Enya, birth name Eithne NÃ BhraonÃ¡in (sometimes presented in the media as the Anglicized Enya Brennan; b. May 17, 1961), is Ireland’s best-selling solo musician. As a musical group, Enya is really three people: Enya herself, who composes and performs the music; Nicky Ryan, who produces the albums, and Roma Ryan, who writes the lyrics in various languages. Enya is a phonetic approximation of how Eithne is pronounced in her native Irish. Enya is one of the biggest selling female artists in history, and was the world’s biggest selling female artist of 2001 and 2002.
Eithne was born in Gweedore, County Donegal, in Ireland in 1961 to a musical family, the fourth youngest of nine children. Her grandparents were in a band that 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 1979, Eithne joined Clannad, the band composed of her siblings MÃ¡ire, PÃ³l, and CiarÃ¡n and twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan. Eithne played the keyboard and provided backing vocals on their albums Crann Ãšll (1980) and Fuaim (1982). In 1982, shortly before Clannad became famous for “Theme From Harry’s Game”, producer and manager Nicky Ryan left the group 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 Ã“n Ghrian” (“The Solar Wind”) and “Miss Clare Remembers” that were released on the 1983 album Touch Travel. Eithne was first credited as Enya for writing some of the music for the 1984 movie The Frog Prince which was released on a soundtrack album of the same title. Another early appearance on record followed in 1987, where Enya provided spoken (not sung) vocals on SinÃ©ad O’Connor’s debut album, The Lion And The Cobra. The title of the album is a partial English translation of Enya’s Gaelic reading of Psalms 91:11-13 on the song “Never Get Old.”
Enya was contracted to provide music for the soundtrack of the 1986 BBC television documentary The Celts. The music she produced was featured on her first solo album, Enya (1987), but it 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 by Mario Winans, who did give her credit. (Ironically the Winans track, “I Don’t Wanna Know,” which features a rap by P. Diddy and is officially credited to all three artists, became Enya’s highest charting single in the US, when it peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in 2004.)
Enya achieved a breakthrough in her career in 1988 with the album Watermark, which featured the hit song “Orinoco Flow” (sometimes known as “Sail Away”). “Orinoco Flow” topped the charts in the United Kingdom, 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. The songs “On Your Shore” and “Exile” (from Watermark) and “Epona” (from The Celts) were featured strongly in the 1991 film L.A. Story. “Ebudae” was also featured on the soundtrack to the Robin Williams film Toys, while the 1990 film Green Card made use of her Watermark track, “Exile.” Most notably, the song “Book Of Days” was featured prominently in the movie Far and Away.
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 she declined. Cameron subsequently asked composer James Horner to adapt Enya’s style for his score. The eventual choice of Norwegian vocalist Sissel resulted in work that some sources erroneously credited to Enya.
Following a five-year break, she released the Grammy winning A Day Without Rain in 2000 featuring 37 minutes of new material (34 minutes on the US version). After the September 11, 2001 attacks, her song “Only Time” (from A Day Without Rain) was used as a backdrop in many 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 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.Amarantine, Enya’s latest CD, was released on November 21, 2005.Enlarge
Amarantine, Enya’s latest CD, was released on November 21, 2005.
Enya is self-admittedly a 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 reputedly working on her next album, but no release date had been set. In September 2004, a new song, set to words from a Japanese poem and called “Sumiregusa” (“Wild Violet”) was unveiled in Japan as part of an advertising campaign for Panasonic. 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 was immediately forthcoming.On November, 2005 a new album, entitled Amarantine, was released.
Enya is a very private person who tries to keep her personal life apart from her musical career, even by expending an estimated â‚¬250,000 on security measures for her home, Manderley Castle in Killiney, County Dublin. In spite of this, sometime around mid August 2005, there were two separate security breaches at Enya’s home, whilst she was there on both occasions. According to many rumours, she lives there alone. However, this impression is exaggerated. She says she leads a normal life, invites over friends, listens to classical music and travels often.As of 2006, Enya remains single, but is said, by a source close to her, to have started a new relationship at the beginning of February 2006. In 2006, Enya made it to the number three spot in the ranks of wealthy UK and Irish entertainers with an estimated fortune of â‚¬109million or £75million. This was enough to take her to number 95 in the Times Richlist 2006 of the 250 Wealthiest Irish People.
On her latest album, Amarantine, Enya also sings in Japanese and Loxian, a language invented by Roma Ryan. A number of Enya’s songs are sung entirely in Irish or Latin, with others containing the hitherto-mentioned mixed with English or English by itself. Roma Ryan has written lyrics in Welsh, Irish, Esperanto, Latin, Spanish, French 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 “LothlÃ³rien” (instrumental), 2001′s “May It Be” (sung in English and Quenya), and “AnÃron” (in Sindarin)”the last two which she composed 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 it lost to Randy Newman’s “If I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters, Inc. Enya has given several live performances on various television shows, events and ceremonies (her most recent appearance was at a tribute to the Brennan family that took place in Letterkenny), but she has yet to do a concert. She has said, though, that she would love to do it some day, and would consider it to be a great challenge.
- Enya (1987)
- Watermark (1988)
- Shepherd Moons (1991)
- The Celts (1992)
- The Memory of Trees (1995)
- Paint the Sky with Stars (1997)
- A Day Without Rain (2000)
- Amarantine (2005)
In 2000, Warner Music released Enya: The Video Collection on DVD in Europe and Asia, collecting all her videos from “Orinoco Flow” up to and including “Wild Child”, except for the video from “Book of Days”, which was replaced by a live TV performance due to licensing complications relating to the video’s use of footage from the film Far and Away. This release was a successor to an earlier collection of videos entitled Moonshadows, which was released on VHS and laserdisc in 1992. The DVD release also included interviews and featurettes on the making of two videos.
A North American (Region 1) release of the Video Collection DVD was announced on several occasions during 2000-2001, but did not occur; the reason for which has never been officially stated. At one point it was announced that the release had been delayed in order to allow the inclusion of the video for “May it Be”, while the (now defunct) Enya.org fansite reported that a dispute over the sound quality of the release led to it being withdrawn. As of 2005, The Video Collection is still considered to be “coming soon” by some North American online retailers although bootleg copies from Asia have circulated at the retail level in some parts of Region 1 since 2000. Despite the release of a new CD by Enya in November 2005, the Region 1 edition of the DVD collection remains in limbo and there has been as yet no announcement of an updated DVD release in other parts of the world.
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 KyrkjebÃ¸, Enigma, and Moya Brennan (her sister) have also often been mistakenly identified as Enya recordings (particularly those Sissel recorded for the Enya-like soundtrack to Titanic.)
Source: Wikipedia contributors (2006). Enya . Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:55, May 17, 2006