Enya (album)

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Enya (album).jpg
Soundtrack album by Enya
Released March 1987
November 1992 (Reissue)
Recorded 1986
Studio Aigle Studio
(Artane, Dublin, Ireland)
BBC Enterprises Studio Woodlands
(Wood Lane, London, England)
Length 39:06
41:04 (1992)
Producer Nicky Ryan
Enya chronology
The Frog Prince: The Original Soundtrack Recording
(1985)The Frog Prince: The Original Soundtrack Recording1985
Singles from Enya
  1. "I Want Tomorrow"
    Released: 1987
Enya chronology
Shepherd Moons
(1991) Shepherd Moons1991
The Celts
(1992) The Celts1992
The Memory of Trees
(1995) The Memory of Trees1995
The Celts cover
Cover for the 1992 reissue of the album, titled The Celts
Cover for the 1992 reissue of the album, titled The Celts
Singles from The Celts
  1. "The Celts"
    Released: 1992

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 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 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.

Background and recording[edit]

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.[1][2][3]

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.[5] 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.[4]

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.[3] Enya includes 39 minutes of selected pieces from the soundtrack.[5] The album's front cover depicts Enya posing with stuffed wolves.[6]

Music and lyrics[edit]

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."[3] The track was recorded in its entirety at Aigle Studio as Nicky expressed the difficulty in having to recreate the recording process elsewhere.[4] "The Celts" was used as the main title theme for the television series.[3] "Boadicea", which means "victorious", is a reference to the queen Boudica of the British-Celtic Iceni tribe in East Anglia who led a resistance against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire in 60 A.D., but was defeated and subsequently poisoned herself.[3] 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".[3] 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".[7] "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.[7] "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".[3]

"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.[7] "Bard Dance" refers to the bard, a man of ancient Celtic times who entertained the king.[7] "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.[7]


Enya was released on CD, audio cassette, and vinyl in March 1987 by BBC Records the United Kingdom, two months before the series aired on television. The album was released in the United States by Atlantic Records which categorised it as a New-age album and placed an imprint saying so on the disc,[8] which Nicky Ryan later thought was "a cowardly thing to do".[9] The album gained enough public interest to reach number 8 on the Irish Albums Chart.[10] In the United Kingdom, it entered the UK Albums Chart at number 79 for the week of 6 June 1987, climbing to its peak of number 69 on its fourth and final week on the chart, the week of 27 June.[11]

Enya released "I Want Tomorrow" as a single in 1987 as a 7-inch compact disc with "The Celts" as the B-side. A maxi single was also released with the aforementioned tracks and "To Go Beyond (I)" and "To Go Beyond (II)". Following the album's reissue in 1992, "The Celts" was released as a single with "Eclipse", a previously unreleased track from the Enya sessions, as a B-side. Another unreleased track, "Spaghetti Western Theme from The Celts", was released in 2005 as a B-side for Enya's 2005 single "Amarantine". It was released in memory of McAuley following his death in 2003.

Filmmaker David Bickley reused music from the soundtrack in The Memory of Earth,[12] an instalment in his documentary trilogy Mythological Lands. "Boadicea" was also used in the soundtrack of the 1992 American film Sleepwalkers. "Epona" appears in the 1991 Steve Martin romantic comedy L.A. Story.

1992 reissue[edit]

In 1992, after Enya gained worldwide commercial success with her following two albums Watermark (1988) and Shepherd Moons (1991) for Warner Music, Enya was remastered by Arun Chakraverty and redesigned with new artwork designed by Sooky Choi with photography by David Scheinmann.[7] The album was then reissued in November 1992 as The Celts by Warner Music internationally and Reprise Records in the United States. The Celts outperformed its original sales, reaching a new peak of number ten on the UK Albums Chart for two weeks from the week of 28 November 1992. It returned for two separate weeks 1993, one week in 1996, and six consecutive weeks in 1998.[11] In the United States, the album sold a further one million copies. It contains an new version of "Portrait" that is named "Portrait (Out of the Blue)", which was originally released as the B-side to Enya's 1988 worldwide hit single, "Orinoco Flow".[7] In 2009, The Celts had a limited Japanese reissue on Super High Material CD with "Eclipse" added as a bonus track.[13]

Sampling of "Boadicea"[edit]

"Boadicea" has been sampled by numerous artists. The Fugees sampled it for their song "Ready or Not" on The Score (1996). A lawsuit against the group for copyright infringement was prepared as they had not asked for permission and did not give her credit. However, after Enya found the group were not gangsta rappers, she decided not to follow through with the suit. As a compromise, later pressings of The Score included stickers placed on the cover giving Enya credit.[14]

In 2003, R&B artist Mario Winans sampled "Boadicea" for his song "I Don't Wanna Know". Producer P. Diddy personally contacted Enya for permission and gave her 60 percent of the royalties,[15] and included her name on the song's subtitle as "Mario Winans featuring Enya and P. Diddy". It went on to reach No. 2 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart in 2004. "Boadicea" was sampled on the single "You Should Really Know" by The Pirates featuring Shola Ama, Naila Boss and Ishani which peaked at No. 8 in the UK. "Boadicea" with "Ready or Not" was also sampled by R&B group Nina Sky on their single "Time to Go" featuring rapper Angie Martinez, from the mixtape presented by Cipha Sounds. In 2008, Italian DJ Francesco Zeta sampled "Boadicea" for his song "Fairyland". In 2011, a small sample of "Boadicea" was used on "Der erste Winter" by German singer Cassandra Steen for the album Mir so nah. She made another version the following year, subtitled "ReAmp", that also used the sample. In 2012, hip hop artist Meek Mill sampled "Boadicea" on his mixtape Dreamchasers 2 on a song named after the Fugees' song, "Ready or Not". In 2016, Salvatore's song "Dive" sampled "Boadicea", and Enya was credited as a featured artist.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[16]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[17]
AllMusic 3/5 stars[18]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[19]

Enya/The Celts received mixed to positive reviews from music critics.

