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Enya in 2001 at the premiere of Sweet November.
Background information
Birth name Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin
Also known as Enya Brennan
Born 17 May 1961 (1961-05-17) (age 48)

Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland

Genres New Age, Celtic, World
Occupations vocalist, instrumentalist, composer, producer
Years active 1982 - present
Labels WEA, Warner Music UK, Warner Bros. Records UK, Reprise, Geffen
Associated acts Clannad, Moya Brennan, Brídín Brennan
Notable instruments

Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin[1] (born 17 May 1961), better known as Enya, is an Irish vocalist, instrumentalist and composer. Her name is sometimes presented in the media as Enya Brennan; Enya is an approximate transliteration of how Eithne is pronounced in the Irish language, her native tongue.

She began her musical career in 1980, when she briefly joined her family band Clannad, before leaving to pursue her solo career. She gained wider recognition from her appearance in the 1986 BBC series The Celts. Shortly afterward, her 1988 album Watermark propelled her to further international fame and she became known for her unique sound, characterised by voice-layering, folk melodies, synthesised backdrops and ethereal reverberations.[2]

She continued to enjoy steady success during the 1990s and 2000s; her 2000 album A Day Without Rain sold 15 million copies[3] and she was named the world's best selling female artist of 2001.[4] She is Ireland's best-selling solo artist[5] and is officially the country's second-largest musical export after the band U2.[6] Her album sales stand at 70 million as of 2009,[7] with over 26 million in album sales in the US.[8] Her work has earned her, among other things, four Grammy awards and an Academy Award nomination. She has performed in 10 different languages during her career thus far.[9]


Musical upbringing and Clannad

Enya was born in Gweedore (known in Irish as Gaoth Dobhair) in County Donegal into an all Irish-speaking and musical family, the sixth of nine children.[10] 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 Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair. From a young age, Enya appeared in many pantomimes onstage at Gweedore's local theatre and sang with her siblings in her mother's choir at St. Mary's Church, Derrybeg. She attended Loreto Community School in Milford, County Donegal and then moved away to attend college wanting to become a classical pianist, continuing her studies in music and also studying watercolour painting. Enya has four brothers and four sisters, several of whom formed the band An Clann As Dobhar in 1968. They renamed the band Clannad in the 1970s.

Enya (front row, right) on the cover of Clannad's 1981 album Fuaim.

In 1980, Enya worked with Clannad, the band composed of her siblings Máire (Moya), Pól, and Ciarán and twin uncles Noel and Pádraig Duggan. Enya played the keyboard and provided backing vocals on their album Crann Úll (1980), although she was not officially a member of the group until the 1981 release Fuaim, when she appeared on the cover. During that same year, Enya was also a member of Ragairne, the band of Altan front-woman Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh.[11]

In 1982, shortly before Clannad became famous for "Theme From Harry's Game," producer and manager Nicky Ryan left the group and Enya joined him to start her own solo career. Enya then formed her own recording studio, named "Aigle", which is French for "Eagle".

Launch of solo career: The Frog Prince and The Celts

Enya recorded two solo instrumental pieces called "An Ghaoth Ón Ghrian" (Irish for "The Solar Wind") and "Miss Clare Remembers" that were released on the 1983 album Touch Travel. She was first credited as Enya (as opposed to Eithne) 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 Sinéad O'Connor's debut album, The Lion and the Cobra. The title of the album is a partial English translation of Enya's Irish reading of Psalms 91:13 (KJV: "Thou shalt tread on the lion and the adder...") in 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.[12] The B-Side single "Eclipse" is actually a reversed and modified version of Enya's song "Deireadh An Tuath", from this 1987 album Enya.[13] The song "Boadicea", also from this album, would later be sampled by The Fugees on their single "Ready or Not" (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 (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 U.S., when it peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 in 2004).[10]

International breakthrough: Watermark, Shepherd Moons and The Memory of Trees

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Enya achieved a breakthrough in her career in 1988 with the album Watermark, which featured the hit song "Orinoco Flow" (sometimes incorrectly known as "Sail Away"). "Orinoco Flow", featuring Jay Tyree, reported to be named after Orinoco Studios (now Miloco Studios), where it was conceived, topped the charts in the United Kingdom, peaked at number 2 in Germany and the Watermark album sold eleven million copies.[10]

Three years later, she followed with another hit album, Shepherd Moons, which sold twelve million copies and earned Enya her first Grammy Award. The songs "On Your Shore" and "Exile" (from Watermark) and "Epona" (from Enya) were featured 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 had "River", "Watermark", and "Storms In Africa".[14] "Book Of Days" was featured prominently in the movie Far and Away, with an English-lyric version created for the film then replacing the old Gaelic-language version on all pressings of the Shepherd Moons album from 1993 onwards. In 1993, her recording of "Marble Halls" from Shepherd Moons was featured in the Martin Scorsese film, The Age of Innocence.

In 1992, a re-mastered version of the Enya album was released as The Celts including a longer, modified version of "Portrait", which was re-named as "Portrait (Out of the Blue)". Four years after Shepherd Moons, she released The Memory of Trees (1995), another Top Five success in both the UK and Germany, as well as her first Top 10 album in the U.S. Singles released from the album were "Anywhere Is" and "On My Way Home".

