Shepherd Moons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the album by Enya. For the astronomical bodies, see Shepherd moon.
Shepherd Moons
Enya3.jpg
Studio album by Enya
Released 4 November 1991
Recorded 1989–1991
Studio Aigle Studios
(Artane, Dublin, Ireland)
SARM West Studios
(London, England)
Genre
Length 43:09
Label
Producer Nicky Ryan
Enya chronology
Watermark
(1988)
Shepherd Moons
(1991)
The Celts
(1992)
Singles from Shepherd Moons
  1. "Caribbean Blue"
    Released: November 1991
  2. "How Can I Keep from Singing?"
    Released: 1991
  3. "Book of Days"
    Released: July 1992
  4. "Marble Halls"
    Released: 1994

Shepherd Moons is the third studio album by Irish singer, songwriter and musician Enya, released on 4 November 1991 by Warner Music internationally and 19 November 1991 by Reprise Records in the United States. After the unexpected critical and commercial success of her previous album Watermark in 1988, Enya embarked on a worldwide promotional tour to support it. At its conclusion, she proceeded to write and rehearse new material for her next album with her long time recording partners, manager, arranger and producer Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan. The album was recorded in Ireland and London and continued to display Enya's sound of multi-tracked vocals with keyboards and elements of Celtic and New age music, though Enya believes her music does not belong in the latter genre.

Shepherd Moons received mostly positive reviews from critics and became a greater commercial success than Watermark. It went to number one on the UK Albums Chart and peaked at number seventeen on the Billboard 200 in the United States. The album was certified multi-platinum by the British Phonographic Industry and Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of 1.2 million and five million copies, respectively. Between 1991 and 1994, Enya released four singles from Shepherd Moons: "Caribbean Blue", "How Can I Keep from Singing?", "Book of Days", which charted at number ten in the United Kingdom, and "Marble Halls". As with Watermark, Enya supported the album with a worldwide promotional tour. In 1993, the album won Enya a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album, the first of four she has won in her career. It was reissued in 1992 and 2009; the latter for Japan with several bonus tracks.[1]

Background[edit]

In September 1988, Enya released her second studio album Watermark. It became an unexpected commercial success, charting around the world helped by its international top-ten hit, "Orinoco Flow". The album propelled Enya to worldwide fame and spent much of the following year travelling worldwide to promote it through interviews, appearances, and performances.[2][3] With such a length of time for promotion, Enya felt the priority was to return to the studio and record a new album rather than spend further time planning and completing a concert tour, partly due to the various difficulties involved in recreating her studio-oriented sound to the stage.[4] Enya went to work with her long time recording partners, manager, producer and arranger Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan.[5] When the process got underway, she was able to forget about the success of Watermark and start again. She added, "It felt like Watermark was a dream. It felt like it hadn't happened. And in a way it's nice because you can concentrate only on the music. You can forget about charts, how much you sold. You forget that."[6]

Recording and production[edit]

Shepherd Moons was recorded with new equipment purchased with the profits from Watermark.[7] Much of the album took place at Aigle Studios, the recording studio in the Ryan's home, then located in Artane, a northern suburb of Dublin. However, as with her two previous albums, recording and production had to relocate elsewhere as the Aigle facility lacked the correct equipment to complete the final mix and mastering. The album was finished at SARM West Studios in London, where "How Can I Keep from Singing?", "Book of Days", and "Lothlórien" were recorded with additional engineering and mixing carried out by Gregg Jackman.[5] As with Watermark, several musicians were brought in to perform additional instruments. Andy Duncan plays percussion on "Book of Days", Roy Jewitt plays the clarinet on "Evacuee" "Angeles", Liam O'Flionn plays the uilleann pipes on "Smaointe...", Steve Sidwell plays the cornet on "Evacuee", and Nicky performs percussion on "Ebudæ".[5]