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Enya; all music arranged by Enya and Nicky Ryan; all lyrics by Roma Ryan, except where noted below.

1987 release[edit]

Side one
No. Title Lyrics Length
1. "The Celts" Enya, Roma Ryan 2:56
2. "Aldebaran" (Dedicated to Ridley Scott) Enya, R. Ryan 3:05
3. "I Want Tomorrow" R. Ryan 4:00
4. "March of the Celts" Enya, R. Ryan 3:15
5. "Deireadh an Tuath" (Irish for "End of the Tribe") Enya, R. Ryan 1:42
6. "The Sun in the Stream"   2:54
7. "To Go Beyond (I)"   1:19
Side two
No. Title Lyrics Length
8. "Fairytale"   3:02
9. "Epona"   1:35
10. "Triad"
  • a. "St. Patrick" (Trad.)
  • b. "Cú Chulainn"
  • c. "Oisin"
11. "Portrait (Out of the Blue)"   1:23
12. "Boadicea"   3:30
13. "Bard Dance"   1:23
14. "Dan y Dŵr" (Welsh for "Under the Water") R. Ryan 1:41
15. "To Go Beyond (II)"   2:58
Total length: 39:09

1992 reissue[edit]


  • Enya – arranger
  • Nicky Ryan – arranger, producer, engineer on "Aldebaran" and "March of the Celts"
  • Nigel Read – engineer (all other tracks)
  • Mario Moscardini – sleeve design, art direction
  • Martyn J. Adleman – photography
  • David Scheinmann – photography (1992 reissue)
  • Sooky Choi – designer (1992 reissue)
  • Arun Chakraverty – mastering (1992 reissue)
  • Bruce Talbot – executive producer
  • Sam Feldman – remastering at Atlantic Studios, New York City




  1. ^ "Watermark press release issued by Geffen Records". Geffen Records (USA). January 1989. Retrieved 22 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "On Her Shoe: An Exclusive Interview with Enya". Inside Borders. January 2001. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Roma Ryan (2002). Only Time — The Collection (Booklet notes). Enya. Warner Music. p. 4, 10. 0927 49211-2. 
  4. ^ a b c d Graham, Bill (1987). "Enya: The Latest Score". Hot Press. Ireland. Retrieved 7 February 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Enya (Media notes). Enya. BBC Records. 1987. BBC CD 605. 
  6. ^ Azerrad, Michael (May 1989). "Enya: Clannad's Little Sister Sails Away". Musician. Retrieved 3 January 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Roma Ryan (1992). The Celts (Booklet notes). Enya. Warner Music. 4509-91167-2. 
  8. ^ Enya (Media notes). Enya. Atlantic Records. 1987. 7 81842-2. 
  9. ^ Lanham, Tom (1989). "Interview with Enya". The Sunday Chronicle. 
  10. ^ "Irish Charts > Enya albums". irish-charts.com Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 September 2009. 
  11. ^ a b "Official Charts – Enya". UK Official Charts. Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Enya.com". 2007-03-07. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  13. ^ http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=459825
  14. ^ "Irish Voice article at archive.org". 1997-02-18. Archived from the original on 2005-04-07. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  15. ^ "Where HipHop and Libertarianism Meet: "Sasha Frere-Jones in New Yorker"". 2004-06-28. Retrieved 2007-03-26. 
  16. ^ AllMusic review
  17. ^ Los Angeles Times review
  18. ^ AllMusic review
  19. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 280. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  20. ^ a b "ENYA - ENYA (ALBUM)". spanishcharts.com. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  21. ^ a b "ENYA - Albums and Singles". officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on 2016-07-13. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "ENYA - THE CELTS (ALBUM)". spanishcharts.com. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  23. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1993 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  24. ^ "American album certifications – Enya – Enya". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  25. ^ Young, David (11 July 2007). "UU Honours Musician Enya". University of Ulster. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  26. ^ "Argentinian album certifications – Enya – The Celts". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. 
  27. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1996 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  28. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Enya – The Celts" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  29. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Enya; 'The Celts')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  30. ^ "RIAJ > The Record > April 1998 > Certified Awards (February 1998)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  31. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Enya – The Celts". Recorded Music NZ. 
  32. ^ "Spanish album certifications – Enya – The Celts" (PDF) (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España.  Select album under "Chart", enter ' in the field "Year". Select ' in the field "Semana". Click on "Search Charts"
  33. ^ "British album certifications – Enya – The Celts". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter The Celts in the search field and then press Enter.
  34. ^ "American album certifications – Enya – The Celts". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  35. ^ "University Of Ulster News Release - UU Honours Musician Enya". news.ulster.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 

External links[edit]