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In 1997, Enya released her greatest hits collection, Paint The Sky With Stars: The Best of Enya, again a Top Five smash in the UK and Germany, which featured two new songs: "Paint the Sky With Stars" and "Only If..."; "Only If..." later became a single. ("Only If You Want To", is an early version of "Only If...". It appears on a promotional Japanese CD called, The Best of Enya, and does not include the French lyrics.[15]) She was offered the chance to compose the score for James Cameron's 1997 film Titanic, but declined. The eventual choice of Norwegian vocalist Sissel Kyrkjebø, whose style is similar to Enya's, resulted in work that some sources erroneously credited to Enya,[citation needed] although in interviews, the songs were officially credited as the sound of Clannad. A 1989 recording of Enya singing an Irish language version of "Silent Night" ("Oíche Chiúin") has been reissued many times over the years, including The Christmas EP (which otherwise contained several non-holiday related previously issued recordings by Enya) and the 1997 edition of the charity album A Very Special Christmas.

Ansett Australia extensively used "Storms in Africa" for promotional purposes when the airline re-branded itself in the 1990s. The advertisements featuring portions of the song can be found on YouTube. The 1992 film Sleepwalkers features "Boadicea" as the film's signature tune.

A Day Without Rain and Lord of The Rings

Following a five-year break, Enya released the album A Day Without Rain in 2000, featuring 37 minutes of new material (34 minutes on the U.S. version). The album is Enya's most successful to date, peaking at number two on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart. The first single, "Only Time", was used in the film Sweet November and received U.S. radio airplay in late 2000. In May 2001, NBC began using "Only Time" to accompany commercials for their television series Friends, which helped the song get airplay on top-40 radio. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, "Only Time" was used as a soundtrack in many radio and television reports about the attacks.[16] Enya initially disapproved of this use, especially when bootlegged versions of "Only Time", mixed with sound effects from the attacks, were produced.[17][18][19]

Enya eventually released a special edition of the song, and a maxi single was issued on 20 November 2001 featuring a pop mix, with proceeds donated to the families of victims. "Only Time" peaked at number 10 on the U.S. Hot 100, number 12 on the Pop Chart and hit number one on the Adult Contemporary and Hot Adult Contemporary charts. In Germany, "Only Time" re-entered the German single charts at number 1[20] and the album A Day Without Rain reached number one some weeks later.

Enya won the Echo Award for best selling international single in Germany of 2001, and received a nomination for best selling album.

In 2001, Enya recorded "May It Be", which featured in the first installment of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Fellowship of the Ring, and was her second consecutive single to enter the German charts at number one. The video features scenes from the Peter Jackson film.[21]

Enya, self-admittedly, composes music slowly.[22] A new song called "Sumiregusa" ("Wild Violet") was based around a Japanese poem by Roma Ryan. In September 2004, the song was used in Japan as part of an advertising campaign for Panasonic. Warner Music Japan stated that Enya's next album was scheduled for release in Japan in mid-November. 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.[23]

Amarantine, And Winter Came..., and The Very Best of Enya

In November 2005, a new album, entitled Amarantine, was released. It reached the Top 10 in both the UK and the U.S., and peaked at number 3 in Germany. The album won the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album for 2007, Enya's fourth.

In 2006, Enya released several Christmas-themed CDs with newly recorded material. On 10 October 2006, Sounds of the Season: The Enya Holiday Collection was released containing six songs: the previously released "Oíche Chiúin" (a.k.a. "Silent Night") and "Amid the Falling Snow", new recordings of the standards "Adeste Fideles" (a.k.a. "Oh Come All Ye Faithful") and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" as well as two original songs, "Christmas Secrets" and "The Magic of the Night". This CD was released only in the United States in an exclusive partnership with the NBC television network and the Target department store chain. Enya was awarded the World's Best-Selling Irish Act award at the World Music Awards in London on 19 November 2006.

In late November, two new editions of Amarantine were released. In the UK it was reissued as Amarantine - Special Christmas Edition with a second disc containing the four new Christmas songs previously issued on Sounds of the Season (the original album already had "Amid the Falling Snow" while "Oíche Chiúin" is a recording dating back to 1988, which had already been featured on numerous collections). The U.S. received a special version of this release (Amarantine - Deluxe Collector's Edition), which also included three postcards and a copy of Roma Ryan's book Water Shows the Hidden Heart, which is referenced on the original album. Canadian fans could choose from the Special Christmas Edition of Amarantine or an EP entitled Christmas Secrets, which contained only the four new songs.

Coinciding with these releases was the re-launch of Enya's official website on 2 November 2006. On 16 November 2006, Enya mentioned on ITV1's that she was working on a new album. A month later, in a Japanese interview Enya said that the album would be a complete Christmas album and would be released in 2007[citation needed] which led to widespread fan speculation, such as on the official forum; ultimately, no release occurred at that time.