Enya noticed a change in her own attitude when it came to recording Shepherd Moons, "the difference ... is that I've mellowed".[8] This was down to the greater amount of time Enya took away from the studio, particularly during "quite difficult" moments, while recording the album in comparison to Watermark. The process, she felt, improved her sense of creativity in the long run.[4] In some parts on the album, Enya recorded 500 layered voices without sampling or replication. When the melody to a song was completed, Roma Ryan would write lyrics to it.[9] Several months after recording and mixing was complete, Enya had not yet listened to the album. "I will find any excuse not to. And honestly, I have never felt so miserable as finishing this album. It's fear – fear that all your feelings and all your emotions have gone into the thing, and when you hear it, it won't live up to your expectations for it."[3]

Writer Molly Burke wrote about the album's artwork: "Shepherd Moons features Enya in what can only be described as an opera gown she could be twenty or forty but her delicate beauty is intact. There is a sense of timelessness here bathed in the dark but fragile blue of sorrow".[10]

Music and lyrics[edit]

"A continuation of where I'd left off with Watermark. It was new melodies, new emotions."

—Enya describing the album, 1991.[4]

The success of Watermark complicated the writing process at first. Enya recalled: "I put a lot of pressure on myself at the beginning ... When I was composing new melodies I kept thinking "Would this have gone on Watermark? Is it as good?" Eventually I had to forget about this and start on a blank canvas and just really go with what felt right in the studio."[9] As with all her albums, Enya considered a strong melody as a fundamental part to her songwriting.[11] Only when she has pieced one together, usually with vocal ideas or with piano accompaniment, does she then build a song around it.[12] As with Watermark, Enya sings Gaelic, her first language, English, and Latin.[10] Her Catholic upbringing and childhood experiences of hymns and church music, coupled with later studies in classical music, were big influences that helped form her albums.[12] She gained inspiration from several sources and stories, including her personal diaries and her grandparents.[6]

"Evacuee" was written after she and Roma saw a BBC documentary about a child evacuated from London during World War II. A girl who was crying while recounting the story of her separation from, and return to, her home had moved them greatly. After Enya had written a melody for the song, the two imagined the scenario of the girl saying goodbye at the train station, "waiting until it's all over".[10][6] "Smaointe..." translates into English as "thoughts". The song refers to the story of a large tidal wave destroying the church, and everyone inside it, at the same location where her grandparents are buried, at a graveyard by a beach at Enya's birth place in County Donegal. The theme of loss, something that Enya depicted in Watermark and Shepherd Moons, stemmed from her leaving home at age eleven to attend a strict boarding school. She added, "the feeling was devastating".[10] "Ebudæ" is an old Latin translation of the Hebrides islands in western Scotland. The word was previously referenced in "Orinoco Flow", specifically in the lyric "From the north to the south, Ebudae into Khartoum". The song is composed of wordless mouth sounds that resemble two Gaelic dialects, Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic. Its story was inspired by the tradition of Scottish waulking songs sung by women as they weaved cloth.[13] Enya drew inspiration for "Book of Days" from her own personal diary, something which Roma suggested as she knew Enya enjoyed keeping one. The song was adapted from its original form as an instrumental track for the soundtrack to the 1992 romantic film Far and Away, with Roma writing a set of lyrics based on the film's themes.[14] The song features Gaelic lyrics that describe the excitement of writing in the diary in the morning, "because you don't really know what's going to happen ... it's the expectation of that day really that she was talking about".[a][6] "No Holly for Miss Quinn" is a piano instrumental named after a novel by Miss Read. It follows its partner piece, "Miss Clare Remembers" from Watermark, also named after one of her stories.[14]

