Cover: The Memory of Trees


Enya: The Memory of Trees

Yong Shu Hoong

BigO (Singapore) January 1996

The Memory of Trees

( WEA )

For those who remember, it all began with her surprise 1988 hit, "Orinoco Flow". Eithne Ni Bhraonain, better known as Enya, has to date chalked up more than 20 million in terms of worldwide CD sales. This feat effectively qualifies her to become one of Ireland's top-selling music artistes, second only to U2.

The new album, The Memory Of Trees, offers more of what Enya does best - mystical songs wrapped in New Age pop melodies and sometimes, Irish Gaelic lyrics, all delivered in her unmistakable vocals. The first hit off the album is "Anywhere Is", a cheerful, upbeat number that harps on the mind immediately.

Here, she sings about how the forces of time and nature keep the world in perpetual motion. On other tracks, nature and spiritual matters get entwined, like "Pax Deorum" (translated as Peace Of The Gods) and "Athair Ar Neamh" (Heavenly Father). The moving "Once You Had Gold" can easily find its way into the choir stands of medieval churches.

Complex harmonic arrangements, aided by the use of electronic samplings, add to the Gothic atmosphere of the songs while light instrumentals (like the title track and the very original "Tea House Moon") help to balance the moods.

But ultimately, the album remains essentially Enya-ish. A tune from a chorus may seem vaguely familiar, while an instrumental piece sounds just like an echo from the Watermark album. In that respect, don't expect major make-overs in terms of musical styles. But then again, why change a good thing? The people who contributes to Enya's success remains the same - lyrics courtesy of Roma Ryan while producer Nicky Ryan adds the finishing touches. And with Enya providing the vox, success should be guaranteed for the next few Shepherd Moons to come.