By mid-2007, Enya claimed to have sold 80 million albums. An American businessperson has coined the phrase "enyanomics" to explain Enya's ability to sell millions of records without giving any live performances.[24]

On 29 June 2007, Enya received an honorary doctorate from the National University of Ireland, Galway.[25] Shortly after, on 10 July 2007 (date also stated at Enya's official website under News), Enya received a second honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster.[26][27]

On 1 September 2008, Enya's website launched "The Loxian Games". The competition is a way for fans of Enya to win four grand prizes, which have yet to be revealed. Thirty more prizes will be awarded to runners-up. In past Online Competitions, winners were awarded autographed Enya albums. The launch of "The Loxian Games" and a brand-new website have recently come out. In 7 November 2008, And Winter Came... was released. The album is a Christmas and Winter themed album. Again, this was a huge international hit, reaching top 10 in many countries, an unusual accomplishment for a seasonal album.[citation needed]

In March 2009, Warner Music Japan released Enya's first 4 albums in a new format, called SHM-CD. This format brings a better sound quality when played and allows a better data reading by the player laser head. "The Celts", "Watermark", "Shepherd Moons" and "The Memory Of Trees" have been newly remastered and include bonus tracks which have also been remastered.The discs also bring new album art. The remastered version of "The Celts" also states that it was firstly released in 1987 under the name of "Enya" and included in the booklet is the initial album art for "Enya", as a clin d'oeil to her first album ever. Bonus Tracks are as follows: "The Celts" - Eclipse (1:32) "Watermark" - Storms In Africa (Part II) (3:04) & Morning Glory (2:27) "Shepherd Moons" - Book Of Days (Gaelic Version), (2:35) As Baile (4:06) & Oriel Window (2:22) "The Memory Of Trees" - Anywhere Is (Single Edit) (3:47), On My Way Home (Remix) (3:38) & I May Not Awaken (4:23) Note : Anywhere Is (Single Edit) and On My Way Home (Remix) are also featured on the compilations "Paint The Sky With Stars" and "A Box Of Dreams". For additional information, visit Enya's official page at Warner Music Japan.

On 23 November 2009, Enya released a new album called The Very Best of Enya. It includes most of her hits from 1988 to 2008. There are no new songs except for a previously unreleased alternate take of "Aniron", the original of which had been included on the soundtrack for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. A deluxe edition variant included a DVD containing a number of music videos from her career and bonus footage.

Musical style and other projects

Much of her music shows influence of traditional Irish, Celtic and classical music.[citation needed] As a musical group, Enya represents a partnership between 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, except Gaelic, in which Enya will render the lyrics herself.[10] Enya performs all percussion, instruments, and vocals in her pieces unless specified.[10] Although there are certain pieces where acoustic instruments are featured, almost all sounds of her pieces are created by a synthesiser. Her trademark sound is achieved by layering her voice as many as 80 times.[28]

Her signature sound is renowned for using simple arrangements with extensive multi-tracking vocals. She has stated in an interview that she has once dubbed her voice to about 500 times. The vocals are each performed individually, and are layered together to form a virtual choir, although all the voices are Enya herself. In "Cursum Perficio" of the album Watermark, Enya reaches a C an octave below middle C. Later in the piece, she sings a high A-flat above the treble clef.[29][30] She is described as a mezzo-soprano.[31]

On the album Amarantine, Enya sings in Japanese and Loxian, a language invented by Roma Ryan.[10] While most of her songs are sung in English, some of Enya's songs are sung entirely in Irish or Latin. Enya has also sung songs written entirely or partially in Welsh, 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 "Lothlórien" (instrumental), 2001's "May It Be" (sung in English and Quenya), and "Aníron" (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.

Enya has given several live performances on various television shows, events and ceremonies (her most recent appearance was in Gaoth Dobhair in the summer of 2005, which coincided with a tribute event 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 someday, and would consider it a great challenge.

Although her Grammys were for "Best New Age Album", Enya does not personally classify her music as belonging to the New Age genre. When asked what genre she would classify her music as belonging to, she would reply, "Enya".[10]

Selected discography

For a full listing of albums, singles and chart positions see Enya discography.
Studio albums
Other albums

DVD releases

In 2000, Warner Music released Enya: The Video Collection on DVD in Europe, South Africa 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 features 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 it 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) fan sites reported that a dispute over the sound quality of the release led to it being withdrawn.

Bootleg copies from Asia have circulated at the retail level in some parts of Region 1 since 2000. As late as 2005 online retailers such as continued to list the DVD as "coming soon".

In November 2009, the deluxe version of the compilation release The Very Best of Enya included a DVD bonus disc containing most (but not all) of the music videos from the 2001 release, along with the documentaries from that release, and videos from Enya's post-2001 albums. This time the release of the DVD (formatted as Region 0) included North America.

Personal life

As a member of her family's band Clannad, Enya formed a friendship with producer/manager Nicky Ryan. After working with Ryan for seven years, Clannad began looking for another producer. Differences in opinion about the future marketing of the band resulted in an acrimonious split among the group, causing Ryan and Enya to part company with Clannad to pursue a solo career. Following the split, Enya moved in with Nicky and Roma Ryan and constructed a small studio in a shed. Enya began giving piano lessons to earn some income, while the Ryans waited for inspiration to strike. Eventually a call from the BBC resulted in a commission to score music for The Celts television documentary series, and larger success would slowly follow.