In writing about "Caribbean Blue" in 2002, Roma wrote: "As with all dreams we reach for the ideal and "Caribbean Blue" represents such a dream. The lyrics can be summed up in three words, Believe in yourself."[14] "Shepherd Moons" is an instrumental. Its title, devised by Roma, refers to two inner satellite moons around Saturn discovered in 1980, Pandora and Prometheus,[14] that "protect and preserve the rings very much like a shepherd guiding his flock". Enya also liked the title as the association with the moon "is quite romantic".[12] "Lothlórien" is in reference to the Elvish kingdom mentioned in The Lord of the Rings novels and adaptations.[14] Two tracks on Shepherd Moons are traditional songs that Enya rearranged with Nicky.[5] Initially, Enya felt worried that by recording non-original songs, she would be unable to perform them with the same amount of emotion as she might with her own compositions, though her strong feelings towards them coupled with their age, made recording them easier.[4] "How Can I Keep from Singing?" is a Christian hymn from the Shaker sect. She chose to record her own rendition of it as she liked its melody and "very strong" lyrics. She added, "They talked about the trouble in the world, the strife, the turmoil, but at the end of each verse it simply said "how can I keep from singing?" ... I believe this in music ... at some stage you've got to try and forget the trouble that is around you".[4] The second, "Marble Halls", is an aria from the 1843 opera The Bohemian Girl by Irish composer Michael William Balfe.[10][14] Enya felt a sense of challenge when she recorded the latter as it had only been previously sung in an opera setting.[4] For Nicky, it was necessary to incorporate reverb in the song as its title suggested to him that the listener should feel as if they are within a hall itself.[13]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[15]
Chicago Tribune 2.5/4 stars[16]
Entertainment Weekly B (1992)[17]
A− (1993)[18]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars[19]

Shepherd Moons was released on 4 November 1991 in the United Kingdom;[20] its release in the United States came after on 19 November 1991.[21] The album became a greater chart success than Watermark, reaching number one on the UK Albums Chart for one week for the week ending on 16 November 1991. It spent a total of 110 weeks on the chart.[22] In the United States, it entered the Billboard 200 at number forty-seven, the week of 7 December 1991.[23] It then rose to its peak at seventeen[24] on the week ending 28 March 1992.[25] It was present on the chart for a total of 238 weeks.[26] On the Billboard New Age Albums chart, the album was number one for twenty-nine weeks[27] during its 266-week stay.[28]

In its first week of release, the album sold over 250,000 copies in the United States,[9] and became Warner Bros. Records' top selling album in early 1992. This commercial success spread across Enya's catalogue; three months after Shepherd Moons, an additional 250,000 copies of Watermark were sold in the same country.[11] By July 1994, seven million copies of Shepherd Moons had been sold worldwide.[29] It sold close to one million copies in the United States each year from 1992 to 1996; in March 1996, it was certified quintuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of five million copies.[21] In January 1997, the album was certified quadruple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipment of 1.2 million copies.[20]

Between 1991 and 1994, Enya released four singles from Shepherd Moons. "Caribbean Blue" was the lead single, released in November 1991. It peaked on the singles chart in the United Kingdom at thirteen,[20] and received some crossover airplay exposure on alternative rock radio stations in the United States.[11] "How Can I Keep from Singing?" was also released in 1991 and features two previously unreleased B-sides: "Oíche Chiúin (Silent Night)", the Gaelic version of the Christmas carol "Silent Night" recorded in 1988, and "'S Fágaim Mo Bhaile", an original composition recorded in 1991.[30] In July 1992, "Book of Days" was released as the third single which peaked at number ten in the United Kingdom.[22] "Marble Halls" followed in 1994 following its inclusion in the 1993 film The Age of Innocence.

Shepherd Moons received generally positive reviews from music critics. In his review for The Washington Post, reviewer Mike Joyce praised Enya's vocals as "impressive" and "crystalline" that bring "unmistakable poignancy to much of the album". However, the tracks that focus on her piano playing, like "No Holly for Miss Quinn" and "Shepherd Moons", make the album "succumb to the usual new age doldrums".[31] Barbara Jaeger gave a positive review for The Record. The three-year gap between Watermark and Shepherd Moons, she wrote, was "worth it" as the album, like its predecessor, contains "rich sonic tapestries that envelop the listener" that brings a "lush, semi-New Age instrumental atmosphere" that is "only part of the inviting package". She picks "Angeles" and "Caribbean Blue" as highlight tracks along with her Gaelic singing.[32] In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Ned Raggett rated the album four-and-a-half stars out of five.[15]

In 1993, Enya was awarded a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album for Shepherd Moons. She also won a IFPI Platinum European Award, a Billboard Music Award, and a National Association of Recording Merchandisers Award for Best Selling Album.[33]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Enya, except "How Can I Keep from Singing?" and "Marble Halls" trad. arranged by Enya and Nicky Ryan. All lyrics by Roma Ryan.[5]

