Enya – Same (The Celts) (1987)

OriginalFC1Enya is the first studio album by the Irish singer, songwriter and musician Enya, released in March 1987 by BBC Records in the United Kingdom and by Atlantic Records in the United States. It was renamed as The Celts for the 1992 international re-release of the album by Warner Music internationally and by Reprise Records in the United States. The album is a selection of music she recorded for the soundtrack to the BBC television series The Celts, aired in 1987. Four years into her largely unnoticed solo career, Enya landed her first major project in 1985 when producer Tony McAuley asked her to contribute a song to the soundtrack. After its director David Richardson liked her demo, Enya accepted his offer to compose the entire score with her longtime recording partners, producer and arranger Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan.

Enya is the first studio album by the Irish singer, songwriter and musician Enya, released in March 1987 by BBC Records in the United Kingdom and by Atlantic Records in the United States. It was renamed as The Celts for the 1992 international re-release of the MCalbum by Warner Music internationally and by Reprise Records in the United States. The album is a selection of music she recorded for the soundtrack to the BBC television series The Celts, aired in 1987. Four years into her largely unnoticed solo career, Enya landed her first major project in 1985 when producer Tony McAuley asked her to contribute a song to the soundtrack. After its director David Richardson liked her demo, Enya accepted his offer to compose the entire score with her longtime recording partners, producer and arranger Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan.
Enya received mostly mixed reviews from critics when it was released in 1987. It was a mild commercial success, peaking at number eight in Ireland and number sixty-nine on the UK Albums Chart. The album continued to sell; it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of one million copies. Despite its commercial performance, the album helped Enya secure a recording contract with Warner after chairman Rob Dickins became a fan of its music. After the commercial success of Enya’s next two albums, the album was reissued as The Celts which outperformed its original sales. It reached a new peak of number ten on the UK Albums Chart and sold a further one million copies in the United States. In 2009, The Celts was reissued in Japan with a bonus track.

Following her work on the soundtrack to the romantic comedy film The Frog Prince (1984), Enya’s first major project as a solo artist followed when, in 1985, she was invited by producer Tony McAuley to compose a track for his BBC television documentary series The Celts. As a coincidence, Enya had recorded a track named “March of the Celts” before she was asked to be involved, and decided to submit it to the project. Initially, each episode of the series was to feature a different composer, but series director David Richardson liked Enya’s track so much, he commissioned her to compose the entire score.

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Enya worked with her usual recording partners, arranger and producer Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan. The album was recorded in two locations; at Aigle Studios, a 16-track studio installed in the Ryan’s home, then located in Artane, a northern suburb of Dublin,[4] and a sound studio at BBC Enterprises at Wood Lane, London. When they recorded at the BBC studio, Nicky had to teach the audio engineers how he and Enya worked as their unusual recording process confused them at first. Nicky said he told them “to forget everything [they had] learned and just bear with us for at least a week”.[4] One such example was Nicky’s use of reverb, which he set to 24 seconds instead of the more common placement of one-and-a-half seconds.
A total of 72 minutes of music was recorded for the series. Roma recalled that Enya was given “various pastiches” that Richardson wished to incorporate into the episodes which Enya then used as a guide for to write music to complement them. Enya includes 39 minutes of selected pieces from the soundtrack. The album’s front cover depicts Enya posing with stuffed wolves.

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Several of the album’s track titles are titled or based on various historical figures and stories. In writing about the song in 2002, Roma pointed out that “Aldebaran” is named after the brightest star in the constellation of Taurus. In the Arabic language, the title translates to “the follower” as it follows the Pleiades cluster of stars, and the song is based on future Celtic people “passing Aldebaran on their journey to new territories, continuing their migratory pattern which was so predominant in their early history.” The track was recorded in its entirety at Aigle Studio as Nicky expressed the difficulty in having to recreate the recording process elsewhere. “The Celts” was used as the main title theme for the television series. “Boadicea”, which means “victorious”, is a reference to the queen Boudica of the British-Celtic Iceni tribe in East Anglia who led a resistance Roma Ryanagainst the occupying forces of the Roman Empire in 60 A.D., but was defeated and subsequently poisoned herself. As a song about her was already written, Richardson wished for a new track that depicted the idea of “being spellbound” by Boudica, which turned into “I Want Tomorrow”. In the liner notes of the album’s 1992 reissue, “I Want Tomorrow” is described, simply, as “thoughts of the present” and “March of the Celts” “echoes from the past”. “Deireadh an Tuath”, which translates from Irish as “End of the Tribe”, refers to past spirits and the fertile soil that helps ensure the future of the Celtic people, which is celebrated in the annual Gaelic festival Samhain, held on 31 October. “The Sun in the Stream” was inspired by the legend of the Salmon of Knowledge, a creature written about in various texts in Irish mythology who “possessed all the truth in the world”.
“Fairytale” is a track based on a story of early Irish literature about “love, jealousy, secrets and endurance” between Midir, a fairy king, and his love for a princess, Étaín. In the story, Etain is banished and transformed into a pool of water and emerges from it as a butterfly.[7] “Epona” is the name of the horse goddess Epona of the Gallo-Roman religion.[7] “Triad” is a track formed of three sections; “St. Patrick” is a traditional song that refers to St. Patrick who spent six years in captivity after he was captured by the Celtic people. The second part, “Cú Chulainn”, Irish for “hound of Cullan”, is named after the culture hero Cú Chulainn. “Oisin”, the final section, meaning “little fawn”, is based on the mythological character Oisín. “Bard Dance” refers to the bard, a man of ancient Celtic times who entertained the king. “Dan y Dŵr”, which translates to “Under the Water” in the Welsh language, is based on the intentional flooding of the village of Capel Celyn in Wales in order to accommodate a reservoir. (by wikipedia)