Beginning with Watermark, Enya began to attract the attention of stalkers, several of whom succeeded in breaking into her castle and attacking some of the staff.[32] As a result, Enya spent an estimated €250,000 on security measures for her home, Manderley Castle in Killiney, County Dublin (named after Maxim de Winter's house in her favourite book and black and white movie, Rebecca).[10] In 1996, a man, who had been seen in Dublin wearing her photograph around his neck, stabbed himself after being ejected from her parents' pub in Gaoth Dobhair, County Donegal.[10][24]

In 2006, Enya made it to the number three spot in the ranks of wealthy Irish entertainers with an estimated fortune of €109 million (i.e., £75 million or US$165 million). This was enough to take her to number 95 in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006 of the 250 Wealthiest Irish People.[33]

Enya loves cats. In an interview published in 1988, when asked about pets, she replied: "I've got a cat. I love cats; at one stage I had 12. It was just bliss. They'd all lie around in the sun and then come up and climb around my neck."[34]

Enya's favourite classical composer is Sergei Rachmaninoff. Her hobbies include watching romantic black and white films, collecting artwork, reading, and watercolour painting.[15]

Notable awards

Enya has won four Grammy Awards for Best New Age Album to date:

  1. Grammy Awards of 1993, Best New Age Album for Shepherd Moons
  2. Grammy Awards of 1997, Best New Age Album for The Memory of Trees
  3. Grammy Awards of 2002, Best New Age Album for A Day Without Rain
  4. Grammy Awards of 2007, Best New Age Album for Amarantine

  Also, "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.

See also


  1. ^ Irish pronunciation: [ˈɛnʲə pəˈtrɪʃə nʲiː ˈvˠɾˠiːn̪ˠaːnʲ]
  2. ^ "Warner Music Australia - Enya | Warner Music Australia | Official Site". Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Enya Wins Best Selling Female At World Music Awards | Hobbit Movie News and Rumors". 2002-03-08. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  5. ^ "Enya's New Album Celebrates Winter". NPR. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  6. ^ "Enya Music (Used, New, Hard-to-Find)". Alibris. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  7. ^ "Enya talks about her new album And Winter Came". The Daily Telegraph. 2010-01-12. 
  8. ^ "RIAA: Top Selling Artists". RIAA. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  9. ^ "Enya Profile - Celtic New Age Music Star Enya". 1961-05-17. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Enya FAQ at
  11. ^ "Altan: National Geographic Music". 2002-10-17. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  12. ^ "Enya Biography - ARTISTdirect Music". Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  13. ^ 'Eclipse' reversal referenced on official Enya site
  14. ^ "Soundtracks for Green Card (1990)". IMDb. Retrieved 14 February 2007. 
  15. ^ a b Enya FAQ at
  16. ^ "Into The mystic by Marc Weidenbaum (Feb, 2002)". Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  17. ^ "And Winter Came Press Release". Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  18. ^ "Enya’s Biography – Discover music, videos, concerts, & pictures at". 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  19. ^ " :: Acts/Artists : Enya". Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  20. ^ "INFINITY CHARTS: German Top 20". 2001-03-05. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  21. ^ - Enya - May It Be
  22. ^ Steve Watt (1961-05-17). "Enya ecard was brought to you by the Joy Luck Club". Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  23. ^ "Official announcement". 2004-09-19. Retrieved 2004-09-19. 
  24. ^ a b "Article at". 2005-10-05. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  25. ^ "Enya received honorary doctorate from NUI". 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  26. ^ Enya receives second doctorate
  27. ^ "UU Honours Musician Enya". 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2009-08-14. 
  28. ^ Enya on IMDB
  29. ^ - Amarantine - Enya
  30. ^ - BBC Review - It's like curling up in front of a log fire with a glass of your favourite Amontillado
  31. ^ [1]
  32. ^ "Enya's castle invaded by stalker". BBC News Online. 3 October 2005. Retrieved 14 February 2007. 
  33. ^ [2] Times Online article - not found on 14 February 2007
  34. ^ Number One magazine, 2 November 1988.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

There is no set sort of rules, or no set sort of formula to the way we work in the studio ... so it's difficult to know ... what we'll move on to next...

Enya (born 17 May 1961), birth name Eithne Ní Bhraonáin (sometimes presented in the media as the Anglicized Enya Brennan), 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.



Writing every song, for me, is a little journey... It's everything. It's the walk you take in the morning, it's the night before, the meeting with people, landscapes, the chats, all of that evolves in some way into melody, but I'm not sure how it's going to happen. I'm dealing with the unknown all the time and that is exciting.

KSCA interview (1996)

The Memory of Trees promotional interview with Merilee Kelly of KSCA 101.9 FM (18 January 1996)
  • I think they find it — they find me quite confusing, because — they know the music, but they don't know anything about me ... because I keep a very private lifestyle so they end up ... making up stories as such. But I don't really concern myself too much about them.
    • On the music press
  • On the project The Celts I was asked to ... to write a song. And, at the time I was ... arranging with Nicky, and writing the music and performing ... so, no desire whatsoever to write lyrics!... But Roma was actually writing poetry at the time, and she was involved, with listening in the studio ... being the audience in the studio ... so she was involved with the project. So, it was very obvious that she would write the lyrics.
  • There is no set sort of rules, or no set sort of formula to the way we work in the studio ... so it's difficult to know ... what we'll move on to next. We don't like to say, "Never, no we'd never do this" ... But, we ... like the setup as far as there's only three people in the studio ... because the work is very personal, very intimate, very emotional ... and that is very important to the album.
  • I get very inspired by traveling, by being home in Donegal ... all those wonderful moments I'll take with me to the studio. And they, ah, then become at some stage, a melody. That emotion that I loved at some stage will evolve as a melody.
  • For me, I've derived from religion ... what... I enjoy ... and it's to go to church, but usually ... when there's nobody else there. I just love that moment, ah, to just sit there. It's very peaceful, very calm, and very therapeutic, and it's ... wonderful.
  • A lot of people tend to think that because I need all this time on my own in the studio, that I need time on my own, period. And that's not really true.
I get very inspired by traveling, by being home in Donegal ... all those wonderful moments I'll take with me to the studio. And they ... then become at some stage, a melody. That emotion that I loved at some stage will evolve as a melody.

