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 (Taliesin Orchestra album).
"Orinoco Flow"
Single by Enya
from the album Watermark
Released 15 October 1988 (1988-10-15) (UK) 10 January 1989 (1989-01-10) (US)
Recorded Orinoco Studios, London
Genre New age
Length 4:25
Enya singles chronology
"I Want Tomorrow"
"Orinoco Flow"
"Evening Falls..."

"Orinoco Flow", also known as "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)" on some releases,[1] is a 1988 song written and recorded by Irish singer Enya for her second studio album, Watermark.


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 altered use of 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).

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 Mikael Blomkvist 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.

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
"The 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". 
  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. ^ "Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) (12" single at Discogs)". Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Orinoco Flow", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  9. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 48, 1988". Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  10. ^ German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  11. ^ Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  12. ^ UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  13. ^ a b c Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved 5 September 2008)
  14. ^ "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
  15. ^ 1989 Australian Singles Chart aria.com (Retrieved 5 September 2008)
  16. ^ 1989 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved 3 September 2008)

External links[edit]