songs are hauntingly memorable and she 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.
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 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.
A number of Enya's songs are sung entirely in Irish Gaelic or Latin, with others containing the hithero-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 rarely performs in public, and even when appearing on television often lip-syncs or sings to a backing track. She has never toured since becoming a superstar in 1988. She has said that her form of music is virtually impossible to perform accurately in a live venue. Nonetheless, there were plans for Enya to perform a live concert, perhaps for pay-per-view, but as of 2005 these plans have yet to materialize.
Watermark, Enya's breakthrough album.
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.
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