The Telegraph interview (2005)

"Everyone thinks I'm so shockable" interview with Neil McCormick in The Telegraph (24 November 2005)
  • I like to stay up-to-date with what's happening musically ... I wish people wouldn't think that such things were going to shock me. 'Wow! Does Enya really watch TV?'
  • Regardless of how I live my life, there are people who develop fixations that are not healthy. It could be a visual thing, or it could be the music that they are drawn to. These people need help.
  • I do promotion when it is necessary ... But I always want to get back to the music. The personal appearances and red carpet events are very glitzy, but it's a bit false.
  • I'm not one for walking the beaches humming a melody ... I love the discipline of sitting in the studio, writing and listening. That is my domain.
  • They are as much "Enya" as I am.
  • There is no formula to it because writing every song, for me, is a little journey. The first note has to lift you and make you go, 'What's this?' You play C, but why is it that one day it leads to G and it didn't yesterday? I don't know. It's everything. It's the walk you take in the morning, it's the night before, the meeting with people, landscapes, the chats, all of that evolves in some way into melody, but I'm not sure how it's going to happen. I'm dealing with the unknown all the time and that is exciting.
  • I suppose there's a certain way I like the music to be performed, and I feel I can capture it better than anyone else. I know every note in every song, the whole history of it, even parts that were there and are gone.
  • The word workaholic is so severe, but I do focus a lot on my work ... I think a lot about what I'm doing in all aspects of my life, what am I trying to achieve here, am I happy with this? Music is like a mirror in front of you. You're exposing everything, but surely that's better than suppressing. ... You have to dig deep and that can be hard for anybody, no matter what profession. I feel that I need to actually push myself to the limit to feel happy with the end result.
Amarantine is an ancient word, which means eternity. The poets describe an undying flower with that word, and I fell in love with that idea...

Anna interview (2005)

"A Rare Meeting With Enya" interview with Henna Helne (24 November 2005) translated from Finnish by Suvi Kaikkonen.
  • Many childless single woman would be at my age already in panic. Also I have been thinking for the last 3 years, why I have been sacrificing so much time for my work. But, I have ended up to a thought that I would never change a single day out of my life. It would be lovely to get a family one day, but my life doesn't end even if that would not happen.
  • I and Nicky have got a lot of disagreements, but they are nearly always associated to music. Because we both are very strong-willing persons, we might sit in the opposite corners in the studio argueing about things. One does never know beforehand, whose idea works the best way.
  • Amarantine is an ancient word, which means eternity. The poets describe an undying flower with that word, and I fell in love with that idea ... For me that word suited rhythmically to the refrain of the piece. A-ma-ran-ti-ne. In our website the fans tried to guess something super-romantic to be the album's name, but this word was obviously never guessed by anyone.
  • When entering the studio, I don't know what will happen. I do a so-called trip into myself: I sit down at the piano and the melody might start to evolve from my playing or then I might start to sing it. At that stage I do not yet have clear ideas about what kind of emotions I would like to express. Until I play the completed piece to Roma and Nicky and when I observe their reactions, the music gets its meaning...
  • For me this career and that I am privileged to do a job I love to do, means really, really much. I would never change any moment from my life. When making music I sink myself into the process as deeply as I can and forget all of the success.

The Times Magazine interview (2005)

"The Invisible Star" interview with Nigel Williamson in The Times Magazine (10 December 2005)
  • I could have been more famous if I did all the glitzy things, but celebrity always seemed so unnecessary ... Fame and success are very different things, anyway. The music sold itself before anybody knew who I was, so I felt I had a choice. I told the record company I didn't feel the need to be out there at red-carpet events. I wanted a career. But I wanted to keep myself intact as a person.
  • I started writing instrumentals but Roma pointed out they were very visual, so she started writing lyrics .. and Nicky had this idea of creating a wall of sound and started multi-tracking my voice.
  • I didn't expect such a huge reaction, but I knew I was doing something different to everything else that was happening at the time ... People feel a very personal connection with the music.
  • There might be one little thing that makes all the difference, one note or one word. The fine-tuning is all important, and you've got to stay there until you get it right ... That's why it can take years.

