Top positive review
10 people found this helpful
Where it all started
on 3 November 2010
Enya (born 17th of May, 1961) is part of an Irish (Gaelic) speaking, and very musical, family from Gweedore, County Donegal, in Ireland. Her grandparents were in a band that played throughout Ireland, her father was the lead singer of the Slieve Foy Band before opening his own tavern, and her mother played in a dance band and later was a music teacher. From a young age, Enya sang onstage at her local theatre and she sang with her siblings in her mother's church choir. She moved away to attend college, wanting to become a classical pianist, studying music and also painting.
Enya worked with Clannad (the band composed of three of her siblings and her twin uncles), in 1980, playing keyboard and providing backing vocals on their album "Crann Úll", she toured and performed with them for two years, and became an official member of the band with the release of "Fuaim" in 1981. In 1982, Clannad's producer and manager, Nicky Ryan, left the group. Enya found herself yearning to compose music that was more in sync with her classical training. Nicky believed that Enya had the potential for a solo career, and him and Enya decided to work together, along with his wife, Roma (who was the lyricist for Clannad while Nicky was their producer and manager), to start Enya's solo career.
The trio went on to compose the soundtrack for the film "The Frog Prince" in 1984. In 1986, they were commissioned to write and compose music for "The Celts", which is a documentary that examines the origins, growth and influence of Celtic culture in Great Britain and Europe. Recording began when Enya was just 24 years old...
It's hard to mention any of the songs in a review, because they're just so hard to describe in words. "The Celts" differs from her other albums in the sense that the songs are not traditional verse-chorus songs (except for "I Want Tomorrow"). Instead of straight-forward lyrical stories to listen to, the listener is thrown into a rich atmosphere of sounds; mainly consisting of piano, electronic keyboards, and, of course, Enya's lush, multi-layered vocals. Tracks like "Fairytale" and "Triad" (in its last piece) sound like a few hundred people singing when, in fact, it is all Enya's vocals.
Many people who are big fans of Enya's music seem to have many, or all, of her other albums and seem not be overly interested in buying this one. Perhaps it's because this is a soundtrack and some don't consider it to an "official" Enya album. It might be because this album is very badly represented in subsequent "best of" collections. The only tracks from this album included in "Paint The Sky With Stars" are "The Celts" and "Boadicea". While these are amazing tracks, they don't even come close to the beauty of "Aldebaran", "March of the Celts", "Fairytale", or "Triad". I know that "Aldebaran" was later included in the standard edition of "The Very Best of Enya", released in 2009, and I'm happy about that. Maybe they know that this album is before Enya achieved any notable success (which happened in 1988 with "Orinoco Flow"), which might lead to the assumption that this one is not as good as her later work. Or maybe it's just because, released in 1986, it is quite old now.
I've read a few reviews from people saying that they wish Enya would do something different. If you happen to be one of those people, and you haven't heard this album, I suggest you buy it. It is very different from all the others, but is still very recognisable as Enya. I don't see how anyone who loves any of her other albums would not love this one.
"The Celts" is definitely Enya's most experimental work; it often feels quite spontaneous, and it definitely has an "edge" to it that her other albums do not have. Some moments border on being strange. Other moments in the album are dark, and almost scary, but somehow very positive at the same time. It has been around for a long time now, but the kind of music Enya makes is timeless. It sounds just as fresh now as it would have sounded the day it was released. As a whole, the album is very atmospheric, absolutely breath-taking and is a must listen for anyone who enjoys Enya's music.
Definitely one of my all-time favourite albums...