Rediscovering the Music of Enya


Enya has captivated audiences for decades with her unique sound. If you’re looking to rediscover or explore Enya’s music for the first time, here’s a comprehensive guide to immerse yourself in her enchanting world!

Enya’s music is characterized by its layered vocals, atmospheric synthesizers, and Celtic influences. There’s also some Christian undertones here as well, as I point out in this article. Each of her songs is a carefully crafted composition, often featuring hundreds of ornate layers of her own vocals and rhythms woven together. This distinctive style, which she simply calls “Enya,” can also be called New Age music.

Talking about Enya’s material, we must point out that each album is not “just Enya,” but a team effort which also includes manager and producer, Nicky Ryan, and his partner Roma, as their lyricist.

Starting Your Journey
Enya’s signature sound is a unique and instantly recognizable blend of several key elements:

      • Layered vocals: One of the most distinctive aspects of Enya’s music is her use of multitracked vocals. She often records hundreds of layers of her own voice, creating a rich, choir-like effect. This technique allows her to produce a full choral sound without hiring additional singers.
      • Atmospheric synthesizers: Enya’s music heavily features synthesizers to create lush, ethereal soundscapes. Over time, she refined her sound.
      • Rhythmic elements: Many of Enya’s songs are driven by gentle, repetitive rhythms. She often uses pizzicato-like sounds, as exemplified in her hit Orinoco Flow.
      • Celtic influences: While not overtly traditional, Enya’s Irish heritage infuses her music with subtle Celtic flavors, including occasional use of uilleann pipes and Gaelic lyrics
      • Reverb and production techniques: Enya’s vocals are typically treated with extensive reverb, contributing to the spacious, ethereal quality of her sound.
      • Linguistic experimentation: Enya and her lyricist Roma Ryan have incorporated various languages into their work, including Latin, Gaelic, and even invented languages like Loxian

Begin your exploration with Enya’s most popular albums. Here I think I don’t want to say much. Simply put on the music and let your imaginattion Sail Away!

The Celts (1987) – Her cinematic debut album

Sample the single and find it on your favorite streaming service:
Watermark (1988) – The breakthrough album featuring Orinoco Flow

Shepherd Moons (1991) – Her best-selling album to date

These early works showcase Enya’s ability to blend ancient and modern elements, creating a unique fusion of folklore and ambience.

Diving Deeper
As you delve further into Enya’s discography, don’t overlook her instrumental tracks, which can be equally captivating. Here is my personal favorite:

While hits like Orinoco Flow are well-known, now it is time to explore some of Enya’s deeper cuts.

Boadicea – A darker, more sinister track that has been sampled by various hip-hop artists – and many other artists too!

Amarantine – A love song!

Trains and Winter Rains – A fun example of Enya’s seasonal music

Enya’s approach to winter and holiday music aligns with her overall musical style. This unique blend allows her seasonal offerings to stand apart from more traditional holiday fare while still capturing the essence of the winter season. She has embraced seasonal themes in her music, most notably with her 2008 album And Winter Came… Initially conceived as a collection of Christmas songs and hymns, the project evolved into a broader winter-themed album.

Appreciating the Artistry
To fully appreciate Enya’s music, consider these aspects:

  • Visual elements: Enya’s music often evokes strong visual imagery. Some fans describe listening to her albums as akin to flipping through a National Geographic calendar
  • Emotional impact: Many listeners find Enya’s music deeply moving, with some even claiming healing properties
  • Production quality: Pay attention to the intricate production work by the above mentioned Nicky Ryan, which contributes significantly to Enya’s sound.

Embracing the Enya Experience
To fully immerse yourself in Enya’s world, create a dedicated listening space. Enya’s music, like most New Age music, often benefits from focused, undistracted listening. It can also be a good idea to explore her visual aesthetic: Watch her music videos and album artwork to enhance the experience. And lastly, nuderstanding Enya’s Irish roots and her journey as an artist can deepen your appreciation of her music.

So where to go now? Another personal favorite of mine is The Frog Prince soundtrack, her “unofficial” first album. Check it out here.

Also, if you want something with a more modern sound, you can’t go wrong with her most recent album Dark Sky Island. I believe it is true to say that it too has become a fan favorie.

Rediscovering Enya’s music is a journey into a unique sonic landscape. Her ability to create atmospheric, emotionally resonant compositions has earned her a dedicated fanbase. Whether you’re revisiting her classic hits or exploring her lesser-known works, Enya’s music offers a rewarding listening experience that continues to captivate audiences worldwide. Look her up on your favorite music streaming service and start enjoying!

See our full Enya coverage here: