Eithne Ní Bhraonáin (Enya) was among six recipients of honorary doctorates from the National University of Ireland, Galway at a ceremony held at noon today. The other recipients were Irish traditional music archivist Nicholas Carolan, Reuters chairman Niall FitzGerald, South Africa chief justice Pius Langa, Galway-based composer Jane O’Leary, and Sequoia chairman Bill Walsh.
As an adjunct member of staff, I was fortunate enough to be in the academic procession, and was even more fortunate to meet Enya briefly after the ceremony. She is a very gentle and friendly person, and was accompanied by her producer Nicky Ryan and lyricist Roma Ryan. I’ve been a fan of Enya for some time – the “Watermark” track from her album of the same name is my favourite.
Here’s the official bio of Enya from the NUI Galway press office:
Born in Gaoth Dobhair and educated in Milford, County Donegal, Enya was born into a musical family. In 1980 she was asked to join the family group Clannad at the request of Nicky Ryan, Clannad’s Manager at that time. After leaving Clannad in 1982 she commenced her musical collaboration with the producer and lyricist team of Nicky and Roma Ryan. Enya has become Ireland’s best-selling solo artist in the history of the state and ranks alongside the most successful female artists in the world. She was the world’s biggest selling female artist of 2001 and 2002. To date Enya has sold over seventy milllion albums worldwide.
Enya’s musical compositions have brought her many accolades. A four-time Grammy award winner, Enya and her production/writing team were nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar for their work on The Lord of the Rings. Enya has won six World Music Awards and the coveted American Golden Plate Award.
Enya has released many albums including: Enya (1987), Watermark (1988), Shepherd Moons (1991), The Celts (1992), The Memory of Trees (1995), Paint the Sky with Stars (1997), A Day without Rain (2000), Amarantine (2005). Enya was commissioned to write songs for the following films: The Frog Prince, produced by Lord David Puttnam (1985), Far and Away, directed by Ron Howard (1992) and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) directed by Peter Jackson. She has also contributed to many other film soundtracks such as Toys (1992) and Calmi Cuori Appassionati (2001).
Enya supports many charitable causes – Temple Street Children’s Hospital, Dublin and the New York City Uniformed Firefighters Association’s Widows and Children Fund are just two of the charities which have benefited from her generosity.