A press release from Reprise Records
on the U.S. release of Shepherd Moons
Reprise Records (USA) November 1991
It is like nothing so much as a cathedral of sound, an all-enveloping choral
tide that sweeps over the listener, taking us to faraway places. It is music so
unique that only the name of its creator suffices to describe it: Enya.
With her 1988 debut album, Watermark, the music of Enya was
discovered by a worldwide audience. The LP sold a phenomenal four million copies
internationally, while its stunning single, 'Orinoco Flow/Sail Away', went to
No. 1 in virtually every country with a popular music chart.
Now, with the release of her long-awaited new offering, Shepherd Moons,
Enya returns to once again delight, challenge and mesmerize us. Here is a
haunting, evocative work that truly belongs to the global village.
Yet it is also music very much rooted in a time and place. A native of
Donegal County, Enya was raised in one of the last bastions of the Gaelic
language in Ireland. Her grandfather was a school teacher from the tiny island
of Tory. The island is also the point of origin of Enya's name, borrowed from
that of a local goddess. Her family insisted that Gaelic be spoken at home
resulting in Enya's lifelong love of the lilting language, which is heard on
some of the songs on Shepherd Moons.
Enya's professional musical career was launched in the early Eighties when
she began working with Nicky Ryan and Roma Ryan, who became her producer and
lyricist respectively. It was Nicky and Roma who encouraged the young singer to
step out on her own as a performer and songwriter with Roma sending some of
Enya's early output to various film producers. The first to respond was David
Puttnam, who commissioned Enya to compose the soundtrack for his 1985 feature, The
Enya was subsequently asked to compose a piece for a BBC-TV series titled The
Celts. The original concept behind the program was to have a different
composer score each segment, but after hearing Enya's offering, an original
composition titled 'The March Of The Celts', they immediately asked her to
provide music for the entire series. The results, released as an album, gave the
first real indication of Enya's wide-ranging appeal and eventually resulted in a
major label recording contract and the release of the above mentioned Watermark.
The album's extraordinary success catapulted Enya into the ranks of world
class artists virtually overnight. Music from Watermark was eventually
heard in the hit films L.A. Story and Green Card. Suddenly, it
seemed, Enya was everyone's favorite new artist.
Yet, withstanding all the pressure for a quick follow-up, Enya and her
longtime creative collaborators, the Ryans, brought with them the same time,
care and loving attention when they returned to Nicky's home studio in Ireland
to begin work on a new album.
It is a process that begins, as always, when Enya writes melodies, with
arranging help from Nicky. The music next goes to Roma, who pens the lyrics in
English and works with Enya to decide which will be translated and performed in
Gaelic. Only then can the exacting work of recording really commence.
Because Enya and Nicky insist on all vocals being recorded live to capture
subtle nuances not possible through electronic enhancement, the intricate
harmonies of the music require untold hours in the studio, with Enya singing up
to two hundred separate vocal parts. Small wonder that Shepherd Moons
took over eighteen months of studio time to perfect.
The result is more than worth the wait. From the elegant quick-step waltz of
'Caribbean Blue', Enya's latest single, to the stirring Shaker air, 'How Can I
Keep from Singing?', to the melancholy beauty of the title track, Shepherd
Moons is an album that reminds us how music, heartfelt and hearth-warmed,
really can make the world, and out lives in it, better, more beautiful and, for
at least the moment, at peace.
Note: Transcribed by Dave Allum from a copy provided by Steven Holiday.