the 1984 movie The Frog Prince. She was contracted to provide music for the soundtrack of the 1986 television documentary The Celts. The music she produced was featured on her first solo album, Enya (1987), but attracted little attention at the time. The song "Boadicea" from this album would later be sampled by The Fugees (1996, causing a brief stir because the group neither sought permission from Enya nor gave her credit initially) and Mario Winans (2004).

Enya achieved a breakthrough in her career in 1988 with the album Watermark featuring the hit song "Orinoco Flow" (sometimes referred to as "Sail Away"). "Orinoco Flow" topped the charts in Britain and the album sold eight million copies. Three years later, she followed with another hit album Shepherd Moons, which sold ten million copies and earned Enya her first Grammy Award. Despite winning Grammys for "Best New Age Album", Enya does not personally classify her music as belonging to that genre. Four years later she released the Grammy-winning The Memory of Trees (1995).

In 1997 Enya released her greatest hits collection Paint The Sky With Stars: The Best of Enya, which featured two new songs. She was offered the chance to compose the score for James Cameron's 1997 film Titanic, but declined. Cameron subsequently asked composer James Horner to adapt Enya's style for his score. The resulting score was so similar to Enya's work that some sources erroneously credit Enya with the music.

Following a five year wait, she released A Day Without Rain in 2000 featuring 34 minutes of new material. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, her song "Only Time" (from A Day Without Rain) was used as a backdrop for many in radio and TV reports about the attacks. She initially frowned upon this use, especially when many bootlegged versions of "Only Time" mixed with sound effects from the attack began to appear. She agreed to release a special edition of the song with funds going to the families of victims. Many Enya fans, however, are resentful that her music has been forever linked with the attacks; an example of this occurred on a 2002 appearance on CNN's Larry King Live when images of battle in Afghanistan were shown on screen as she performed "May It Be", a song with no war connection. This sparked some complaints within Enya's fan community.

Enya is a self-admitted slow worker when it comes to composing music. As a result, fans have had to wait as long as five years between albums. In 2004, Enya was reportedly working on her next album, but no release date is in sight. In September 2004, a new song called "Sumiregusa" was unveiled in Japan as part of an advertising campaign for Panasonic (commercial release has yet to occur as of November 2004). In announcing the new recording, Warner Music Japan stated that Enya's next album was scheduled for release (in Japan at least) in mid-November. After a brief flurry of excitement among fans, Enya issued a press release on her official Web site on 19 September stating that this was a mistake and no new album is immediately forthcoming.

Enya's official website in Germany (www.enya.de) has indicated that a new album may be released in November 2005 in Germany. Warner Music Germany confirms this release date. However, Aigle Music, which is directly owned by Eithne Brennan and the Ryans, has yet to make an announcement. As of June 2005, no update has appeared on Enya's international website www.enya.com, either, and many fans remain skeptical given that a previous official announcement -- that of Warner Music Japan -- has already proven false.


A number of Enya's songs are sung entirely in Irish Gaelic or Latin, with others containing the hitherto-mentioned mixed with English or English by itself. Roma Ryan has written lyrics in Welsh, Irish, Latin, Spanish, and even languages created by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Enya has performed songs relating to J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, including 1991's "Lothlórien" and 2001's "May It Be" (sung in English and Quenya) and "Aníron" (in Sindarin)—the last two appearing on the soundtrack of Peter Jackson's movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. "May It Be" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song at the 2002 ceremonies, but did not win.

Enya has given several live performances, on various television shows, events and ceremonies, but has yet to do a concert. She has said, though, that she would love to do it some day, and considers it to be a great possible challenge.


Missing image
Watermark, Enya's breakthrough album.


  • Enya (1987)
    • Two versions of this album were released. When reissued by Warner Music under the title, The Celts, the original-release track entitled "Portrait" was replaced with an identical -- but longer -- piece of music entitled "Out of the Blue."
  • Watermark (1988)
    • Some versions of this album include an extra track, "Storms in Africa Part II".
  • Shepherd Moons (1991, won 1992 Grammy for "Best New Age Album")
    • There are at least two versions of Shepherd Moons. The first release featured a Gaelic-language version of the song Book of Days. An English-language version of this song was subsequently used in the soundtrack of the movie Far and Away. Coinciding with that, all pressings of the album, as well as singles and collections, from mid 1992-on include the English-language version in lieu of the original.
  • The Celts (1992) (remastered rerelease of the 1987 album Enya)
  • The Memory of Trees (1995, won 1996 Grammy for "Best New Age Album")
  • Paint The Sky With Stars (1997) (greatest hits collection with two new tracks)
  • A Day Without Rain (2000, won 2001 Grammy for "Best New Age Album")
    • Three versions of A Day Without Rain were released. Aside from the general release in the US and UK, the Canadian edition included one bonus track, while Japanese fans got to hear two bonuses.

In addition, a 1986 soundtrack album for The Frog Prince (a.k.a. French Lesson) contains mostly music composed by Enya but not performed by her; a later CD release added two previously unreleased vocal tracks by her.


Over the years, Enya has released a large number of CD singles, many of which included bonus tracks that were not included in any of the albums:

It is a common misconception that Enya recorded the song "Adiemus". This is false, as it was recorded by a band of the same name. This song is often distributed through file sharing networks with this erroneous information. Similarly, recordings by Loreena McKennitt, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Moya Brennan (her sister) have also often been mistakenly identified as Enya recordings (particularly those Sissel recorded for the Enya-like soundtrack to Titanic).

See also

External links

de:Enya es:Enya ga:Eithne gd:Eithne nl:Enya ja:エンヤ pl:Enya fi:Enya sv:Enya


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