Eithne Ni Bhraonain, known to millions of people around the world as ‘Enya’, is one of the most recognisable artists in the music industry. Her distinctive, lush, layered vocals and classically-inspired pop is a unique sound, a sound that Works. After a career spanning twenty three years and sales of over 70 million albums, Enya and her creative partners Nicky and Roma Ryan compiledThe Very Best of Enya, to showcase her most beautiful music.
One would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t recognise at least one of the tracks on this compilation. ‘Orinoco Flow’, taken from Enya’s debut album Watermark, and the song that catapaulted her to success, is there, along with ‘Caribbean Blue’, a song that helped propel her second album Shepherd Moons into the US top ten in 1991. Also on The Very Best of Enya are a couple of songs from the BBC miniseries The Celts, a low-key commission pre-Watermark, as well as ‘Aniron’, the song she wrote and performed for Peter Jackson’s cinematic epic, The Lord of the Rings. Until now, ‘Aniron’ has never been released in its entirety.
The deluxe edition of The Very Best of Enya comes with a DVD, on which are thirteen of her music videos, as well as a documentary featuring Enya, and Nicky and Roma Ryan. The ‘Making of’ the videos for ‘Caribbean Blue’ and ‘Only Time’ are also included on the DVD.
The packaging of the album is as sumptuous as Enya’s music. Instead of the usual plastic jewel case, the CD and DVD come in a glossy, hardcover booklet, lavishly illustrated with images from her albums’ artwork and scenes from her music videos. Also in the booklet are mini-essays from Niall Stokes, the editor of Hot Press, and the team that make up the musical phenomena that is ‘Enya’, giving us further insight into the creative process and musical journey of this remarkable and somewhat reclusive artist.
One of the things that struck me while listening to this compilation album was how little Enya’s style has changed over the span of her career. So many musicians reinvent themselves every other year, but Enya has retained a personal style, evident in the music videos, and her music most certainly evokes a sense of timelessness. Her music is that of the dreamscape, brimming with the natural seasons, the elements, colours, textures, and emotions sad and serene. I think that, twenty-three years from now, millions of people will still be listening to Enya.
Whether you want to listen to this album and enjoy a glass of wine after a long week’s work, or use it as background music during a time of quiet recollection or meditation, or play it in the car while struggling through increasingly-nightmarish traffic, The Very Best of Enya is worth adding to your music collection. The beauty of these songs makes for a worthy antidote to the very aggresive and graphic music so often heard today.