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Enya

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Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland (1982 – present)

Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin (born May 17, 1961 in Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland), known simply as Enya, is a Grammy award winning and Academy award nominated Irish singer, instrumentalist and composer. She began her musical career in 1980, when she briefly joined her family band Clannad, before leaving to pursue her solo career. Her album Watermark, which was released in 1988, propelled her to international recognition and she became known for her unique sound, which is characterized by voice-layering, folk melodies, synthesized backdrops and ethereal reverberations. Since then she has released a further nine albums, sold over 75 million albums worldwide and is known for performing in 10 different languages. Enya’s vocal range is mezzo-soprano.

Enya was born into a musical family. Her father, Leo Brennan, was the leader of the Slieve Foy Band, a popular Irish show band; her mother was an amateur musician. Most important to Enya’s career were her siblings, who formed Clannad in 1976 with several of their uncles. Enya joined the band as a keyboardist in 1979, and contributed to several of the group’s popular television soundtracks. In 1982, she left Clannad, claiming that she was uninterested in following the pop direction the group had begun to pursue. Within a few years she was commissioned, along with producer/arranger Nicky Ryan and lyricist Roma Ryan, to provide the score for a BBC-TV series called The Celts. The soundtrack was released in 1986 as her eponymous solo album.

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