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Enya The Very Best Of Enya Review

Compilation. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

A tempting offering from one of Ireland’s foremost vocalists and composers.

Adrian Edwards 2009

The title says it all: here are 18 of Enya’s songs from her career of over 20 years as one of Ireland’s foremost vocalists and composers.

Enya initially entered the spotlight as a member of Clannad, but her solo endeavours would prove more profitable. She hit the top of the UK charts in 1988 with Orinoco Flow (sometimes known erroneously as Sail Away on account of its insistent vocal refrain), from her second solo album Watermark. It opens this collection, acting as an immediate reminder of the impact of her remarkable voice.

Another very familiar song featured here is Anywhere Is – it was a top ten hit in 1995, and is taken from Enya’s Grammy-winning The Memory of Trees album. The one previously unreleased track here, Aniron (I Desire), comes from the soundtrack to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Enya also wrote the ballad May It Be for Peter Jackson’s take on The Fellowship of the Ring, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2001 – the track closes this set. It’s interesting to note that Hollywood had beckoned earlier, when director James Cameron had invited Enya to write music for Titanic – she turned him down. However, her widescreen, cinematic Storms in Africa, another Watermark highlight, is an early example of why she has been courted by filmmakers ever since breaching the mainstream.

The well-known and much loved characteristics of her writing and performance style are much in evidence throughout this bumper bundle of hits. The muted choral writing wafts through the waltz tune of Caribbean Blue, Book of Days and A Day Without Rain as well as Cursum Perfico, in a minor key, which has a touch of Carl Orff’s choral extravaganza Carmina Burana, an aspect of this artist’s professed classical leaning. Ethereal reverberations echo through a jig, The Celts, with shades of The Scaffold’s Lily the Pink, and the singer’s full vocal powers are heard in the anthemic ballad Only Time.

Other manifestations of her art include a fondness for electronic writing, which runs through the Chopin-esque synthesiser keyboard scales of Aldebaran. Enya, like ABBA, has left an indelible and unmistakeable imprint on the popular music of her day, and this CD – also available in an expanded, bonus-DVD version, with some additional tracks – makes a most tempting seasonal offering.

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