Dark Sky Island By Enya

December 11, 2015


Enya is who she is. If you like one Enya album, you will probably like them all. She has now returned with her first new studio album in seven years titled Dark Sky Island.

Her music and voice are instantly recognizable. He angelic voice supports music that is otherworldly and would be right at home in the world of Tolkien. Even her song titles reflect her style and sound as now; The Forge Of The Angels,” “Diamonds On The Water,” “Dark Sky Island,” “The Humming,” and “The Loxian Way” are added to the Enya lexicon.

The songs, individually, are less distinctive than her past work; rather they form a cohesive whole and the album is best approached as a unit.

The album is basically a three person project. Enya provides the vocals, writes the music, and except for the bass part on one song, plays all the instruments. Nicky Ryan produced the album and Roma Ryan wrote the lyrics and helped with the design.

Enya’s music has always appealed to the emotions more than the mind. It is a reflective experience that just washes you along. Roma Ryan’s lyrics are the perfect musical partner for Enya and their relationship now extends back decades. She has even written lyrics for Enya in the Loxian language, which she created. That language makes a return on the album.

While much of her music is layered, “I Could Never Say Goodbye” is more sparse and reaches back to her Irish roots and is a nice counterpoint to what surrounds it. Her vocal prowess is on display in “Echoes In Rain” as it soars higher and higher while telling the story of journeys end. “The Loxian Gates” is an entrance to Enya’s and Roma Ryan’s fantasy world.

Dark Sky Island will appeal to her huge world-wide fan base. There are no great leaps of faith here but the moods and textures are well thought out and constructed and should find a place in her ever increasing body of work.

And Winter Came by Enya

May 11, 2009

Enya has always been a guilty pleasure for an old rock ‘n’ roller like me. Her fusions of classical and Irish influences with her almost ethereal vocals and songwriting abilities have combined to produce music that is both emotional and mysterious. While her sound falls into the adult contemporary category; it is very unique and as such, her albums have sold in the tens of millions worldwide.

Her 2008 creation, And Winter Came, has been released in time for the coming holiday season. While it contains Christmas songs, it can more appropriately be called a seasonal release as many of the songs range beyond just one specific day.

In many regards, other than the themes involved, it is a typical Enya release. Ten of the twelve songs are original and she continually overdubs her voice until it sounds like a virtual choir. The music infiltrates the senses and creates a mood that allows the mind to wander. Enya’s music has always had a spiritual quality and so matches well to her creative visions of the winter season.

My only real complaint is the flow of the album. I probably would have chosen a different order for the tracks as the songs, particularly on the second half of the release, come across as individual parts rather than a smooth whole.

The first four tracks are traditional Enya and find her at her best. “And Winter Came,” with its beautifully constructed music is a fitting introduction to this album. It sets the mood nicely for what will follow. “Journey Of The Angels” is slow, religious, and beautiful and shows the purity of her vocal tone. “White Is In The Winter Night” is both upbeat and inspirational. Enya presents the traditional Christmas hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” without gimmicks. He voice just floats above the instrumental track.

“My! My! Time Flies!” may be the most interesting track on the album as it presents her music in a different light. It really is a pop tune and even features a guitar sound. I’m not sure if I would want a whole album of this type of material but it is a nice counterpoint.

Other highlights include her wonderful harmonies on the children’s tune, “Toy Soldier” and a Gaelic version of “Silent Night,” titled “Oiche Chiuin.”

And Winter Came brings her calm and peaceful music to a special time of year for many people. It should more than satisfy her legions of fans and remain a holiday release to be played and enjoyed for years.