TV Interview: To Go Beyond
BBC (UK) 1987
Enya: I come from an area called Gaoth Dobhair, which is in the northwest of Donegal. It's the area where we only speak Irish. It's the Gaeltacht part. And my family come from here and they've got a very strong musical background. My father and my mother were both in a show band called the Slieve Foy Dance Band. They used to tour a lot in Ireland, and in England, and in Scotland. Being brought up in the Gaeltacht, you're brought up speaking Irish, so you go to school to learn how to speak English. There's a very strong traditional background in the Gaeltacht and it appealed to me. And then, later on, when I went to boarding school and started studying classical music I combined the two. When I was with the group Clannad, who are my immediate family, I was touring with them for two years. I was playing keyboards, synthesizers, and Wurlitzer piano. And from there on I used the piano as my main instrument, but a lot of the synthesizer as well.
We were approached by a BBC producer called Tony McAuley and he rang up one day asking if we were interested in writing music for a TV series called The Celts. And he said there were various composers who were writing for it, but the director was looking for something very different. So myself and Nicky Ryan, who works with me, decided to, uh, write a piece that would be appropriate for The Celts. So we came up with the piece 'The March of the Celts,' and spent a few days arranging it, and sent it away. And they accepted it and then we were commissioned to write all of the music for The Celts.
For the signature tune, I was looking for something that was both catchy and original and different to everything else I had written for The Celts. And, um, I had been working with the piano and the synthesizer and it happened on the synthesizer that I got this riff. Um, it went sort of 'bum bum-bum bum-bum,' you know, this type. And I got excited about it and then I started writing the right hand melody. And it just from there on worked for me really.
There's a piece that I wrote called 'Deireadh an Tuath', which means "The End of the Tribe", or "The End of an Clann". And when I was reading about the Celts, I was reading about their beliefs in, in a lot of things like the magic of the sun, and the magic of the moon. And, um, the actual piece, the words in it are like " sí, sí an ghealach, mall san oíche". It means "the magic of the moon, stay with us". And, um, it ends off saying that all these beliefs in the magic is sort of dying.
I wrote a piece called 'To Go Beyond', and it appealed to me because we wrote the middle section in a very classical feel. And it was, um, very different to the music we were writing for The Celts. And we combined the two sounds together, and the first section is a very slow, sad moving piece, and then it goes into a very classical piece which is played on violin. And it was used to illustrate the artwork of the Celts.
I had a lot of freedom with the music and I didn't have to work to picture, so in that way we had a lot of freedom to, um, experiment with ideas with vocals and synthesizer and it worked very well, I think.
I was asked to write a piece of music for a pre-Raphaelite sketch and it's called 'The Portrait'. And I thought it would be nice, seeing as my first love is for piano, to, um, write it on piano and leave out as much synthesizer as possible. And it's a very simple piece. It ended up a very simple piece for piano.
I was asked to write a piece, a piece of music to illustrate the future of the Celts, and to see, like, to imagine what the music would be like in the future. And, um, Nicky, who works with me, came up with this idea, this story where the Celts would leave this, this universe and actually go beyond, where they would go to the star called Aldebaran. And in the actual piece of music, um, I'm actually waking them all up. And the, the story is that they're all in hibernation for so many years and they're just waking up. And they wake up on Aldebaran.
What I'll be doing next will be a film with David Puttnam, and then there's talk about an actual Enya album. So I look forward to that.
Note: Transcribed by Benjamin Brinner. The program coincided with the airing of The Celts documentary. A couple of oddities here. The translation Enya gives for part of the lyric to 'Deireadh An Tuath' is non-literal to say the least. Enya had scored a film (The Frog Prince) for David Puttnam a couple of years earlier: is she confused here or were there unfulfilled plans for further work?