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With production and lyrical help fully in place thanks to her husband-and-wife gurus Nicky and Roma Ryan, Enya’s combination of Celtic traditionalism and distinctly modern approach finds lush flower on her self-titled debut. All the elements that characterize her music — open, clear nods to her Irish heritage, any number of vocal overdubs to create an echoing, haunting feeling, and layers of synth and electronic percussion — can be found almost track for track. The flip side is that those who find such a combination to be gloopy mush won’t be at all convinced further by her work here. It’s understandable why folk music traditionalists and anti-mainstream types would get the hives, but those not coming from that angle will find much that’s rewarding. Given that the album is a commissioned piece of work, it actually stands on its own quite well. The charging surge of the title track functions both as a fine introduction and its own stirring, quietly powerful anthem, a good sign for the rest of the album. There are a couple of slight missteps — an electric guitar solo disrupts the string-and-vocal flow of the truly lovely “I Want Tomorrow,” for instance. Generally, though, her musical instincts serve her very well, with many striking highlights. The appropriately three-part “Triad” showcases her ear for vocal work excellently, while both versions of “To Go Beyond,” especially the second, which closes the disc with an exquisite extra string part, also are worthy of note. (by Ned Raggett)

What a great debut album !

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Personnel:
Enya (vocals, keyboards)
Patrick Halling (violin)
Arty McGlynn (guitar)
Liam O’Flynn (uilleann pipes)
Roma Ryan (vocals)
Per Sundberg (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. The Celts (Enya/Ryan) 2.56
02. Aldebaran” (dedicated to Ridley Scott) (Enya/Ryan) 3.05
03. I Want Tomorrow (Enya/Ryan) 4.00
04. March Of The Celts (Enya/Ryan)  3.15
05. Deireadh an Tuath” (Irish for “End of the Tribe”) (Enya/Ryan)  1.42
06. The Sun In The Stream (Enya) 2.54
07. To Go Beyond (I) (Enya) 1.19
08. Fairytale (Enya) 3.02
09. Epona (Enya) 1.35
10. St. Patrick/Cú Chulainn/Oisin (Enya) 4.23
11. Portrait (Out Of The Blue)  1.23
12. Boadicea (Enya) 3.30
13. Bard Dance (Enya) 1.23
14. Dan y Dŵr” (Welsh for “Under the Water”) (Enya/Ryan) 1.41
15. To Go Beyond (II) (Enya/Ryan) 2.58

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Enya – Watermark (1988)

FrontCover1Watermark is an album by the Irish musician Enya, released on 19 September 1988 in the United Kingdom and 10 January 1989 in the United States. Featuring her first major hit, “Orinoco Flow”, Watermark was Enya’s breakthrough album release, and is considered a seminal example of new-age music, although Enya herself does not consider her work to be of that genre. (by wikipedia)

Thanks to its distinct, downright catchy single “Orinoco Flow,” which amusingly referenced both her record-company boss Rob Dickins and co-producer Ross Cullum in the lyrics, Enya’s second album Watermark established her as the unexpected queen of gentle, Celtic-tinged new age music.

RomaRyanTo be sure, her success was as much due to marketing a niche audience in later years equally in love with Yanni and Michael Flatley’s Irish dancing, but Enya’s rarely given a sense of pandering in her work. She does what she does, just as she did before her fame. (Admittedly, avoiding overblown concerts run constantly on PBS hasn’t hurt.) Indeed, the subtlety that characterizes her work at her best dominates Watermark, with the lovely title track, her multi-tracked voice gently swooping among the lead piano, and strings like a softly haunting ghost, as fine an example as any.

Enya2“Orinoco Flow” itself, for all its implicit dramatics, gently charges instead of piling things on, while the organ-led “On Your Shore” feels like a hushed church piece. Elsewhere, meanwhile, Enya lets in a darkness not overly present on The Celts, resulting in work even more appropriate for a moody soundtrack than that album. “Cursum Perficio,” with her steady chanting-via-overdub of the title phrase, gets more sweeping and passionate as the song progresses, matched in slightly calmer results with the equally compelling “The Longships.” “Storms in Africa,” meanwhile, uses drums from Chris Hughes to add to the understated, evocative fire of the song, which certainly lives up to its name. Watermark ends with a fascinating piece, “Na Laetha Geal M’Oige,” where fellow Irish modern/traditional fusion artist Davy Spillane adds a gripping, heartbreaking uilleann pipe solo to the otherwise calm synth-based performance. It’s a perfect combination of timelessness and technology, an appropriate end to this fine album. (by Ned Raggett)

EnyaPersonnel:
Neil Buckley (clarinet)
Enya (keyboards, vocals)
Chris Hughes (drums, percussion)
Davy Spillane (whistle, uillean pipes)

Booklet01ATracklist:
01. Watermark (Enya) 2.24
02. Cursum Perficio (Enya/Ryan) 4.06
03. On Your Shore (Enya/Ryan)3.59
04. Storms In Africa (Enya/Ryan) 4.03
05. Exile (Enya/Ryan) 4.20
06. Miss Clare Remembers (Enya)1.59
07. Orinoco Flow (Enya/Ryan) 4.25
08. Evening Falls… (Enya/Ryan) 3.46
09. River (Enya) 3.10
10. The Longships (Enya/Ryan) 3.36
11. Na Laetha Geal M’óige (Enya/Ryan) 3.54

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