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"Born Eithne Ni Bhroanain on May 17th 1961, in
Ireland, Enya speaks Gaelic as a first language. In 1980 she got involved with
the band Clannad which featured her brothers and sisters. In 1982 she left
Clannad and started working with lyricist Roma Ryan and Roma's husband,
producer Nicky Ryan. Her first project in 1987, was to produce the score for a
TV documentary series titled The Celts. A compilation of the songs on the
soundtrack was released as a self-titled album in 1987, and then re-released by
Warner Music in 1992 under the title 'The Celts'. Ever since, Enya has been
working closely with the Ryans for the production of all her albums. Her debut
Watermark released in 1988, which included the smash hit Orinico Flow,
helped put Enya on the map, and was followed a couple of years later by another
masterpiece 'Shepherd Moons' with its chart topping Caribbean Blue. With
two immensely successful albums, Enya's popularity grew in the 90s making her
one of the leading female vocalists of all time, with more than 50 million
albums sold worldwide.
1987: Enya: The Celts
"This music, produced in the mid-'80s as the soundtrack to a BBC series, was released as her debut in 1987 and promptly ignored--yet its mix of atmospheric soundscapes and Enya's lush, layered vocals, sung in both English and Gaelic, is the template for her subsequent global hits, beginning with Watermark the following year."
Musicfolio Picks: Celts, Epona, Boadicea
-- Sam Sutherland, amazon.com
"From Watermark through Cursum Perficio (My Journey Ends Here) to On Your Shore spirits are evoked which I hadn't been in touch with for some time, and not in this way for longer. There is nothing here about the trivial concerns of conventional pop: no boy meets girl, no flimsy professions of undying love, no waking up the morning after and realising that it wasn't all just a bad dream. This music aspires towards a deeper impact, exploring moods, textures and memories in a way that draws in the subconscious and invites us to paint our own pictures. It is music which encompasses the Holy trinity of creative endeavour: intellect, emotion and imagination. It's light on that other vital element, celebration, but no matter. What it offers is enough to be getting on with, the product of a labour of love involving another kind of trinity -- a collaborative one, between Enya, Nicky and their other partner-in-crime, Roma Ryan. "
-- Niall Stokes, Hot Press (Ireland) 10/88
1991: Shepherd Moons
"Although it is called New Age, Enya's vacuum-packed music is more like pop with classical pretensions. She sings - or, more like it, breathes - in a pure, virginal soprano, occasionally in Gaelic. She then records up to 200 additional vocal parts and layers them for a gothic-choir effect. Other songs are strictly instrumentals. In either case, Enya's glistening cascades of piano and synthesizers sound soothingly like a gently flowing waterfall. The combined effect is both captivating and elusive. The frail melodies seem to slip through your fingers, repeatedly drawing you back into the record in the vain hope that THIS TIME you will pin it down. Much like Enya herself, in fact, who rarely does interviews and keeps a low profile in Ireland when not recording.
-- David Browne, Entertainment Weekly, 4/93
1995: The Memory Of Trees
"Enya still hasn't come out of her musical trance. That'll be good news to those who were captivated by 'Watermark' and 'Shepherd Moons', the Irish artist's two previous albums filled with blendings of multitrack vocals and synthesizers. On her new album, Enya remains on an ethereal plateau of her own, communing with musical spirits that seem to be generated by wind and tides. Still, there's no denying both the technical proficiency and the moodsustaining qualities of the 11 selections, which range from mysterious chanting and rich, orchestral-like textures to Enya's angelic, folk soprano (especially on Hope Has a Place and Athair Ar Neamh) and nostalgic-sounding pianistics. "
-- Don Heckman, L.A Times, 12/95
1997: Paint The Sky With Stars (Best of)
"Paint the Sky With Stars is a powerful, 16-song, career-spanning compilation that clearly was pressed for those who are unfamiliar with the woman's work, rather than for New Age fanatics looking for music to polish their healing crystals to. Newcomers will be pleased at how pop-oriented her classical and traditional-Celtic aesthetics are. Her most-recognized pieces, such as Orinoco Flow (Sail Away), Anywhere Is and Boadicea, are represented here... "
-- New York Post, 97
¼ 2000: A Day without Rain
"Unfortunately, 'A Day Without Rain', Enya's first new studio album in five years, lacks the edge that could pry it loose from the New Age niche. The Irish traditional music Enya performed so skillfully in the early 1980s with Clannad has by now largely disappeared in a mélange of sly, Celtic-flavored pop hooks and muddled mysticism. The only mystery is why it took her so long to come up with something so short (under 35 minutes) -- and, in many spots, so uninspired."
2002: Only Time: The Collection (4CD boxset)
"This Collection is the first career spanning collection of Enya's work, gracing 4CDs with 51 tracks. Featuring signature Enya favorites such as 'Orinoco Flow,' 'Only Time,' 'Caribbean Blue,' 'The Celts,' 'Book Of Days,' 'The Memory Of Trees' and much more. Also includes tracks not previously available on any domestic release such as 'Isobella,' 'Book Of Days' (Original Single Version) and 'May It Be' (Single Version). 48 page booklet features liner notes by lyricist Roma Ryan, a discography and archival photos. The 4th disc is enhanced with the previously unreleased performance of 'Silent Night'. The discs are housed in a purple-velvet covered digibook with 40 + page booklet."
½ 2005: Amarantine
"It's sometimes said that all Enya albums sound exactly the same. So it's only fair to say that 'Amarantine' does provide a couple of twists on the formula that's made the reclusive lady from Donegal one of the most world's most successful singers. First, the production is a little more stripped down than before, allowing her dreamy vocals to stand out from the hazy backdrop of etheral syths and whooshing keyboards. Second, many of the tracks are sung in the new language of Loxian, invented by Enya's lyricist after her Elvish outing in Lord of the Rings - not a bad idea, since it adds to the general air of mysticism that's always characterised her best work. Overall, this is the aural equivalent of a long hot bath with scented candles - if you're in the mood, then climb in."
-- Andrew Lynch, entertainment.ie, 12/05
¼ 2008: And Winter Came
"'And Winter Came', has been released in time for the coming holiday season. While it contains Christmas songs, it can more appropriately be called a seasonal release as many of the songs range beyond just one specific day. In many regards, other than the themes involved, it is a typical Enya release. Ten of the twelve songs are original and she continually overdubs her voice until it sounds like a virtual choir. The music infiltrates the senses and creates a mood that allows the mind to wander. Enyas music has always had a spiritual quality and so matches well to her creative visions of the winter season. My only real complaint is the flow of the album. I probably would have chosen a different order for the tracks as the songs, particularly on the second half of the release, come across as individual parts rather than a smooth whole."
-- David Bowling, blogcritics.org, 11/08
2001: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Soundtrack)
Enya contributes two songs to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack: The Council Of Elrond, featuring the song "Aniron (Theme For Aragorn And Arwen)" composed & performed by Enya, and the song May It Be, also composed & performed by Enya.
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