Album cover: Watermark


Enya Performs Irish Magic

Jonathan Takiff, Daily News Staff Writer

Philadelphia Daily News (USA) 10 February 1989

Lifts 'Orinoco Flow' To No. 1

When this old world starts getting you down, just lay on the Watermark album by the Irish artist Enya (Geffen) and drift away to a blissful state.

A former member of the Irish family band Clannad, it was Enya (christened Eithne Ni Bhraonain) who first brought electric keyboards and synthesisers to that traditionally minded folk band.

Now she brings her fusion of old sod balladry and modem technology to another plateau, with a magical, mysterious brew that could be dubbed ''New Age Irish" or "Celtic Ambient".

The standout track is "Orinoco Flow", a hauntingly pretty anthem proclaiming "carry me on the waves to a land I've never been". Named for the Orinoco River of Venezuela, the song is constructed of lightly plucked acoustic instruments, human-sounding synthesisers and painstakingly layered vocals, at times overdubbed as many as 120 times by the artist.

Almost as popular as U2 in Ireland and Britain, Enya has already scored a No. 1 hit over there with "Orinoco Flow". Now the track is bubbling up on adult contemporary and alternative rock charts in the United States as well, and seems likely to become the most ethereal chart topper since Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells".

Watery imagery also pervades in "On Your Shore", a song about a beach near Enya's Donegal home, in the blissful instrumental ''River" and on "Exile", which waxes poetic about sailing to the morning star. Other songs dwell on childhood and dredge up ancient ghost stories.

Enya's lyrical dreamscapes approach the stately reverie of Gregorian chants, a ritualistic air at times enhanced by Irish-language vocals. Celtic touches pop up, too, in the occasional penny whistle or Ullean pipes solo.

There's nothing uptempo to ever jar the hypnotic ebb and flow. Just lay back and let this music roll all over you.

Note: Transcribed by Tomás Román.