"I can express myself better in Gaelic, much as with anyone and their first language. But there's no way I could sing 'On Your Shore' in Gaelic. It would sound so corny, it would be horrible. There has to be a different feel to a song to be sung in Gaelic."
Enya hits high 'Watermark' sans Clannad...
Los Angeles Times (USA) 5 March 1989
A typical song like Storms in Africa on Enya's Watermark
album has the feel of a boy soprano singing hymns in Latin against a
new-age instrumental setting with backing vocals from a pop girl group.
In fact, the mystery syllables are neither Latin nor even Cocteau Twin-ese,
The elusive and entrancing Watermark is not a
likely record to be nearing the 500,000 sales mark just two months after
its release. You can add Ireland's Enya to the "Extremely Unlikely
Success Stories" file, thanks to her gentle music's surprising
across-the-board appeal to new age, alternative rock and even Top 40
Only four of the eight vocal tracks on the album are
in Gaelic, her first language. The rest - including the hit single 'Orinoco
Flow' - are in English, but for reasons having more to do with musical
feel than international chart appeal, she says.
"I know by the melody if a song is going to be
in Gaelic or English," says the diminutive, sharply dressed singer
who writes and sings all her melodies. (Lyrics come from writing partner
Roma Ryan, wife of Enya's manager/producer/mentor, Nicky Ryan.)
"I can express myself better in Gaelic, much as
with anyone and their first language. But there's no way I could sing
'On Your Shore' in Gaelic. It would sound so corny, it would be horrible.
There has to be a different feel to a song to be sung in Gaelic."
Enya's U.S. success may seem even more unexpected given
the lack of same afforded to the group she was in before going solo:
Clannad, a long-respected band composed largely of other members of
her immediate family, with which she had a less-than-amicable split.
Clannad had "sort of settled into a formula that
was very boring," says Nicky Ryan, who was that band's manager
before quitting to take the helm of Enya's career. "I brought Enya
into the group, hoping that it would add new textures - and it did.
But two years later they were back into the same old routine again,
and I got bored. We fought about this and eventually split. And because
I put Enya into the band, I offered to take her out. Six years later,
here we are."
And now that Enya's success has wildly surpassed that
of Clannad, which kept her input to a minimum, is there a feeling of
"You think we might have a certain feeling of revenge?"
says Ryan. "Well, I might put it that way... I don't believe Enya
feels that way at all; she just sat down and wrote the music and (for
her) it's all water under the bridge. But from myself and Roma's point
of view... we do feel like gloating for a while."
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