No. Title Length
1. "Shepherd Moons"   3:42
2. "Caribbean Blue"   3:58
3. "How Can I Keep from Singing?"   4:23
4. "Ebudæ"   1:54
5. "Angeles"   3:57
6. "No Holly for Miss Quinn"   2:40
7. "Book of Days"   2:32
8. "Evacuee"   3:50
9. "Lothlórien"   2:08
10. "Marble Halls"   3:53
11. "Afer Ventus"   4:05
12. "Smaointe..."   6:07

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the 1991 CD liner notes.[5]

Musicians
Production
  • Nicky Ryan – producer, arranger, recording engineer (all other tracks), recording and mixing on "Ebudæ"
  • Gregg Jackman – mixing engineer, recording engineer on "How Can I Keep from Singing?", "Book of Days" and "Lothlórien"
  • Robin Barclay – assistant engineer
  • David Scheinmann – photography
  • The New Renaissance – wardrobe
  • EMI Songs Ltd. – publisher
  • Rob Dickins – executive producer

Chart performance[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[51] 3× Platinum 180,000*
Australia (ARIA)[52] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Belgium (BEA)[53] 2× Platinum 100,000*
Brazil (ABPD)[54] Platinum 250,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[55] 3× Platinum 300,000^
France (SNEP)[56] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[57] Gold 250,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[58] Platinum 15,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[59] Gold 100,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[60] 2× Platinum 200,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[61] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[62] 5× Platinum 500,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[63] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[64] 4× Platinum 1,200,000^
United States (RIAA)[65] 5× Platinum 5,000,000^
Summaries
Worldwide 13,000,000[66]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Footnotes[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Later pressings of Shepherd Moons include a version of "Book of Days" with English lyrics that was originally recorded for the soundtrack to Far and Away (1992).
Citations
  1. ^ http://eil.com/shop/moreinfo.asp?catalogid=459819
  2. ^ Brennan, Enya; Ryan, Roma (December 1989). "Around the World in 300 Days". Hot Press. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Smith, Giles (December 1991). "Haunting, ethereal, mystical, etc.". Q (63). 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Brennan, Enya (5 December 1991). Elaine Canty. Interview with Elaine Canty. 3LO (ABC Local Radio). Melbourne, Australia. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Anon. (1991). Shepherd Moons (CD liner notes). Enya. Warner Music. 9031 75572 2. 
  6. ^ a b c d Dilberto, John (February 1992). "Interview: Jazziz Magazine". Jazziz. United States. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 
  7. ^ Applefeld, Catherine (2 January 1992). "Enya faces music through feelings". Billboard. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  8. ^ Jackson, Joe (26 October 1991). "Shepherd Moons Rise over the Watermark". Irish Times. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  9. ^ a b c Sullivan, Jim (4 December 1991). "Enigmatic Enya moves ahead with new album Shepherd Moons". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Burke, Molly McAnally (31 October 1991). "I Hear The Angels Sing". Hot Press. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c Hunt, Dennis (15 February 1992). "Digging Up the Irish Roots of Enya's Melodies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 
  12. ^ a b c D., Matthew (February 1992). "Enya: A Voice to Rival an Angel's". BigO. Singapore. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Brennan, Enya; Ryan, Nicky (27 December 1991). Interview with Kimberley Haas. Echoes. National Public Radio. United States http://www.enyabookofdays.com/articles/sm-12.htm.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ a b c d e f Roma Ryan (2002). Only Time — The Collection (Booklet notes, pages 15, 16, 19, 21). Enya. Warner Music. 0927 49211-2. 
  15. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. Shepherd Moons at AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  16. ^ Chicago Tribune review
  17. ^ Entertainment Weekly review 1
  18. ^ Entertainment Weekly review 2
  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 c "British album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 18 July 2016.  Enter "Shepherd Moons" in the field 'Keywords'. Select 'Title' in the field 'Search by'. Select 'Album' in the field 'By Format'. Click 'Search'.
  21. ^ a b "American album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 18 July 2016. 
