Orinoco Flow

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This article is about the Enya single. For the Enya tribute album by the Taliesin Orchestra, see Orinoco Flow – The Music of Enya.
"Orinoco Flow"
OrinocoFlow cover.jpg
Single by Enya
from the album Watermark
Released 15 October 1988 (1988-10-15) (UK) 10 January 1989 (1989-01-10) (US)
Recorded 1987–1988 at Aigle Studios, Artane, Dublin, Ireland and Orinoco Studios, London, England
Genre New age
Length 4:25
Enya singles chronology
"I Want Tomorrow"
"Orinoco Flow"
"Evening Falls..."

"Orinoco Flow", also released as "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)",[1] is a song by the Irish singer-songwriter and musician Enya, released in 15 October 1988 on Warner Music internationally and 10 January 1989 by Geffen Records in the United States. It was released as the lead single from her second studio album, Watermark (1988). It topped the UK singles chart for three weeks and received two Grammy Award nominations for Best Music Video and Best New Age Performance at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards.


The song was released as the lead single from Enya's second studio album, Watermark, in October 1988. It became a global success, reaching #1 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, where it stayed at the top of the music charts for three weeks.[2] In the United States, the song peaked at #24 in the spring of 1989. The song was also highly popular in the early 1990s and was featured on many pop music compilations.

In 1994, the song was licensed to Virgin Records for the best-selling new-age music compilation album Pure Moods, and in 1998 a special-edition 10th-anniversary remix single was released. Part of its name is derived from Orinoco Studios (now Miloco Studios), where it was recorded, and its pizzicato chords (generated by altering the Roland D-50 synthesizer's "Pizzagogo"/"Fantasia" patches) are highly recognizable.[3] Signed to WEA by Rob Dickins, who served as executive producer of Watermark, "Orinoco Flow" was inspired by the Venezuelan river, and it paid homage to Dickins in the line "with Rob Dickins at the wheel."[4]

Locations and people referenced[edit]

Uses in popular culture[edit]

In 1989, iris breeder Cy Bartlett named a cultivar Orinoco Flow.[6]

Samples of the backing track are used in Rebel MC's hit single "Tribal Bass" (1991).

The song featured in an advert for Dulux paint in 1991.

The song is used in a 1997 television commercial for Crystal Light brand drink mix. [7]

In the 1997 South Park episode "Death," Stan's grandfather locks Stan in a room and plays a parody of the song performed by Toddy Walters to illustrate what it feels like to be old.

In the 2002 I'm Alan Partridge episode "The Talented Mr. Alan," Alan is caught singing the song to himself.

The song plays over the end credits of an episode of Peep Show and the music video is shown during the episode. Jeremy also talks about Enya during the episode.

The song is played during Rumpelstiltskin's announcement scene in the 2010 film Shrek Forever After.

The song is featured during a sequence in David Fincher's 2011 adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, in which Daniel Craig is tortured while his torturer listens to the song.

A version of the song is performed by the main character of Moone Boy when he and his friend are sailing on a homemade raft.

The song was referenced to as "Sarah Way" in Peter Kay's 2015 Sitcom Car Share.

The song was played in the first season of Cougar Town.

YouTuber Seananners references the Sail Away lyrics on occasion, notably while playing Gang Beasts, and is partial to the Pure Moods card in Cards Against Humanity due to this song being on that album.

In the Black Mirror episode, "Hated in the Nation", one of the characters listens to the song to relax.

Australian television show Please Like Me features this song in the opening scene of the first episode of its fourth season.

Track listings[edit]

Cover versions[edit]


Preceded by
"Desire" by U2
Irish IRMA number-one single
16 October 1988 – 12 November 1988 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Stand Up for Your Love Rights" by Yazz
Preceded by
"One Moment in Time" by Whitney Houston
UK number-one single
23 October 1988 – 12 November 1988 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"First Time" by Robin Beck
Preceded by
"Teardrops" by Womack & Womack
Dutch number-one single
3 December 1988 – 17 December 1988 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson
Preceded by
"A Groovy Kind of Love" by Phil Collins
Swiss number-one single
11 December 1988 – 8 January 1989 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Bring Me Edelweiss" by Edelweiss


  1. ^ "Enya – Orinoco Flow". Discogs. Retrieved 2014-12-10. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 494. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Paolo Di Nicolantonio. "Famous Sounds". Synth Mania. Paolo Di Nicolantonio. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "YouTube". Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. 
  5. ^ Philip Coppens. "Feature Articles - The sacred island of the Moon". Philip Coppens. Philip Coppens. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Orinoco Flow, at WorldIris.com; published 2004; retrieved 30 September 2012
  7. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMowz-PdSsQ
  8. ^ "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) (12" single at Discogs)". Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Orinoco Flow", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  10. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 48, 1988". Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  11. ^ German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de Archived 17 June 2009 at WebCite (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  12. ^ Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie Archived 3 June 2009 at WebCite (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  13. ^ UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  14. ^ a b c Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved 5 September 2008)
  15. ^ "British single certifications – Enya – Orinoco Flow". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Orinoco Flow in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  16. ^ 1989 Australian Singles Chart aria.com (Retrieved 5 September 2008)
  17. ^ 1989 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved 3 September 2008)

External links[edit]