Women's Weekly interview (2006)

"Enya - The invisible superstar" interview with William Langley in Women's Weekly (January 2006)
  • I am really a very shy person ... If I appear, it is because of the music, not because I want to be seen. I'm not a recluse. I like to go out, but I don't like the glitziness that goes with it.
  • I'm very happy as I am. I realise that I made sacrifices early in my career and that it was hard on my relationships because, when I am working, I am very focused and it isn't easy, when you have been in the studio all day, to say to someone, 'I'll meet up with you later on.' I learned that it was necessary to be dedicated and put work first. But, at the same time, it was a wonderful feeling to be successful at doing something I loved.
  • When I left school, I had a list of priorities headed by 'marriage' and 'children'. That is how, I suppose, as a woman, you are brought up to think. At the same time, as I grew older, I told myself that if it happens, it happens, and that will be fine, but if it doesn't, that will be fine, too.
  • I loved to talk about music to Nicky ... His influence came from people like The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and he had these ideas about layering vocals, painting landscapes with music. Roma knew about Irish mythology, told stories, wrote poetry and had this special feeling for lyrics. My grounding came from the classics.
  • Sitting and writing music on your own makes you think a lot about your life. Who are you? Would you change anything about yourself? This is where it comes from. It is like having a mirror held up in front of you, looking into yourself and asking these questions.
  • What I was looking for was a romantic athmosphere that I could feel at home with. I think I've achieved that. I love my home. I have friends round. I take care to live in it, not to work in it.
    • On her castle
  • I'm sometimes asked what are the pluses and minuses of celebrity ... and, for me, the biggest plus is being successful at something that I love to do. The minuses, unfortunately, include having to live with security and the knowledge that you may be stalked. ... I do like people ... I have lots of friends, but I can only be who I am.
People have this image of me as an ethereal Lady of Shalott, floating across the battlements, but it's a very small castle as castles go...

You interview (2006)

"From the Heart" interview with Maureen Paton in You (8 January 2006)
  • I live in Victorian Gothic castle in Killiney that I was so bold as to rename Manderley, because Daphne du Maurier 's Rebecca is one of my favourite books. ... People have this image of me as an ethereal Lady of Shalott, floating across the battlements, but it's a very small castle as castles go — with no big ballrooms... I don't write my music in my home, only in the studio; I want as normal life as possible at home, with dinner parties and entertaining.
  • The success of Watermark surprised me. I never thought of music as something commercial; it was something very personal to me... The writing of a melody is an emotional moment; success doesn't make it easy.
  • I felt as if we were two families: the older ones, who were away touring when I was at school and the younger ones. I was closer to my two younger sisters because of the nearness of our ages, but I feel I would have to have permission to say their names — they're very private that way.
  • I joined my family's band, Clannad , as a teenager in 1980 to sing harmonies and play keyboards, but it wasn't musically chalenging for me; I felt like an outsider. ... My split from Clannad two years later caused a conflict of loyalty for a time, because I went off with their manager Nicky Ryan, who had asked me to join Clannad in the first place.
  • Enya is more than just me. It's also Nicky, who arranges my melodies, and his wife Roma, who writes the lyrics. They believed in my music from day one
  • I have never come close to being married or engaged. I was with someone eight years ago when I questioned whether I wanted the pressure of being married or having children. I always felt that if pregnancy was to happen, it would happen; if it didn't, it didn't. ... I have security, I don't need a man in my life. I don't have pets, I have two guard dogs; and I don't do my own shopping; it's a security thing....The downside of success is stalkers. I have had death threats from people with fixations who need help.

Song lyrics

Note: Though all vocals and instrumentals on her albums are done entirely by Enya, nearly all the lyrics to her music are written by Roma Ryan, or taken from traditional sources.
  • Saol na saol, tús go deireadh. Tá muid beo go deo.
    • English translation: Life of lives, beginning to the end. We are alive forever.
    • "The Celts", from The Celts (1987) Translations for The Celts, from Enya: Translations and Lyrics. English translation by Fidelma McGinn, Daniel Quinlan, and Willie Arbuckle.

Watermark (1988)

  • My light shall be the moon
    And my path, the ocean.
    My guide, the morning star
    As I sail home to you.
    • "Exile"
  • When the evening falls and the daylight is fading,
    From within me calls — could it be I am sleeping?
    For a moment I stray, then it holds me completely.
    Close to home, I cannot say.
    • "Evening Falls"
  • The bright days of my youth
    They were full of hope
    The great journey that was before me then
    Was what was destined to be, bye bye.
    Now I'm sorrowful,
    The day is long past.
    Alas and woe, oh.
    • "The Bright Days of My Youth" (original Irish Gaelic title "Na Laetha Geal M'óige")
  • How far to go
    I cannot say.
    How many more
    Will journey this way?
    • "Storms in Africa II"

A Day Without Rain (2000)


  • All days come from one day
    that much you must know,
    you cannot change what's over
    but only where you go.
  • Each heart is a pilgrim,
    each one wants to know
    the reason why the winds die
    and where the stories go.

Amarantine (2005)

Less than a pearl English Translation:

  • Out of night has come the day
    Out of night, our small earth.
    Our words drift away.
    Our words journey
    to find those who will listen.
  • We call out into the distance...
    Less than a pearl in a sea of stars,
    we are a lost island in the shadows.


  • You know when you give your love away
    it opens your heart,
    everything is new.
    And you know time will always find a way
    to let your heart believe it's true.
  • You know love is everything you say;
    a whisper, a word,
    promises you give.
    You feel it in the heartbeat of the day.
    You know this is the way love is.
  • Amarantine...
    Love is.
  • You know love may sometimes make you cry,
    so let the tears go,
    they will flow away,
    for you know love will always let you fly
    — how far a heart can fly away!
  • You know when love's
    shining in your eyes
    it may be the stars
    fallen from above.
    And you know love
    is with you when you rise,
    for night and day belong to love.