  22. ^ a b c "Enya > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  23. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week of December 7, 1991". Billboard. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  24. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. Shepherd Moons at AllMusic. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  25. ^ "Billboard 200: The Week of March 28, 1992". Billboard. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  26. ^ "Artists / Enya: Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  27. ^ Bronson, Fred (9 December 2000). "Chart Beat: Enya Totals 110 In The 'Rain'". Billboard: 110. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  28. ^ "Artists / Enya: Chart History: New Age Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  29. ^ Duffy, Thom (23 July 1994). "Ireland's Enya Strikes a Universal Chord". Billboard: 11, 119. Retrieved 19 July 2016. 
  30. ^ Anon. (1991). How Can I Keep From Singing (CD liner notes). Enya. Warner Music. YZ635T. 
  31. ^ Joyce, Mike (19 January 1992). "Britain's Robert Wyatt: Still Bold, Political and Highly Personal". The Washington Post. Retrieved 22 June 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  32. ^ Jaeger, Barbara (16 January 1992). "QUICK SPINS: THE SOUL OF A DANCE DIVA". The Record (Bergen County, New Jersey). Retrieved 22 June 2016 – via HighBeam Research. (subscription required (help)). 
  33. ^ http://www.enya.com/about_albumsingle.php
  34. ^ "australian-charts.com Enya - Shepherd Moons" (ASP). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  35. ^ "austriancharts.at Enya - Shepherd Moons" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  36. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 55, No. 9". RPM. 22 February 1992. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  37. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Enya - Shepherd Moons" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  38. ^ "Album Search: Enya - Shepherd Moons" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  39. ^ "Hungarian Albums Chart". Mahasz.hu. Retrieved 3 November 2009. 
  40. ^ "エンヤ-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック" [Highest position and charting weeks of Shepherd Moons by Enya]. oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  41. ^ "charts.org.nz Enya - Watermark" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  42. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Enya - Shepherd Moons" (ASP). Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  43. ^ "Afyve charts Enya - Shepherd Moons" (ASP). Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  44. ^ "swedishcharts.com Enya - Shepherd Moons" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  45. ^ "Enya - Shepherd Moons - hitparade.ch" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  46. ^ a b "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2013-09-16. [dead link]
  47. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 50 Albums 1992". aria.com.au. Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  48. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums". billboard.biz. (subscription required (help)). 
  49. ^ "Billboard.BIZ – Year-end Charts – Billboard 200 – 1993". billboard.biz. Retrieved 12 July 2010. (subscription required (help)). 
  50. ^ "Billboard.BIZ – Year-end Charts – Billboard 200 – 1995". billboard.biz. Retrieved 12 July 2010. (subscription required (help)). 
  51. ^ "Argentinian album certifications – Enya – Sheperd Moons". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. 
  52. ^ NO certyear WAS PROVIDED for AUSTRALIAN CERTIFICATION.
  53. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – 2007". Ultratop & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. 
  54. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  55. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons". Music Canada. 
  56. ^ "French album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select ENYA and click OK
  57. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Enya; 'Shepherd Moons')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  58. ^ "Irish album certifications – Enya – Sheperd Moons". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  59. ^ "Japanese album certifications – エンヤ – シェパード・ムーン" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan.  Select 1992年5月 on the drop-down menu
  60. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  61. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons". Recorded Music NZ. 
  62. ^ "Spanish album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons" (PDF) (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España.  Select the "Chart", enter ' in the field "Year". Select ' in the field "Semana". Click on "Search Charts"
  63. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Enya; 'Shepherd Moons')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  64. ^ "British album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Shepherd Moons in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  65. ^ "American album certifications – Enya – Shepherd Moons". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  66. ^ Cizmar, Martin (10 November 2009). "Enya's Greatest Hits Coming Soon... Wait, Enya Had Hits?". Phoenix New Times Village Voice Media. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Greatest Hits II by Queen
UK number one album
16 November 1991 – 22 November 1991
Succeeded by
We Can't Dance by Genesis