Introducing the Softline According to Enya

Tim Nicholson

Record Mirror (UK) 22 October 22 1988


Very occasionally, the hard and fast rules regarding radio-friendly singles, as determined by Radio One, melt down to accommodate something softer and slower. Exceptions to these rules in the past have included Laurie Anderson's 'O Superman', Dire Straits' 'Private Investigations' and Vangelis' 'Chariots Of Fire'.

The latest waiving of the regulations comes in the unlikely form of Irish neo-classicist Enya, whose epic saga, 'Orinoco Flow', swept into the charts in its first week of release. Taken from her exquisite LP Watermark, 'Orinoco Flow' is not short, is not catchy, is not danceable, and as such has not the slightest thing in common with its Top 40 companions.

Enya, as mentioned in Index last week, is a member of the family who form the bulk of the folk/rock group Clannad. Having spent a short while as the person who introduced keyboards and electronics into the Clannad sound, she soon decided that her future lay far from the rock arena, and locked herself away in her studio at the bottom of the garden to compose.

One of the many features of her music which sets her apart from the pop fraternity is her refusal to sing solely in English, flitting between Gaelic and Latin with consummate ease. She defends this choice with simple logic, "My voice is an instrument. The language of the piano is not in question, why should I restrict my voice to one form?". Argue with that and she'll just expose your linguistic shortcomings.

Ultimately, it is Enya's fate to become the darling of the CD-buying easy listener, and her appearances on Bruno Brookes' and Gary Davies' shows are just a brief dalliance on their part with "something a little bit different." Watermark will sell in its tons thanks to the free advertising it will get from 'Orinoco Flow', but for now, cherish the opportunity to stop tapping your foot for five minutes.



Note: Originally transcribed by Dave Allum. The article was overprinted on the photograph of Enya wearing the white dress from the Orinoco Flow video.