It's in the rain

  • Listen to the rain
    Here it comes again
    Hear it in the rain
    Feel the touch
    of tears that fall
    — they won't fall forever
    In the way the day will flow
    all things come,
    all things go.
  • Late at night
    I drift away -
    I can hear you calling,
    and my name
    is in the rain,
    leaves on trees whispering,
    deep blue sea's mysteries.

If I could be where you are

  • Where are you this moment?
    only in my dreams.
    You're missing, but you're always
    a heartbeat from me.
  • Winter lies before me
    now you're so far away.
    In the darkness of my dreaming
    the light of you will stay
  • If I could be close beside you
    If I could be where you are
    if I could reach out and touch you
    and bring you back home
    Is there a way I can find you
    Is there a sign I should know
    Is there a road I could follow
    to bring you back home to me

The River Sings

English Translation:
  • Our words go beyond the moon.
    Our words go into the shadows.
    The river sings the endlessness.
    We write of our journey through night.
    We write in our aloneness.
    We want to know the shape of eternity.
    Who knows the way it is?
    Who knows what time will not tell us?
  • Mountains, solitude and the moon
    until the journey's end?
    The river holds the lost road of the sky;
    the shape of eternity?
  • Where is the beginning?
    Where is the end?
    Why did we fall into days?
    Why are we calling out into the endlessness?
    Who knows the way it is?
    Who knows what time will not tell us?

Long long journey

  • Long, long journey
    through the darkness,
    long, long way to go;
    but what are miles
    across the ocean
    to the heart that's coming home?


Translation : Wild Violet
  • The poignancy of things
    A purple flower
    The blossoms of spring
    And the light snow of winter
    How they fall

Someone said goodbye

  • Summer. When the day is over
    there's a heart a little colder;
    someone said goodbye,
    but you don't know why.
    Somewhere there is someone keeping
    all the tears they have been weeping,
    someone said goodbye,
    but you don't know why.
  • Always looking for a meaning,
    all the time you keep believing,
    but I don't know why
    you won't say goodbye.
    Even when the sun is shining
    you don't see the silver lining,
    but I don't know why
    you won't say goodbye.

A moment lost

  • It's only now when words are said
    that break my heart in two,
    I wonder how you can endure
    all I've said, all I say to you.
  • After all the words are said,
    after all the dreams we made;
    every one a precious one,
    every one a summer sun...
  • A moment lost, forever gone,
    can never be again,
    so know how much it means to me;
    all you said,
    all you gave,
    all your love to me.

Amid the falling snow

  • A million feathers falling down,
    a million stars that touch the ground,
    so many secrets to be found
    amid the falling snow.
  • The silence of a winter's night
    brings memories I hold inside;
    remembering a blue moonlight
    upon the fallen snow.

Water shows the hidden heart

English Translation:
  • From the City of Constellations
    to the wanderer
    and a Place of Rains
    he journeys on...
    ...the City of hesitation and doubt
    the Island of the house the colour of the sea
    the Plain of Mementoes
    he journeys on to find his love...
    ...the Valley of lost time
    the City of End and Endlessness
    the Isle of Revenents
    he journeys on...
  • in silence through the night
    close to the City of Realisations;
    it is here one finds the way...
    ...Mount Orison
    the City of Days
    the Tree of the lost
    he journeys on...
    ...north of his love
    a road through a valley of darkness
    the islands that are not of this world
    he journeys on to find his love...
  • It is a long way through darkness
    to the way of the eremite
    the eremite sings of the world and of
    the journey of love, which is not lost in eternity...


  • A lot of people know "Enya" the music, but they don't know what I look like, or what I do. And I think that that's really good… for me, and for the music as well.
  • People listen to the music and sense what it is about. Sometimes they know exactly what the songs are about, sometimes they interpret their own meaning to the music, and that's great when this happens because it shows it's striking a chord.

Quotations about Enya

  • Enya left school in 1979, and we had already been a nucleus, so it was probably difficult for her. She wanted to go off and do her own thing. Tensions were created because we never answered any of the questions. If you're going to answer questions, people aren't going to believe you anyway. The proof of the pudding is that Enya is my sister, and I love her dearly, and we get on really, really well.
    • Máire Brennan, On rumors of ill will between Enya and her family members who were also former Clannad bandmates
  • She does have a life. She'd kill me if I talked about it, so I'm not going to talk about it. There's a difference between being a private person and a recluse. All this blushed and flushed stuff about her being a recluse put it to bed, for God's sake.
  • Enya never writes a bad melody. That's first and foremost her secret. As she goes along, she'll start changing the dynamics, pushing here and there so that not everything is perfectly in unison. It adds a texture you can acquire only from having different voices. The variations lead to interesting quirks. It's an integral part of the Enya sound.
    • Nicky Ryan
  • Enya knew nothing about recording, about production or arrangements. Originally, we were stock-piling music and just letting her get on with it. There was no name on the music she was writing. All I knew was that hard work succeeded.
    • Nicky Ryan
  • I heard the soundtrack to The Celts TV programme, which Enya had done, and I thought "what's this magical music?", and it was such an antidote to the, sort of, the day's work, that every night I went home and played the soundtrack from The Celts. And then I met her in Ireland and she was telling me how she was signing to another record company, I went "no, no, no, no, you can't do this, you must sign with us." And I did it really just as a self-indulgence, that I thought this was beautiful music and wanted to be associated with it, there wasn't really a kind of commercial edge to it at all.
    • Rob Dickins, former chairman of Warner Music UK
  • Sometimes the company is there to make money, sometimes it's there to make music. Enya was the latter. I would have been a genius if I knew this was going to sell millions of records. I just wanted to be involved with this music.
    • Rob Dickins,
  • Enya and her team record and we stay in touch until there is something for me to listen to. I then provide an outside view. She is a genius in the studio, comparable to somebody like Brian Wilson, but she and Nicky can be their own worst enemies at striving for personal best all the time. I guess that's the price of perfectionism.
    • Rob Dickins
  • There's something about Celtic mythology which is deep in the soul, and I just think that somehow she has tapped right into it.
    • Rob Dickins
  • You tend to behave yourself in her company. Make even a small joke about her songs and she gets angry. And she does have a peculiar effect on men. I've watched normally sane journalists waxing metaphysical when they meet her.
    • Rob Dickins
There's something about Celtic mythology which is deep in the soul, and I just think that somehow she has tapped right into it. ~ Rob Dickins

The Other Side of the Rainbow (2000)

Quotations of Enya's sister, Máire Brennan from her autobiography The Other Side of the Rainbow (2000) ISBN 0340756128
  • Playing in a family band has many advantages, but it can often mean that when the going gets tough you take it out on each other with a liberty that only family can tolerate. I suppose it had always been difficult for Eithne. We loved what she brought to the band, but I know it was hard for her to infiltrate our years as a tightly knit nucleus. Musically, Ciaran and Pol had always been the creative force, and Noel, Padraig and myself had then worked our own expression around them. It was a good formula that worked well. Inevitably, when Eithne joined us full time, she found it hard. She hadn't been part of the original song-collecting days and consequently didn't share our enthusiasm for the old songs. I suppose she always felt little more than a "guest musician". As sisters we had always been close and talked about everything together, so I was sorry when band business caused a strain between us. One day, just after the tour, Eithne announced that she had decided to leave Clannad. She was going to pursue a solo career with Nicky Ryan as her manager. In the long term it turned out to be a good decision. I missed her, but I'm sure the apprenticeship with Clannad helped Eithne develop her own sound and afforded her strong contacts in the music business. She is talented and ambitious and, in the years that followed, the family was delighted to watch the success that came her way.
  • Over the years I have learnt to be on my guard but, as any artist will testify, you are completely powerless if a writer has a certain agenda. There have been many damaging articles that have hurt my family deeply stories about our relationships, particularly between myself and Enya. We resolved in the early days not to talk about our private lives but, especially in Enya's case, this has often led to more intrigue and false speculation. For an artist, it is the unfortunate consequence of being in the public eye, but what makes me really angry is the way the family inevitably bears the suffering.
  • Eithne had been working on her album and the single, 'Orinoco Flow', was released while we were in the studio. We were so excited for her. It was already at number eleven in the charts and we felt sure it was going to go up. We'd watched her on Top of the Pops the week before, so come Sunday evening we expectantly gathered in the house near the studio to listen to the Top Forty. Our youngest brother, Bartley, was working in London and he came over to be with us to hear the news. Number one! We were all shouting and screaming and hugging each other and you couldn't have heard the record playing above the din in the room. First we spoke to Eithne on the phone. More squealing. She was so happy and we knew that sharing the moment with us, even over the telephone, was very special. Then we rang our brother Leon who was over in Donegal. He'd been driving Mammy to church and they'd been frantically trying to get the radio station on the car radio so they could hear the result. The whole family were over the moon. That evening at dinner we had a bottle of champagne and toasted Eithne's success.
  • On Christmas Day the traditional Brennan Christmas continued in full swing. It was wonderful that we could all be at home together. The girls set about preparing the meal while the boys rearranged the furniture so we could all sit around the table together. Eithne had just got a video camera and was skulking from room to room trying to catch everyone at their most embarrassing. It didn't take much to get us to act accordingly and the house was full of laughter and song.
    • On Christmas 1990

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun




  1. A female given name; the anglicised form of the Irish Eithne.


Simple English

Birth name Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin
Also known as 'The Invisible Star' [1] [2]
'The Silver Lady' [1]
Born May 17, 1961 (1961-05-17) (age 49) Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland
Genres Instrumental
New Age
Occupations Singer, instrumentalist, composer, producer
Years active 1982 - present
Labels Warner Music
Associated acts Clannad, Moya Brennan, Brídín Brennan

Enya (born Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin on 17 May 1961 in Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland) is an Irish singer. She is famous for hits such as Orinoco Flow (1988) and Anywhere Is (1995). She has also won four Grammy Awards and has become one of the world's most successful female singers. Her vocal range is mezzo-soprano.

She was brought up with the Irish language, and did not have English until she attended primary school.


Enya has recorded the following albums[3]:

  • 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)

She has also recorded music for the following movie soundtracks[3]:

  • The Frog Prince (1985)
  • The Celts (1987)
  • Far And Away (1992)
  • Toys (1992)
  • The Lord of the Ring: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

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