Seamus Egan  
Seamus Egan attained his greatest success with his soundtrack for Edward Burns' 1995 film The Brothers McMullen; it spent four months on the world music charts and included the Top Ten hit "I Will Remember You," recorded by Sarah McLachlan. Egan, however, has been an important presence on the Irish music scene for far longer. A four-time winner of the All-Ireland award (on an unprecedented four different instruments), Egan has been a member of a trio also featuring Mick Moloney and Eugene O'Donnell, as well as an all-star congregate of Irish musicians and singers (Green Grass of America), an Irish trad-folk band (Solas), and a soloist. In addition, Egan has recorded Irish music with Eileen Ivers, John Doyles and African percussionist Kimati Dinizulu, and even hip-hop with Vernon Reid of Living Colour.

Egan's earliest exposure to traditional Irish music came when he moved, at the age of three, with his parents and five siblings to Ireland. Settling into the small village of Mayo in county Foxford, he studied under button accordionist Martin Donaghue around the age of six or seven. His musical interests were expanded after watching a television show featuring flautists Matt Molloy and James Galway and listening to a radio program spotlighting banjo player Matt Moloney. Within a short time, Egan was playing well enough to enter and win the All-Ireland competition in flute and whistle.

Shortly after returning to the United States with his family, and moving to Philadelphia in 1980, Egan met Moloney, who had emigrated to the Pennsylvania city. Egan quickly fell under Moloney's wing and began taking informal banjo lessons. Two years later, Egan returned to Ireland and won All-Ireland awards in banjo and mandolin.

In his mid-teens, Egan left the competitive world and began to play professionally with his sisters, Siobhan and Rory. Before long, he accepted an invitation to join a trio with Moloney and O'Donnell. The trio recorded an album, Three Way Street, in 1993.

After recording his debut solo album, Traditional Music of Ireland, Egan joined Green Fields of America, a large group of America-based Irish musicians led by Moloney and featuring such stellar musicians as Robbie O'Connell, Liz Carroll, Eileen Ivers, Jerry O'Sullivan and Jimmy Keane. The group recorded an album, Live in America, in 1989.

Although Egan temporarily lived in Boston to attend Boston College, his home has remained in New York. In the early 1990s, he formed a New York-based band, the Chanting House, with Ivers, Doyles and Susan McKeown. Egan continued to focus on his solo career as well, releasing his second solo album, A Week in January, in 1990.

Although the Chanting House disbanded before recording an album, Egan joined with Ivers and Doyle and Kimati Dinizulu to record a track, "Ships Are Sailing," on Ivers' solo album Wild Blue. He continued work to periodically with Moloney and O'Donnell as well, reuniting to perform at Bonnie Raitt's wedding.

Egan's involvement with the film The Brothers McMullen was sparked when producer Edward Burns heard him performing during a tour dubbed "The Young Turks of the Banjo." Although initially a low-budget project, the film was accepted into the Sundance Film Festival, where it received a Grand Jury prize. After being picked up for distribution by 20th Century Fox, the soundtrack was recorded and the film's quality enhanced. Egan's music was subsequently featured in the PBS documentary Out of Ireland.

When Juniper Sleeps, Egan's third solo album, was released in 1996 and marked his debut as a nylon-string guitarist. His subsequent project was a traditional band, Solas, that also featured fiddler Winifred Horan, accordionist John Williams, guitarist John Doyle and lead vocalist Karen Casey. Solas recorded the albums Solas in 1996 and Sunny Spells & Scattered Showers in 1997. Craig Harris, All-Music Guide

aka.  Eithne Ni Bhraonain 

With her blend of folk melodies, synthesized backdrops and classical motifs, Enya created a distinctive style of music that was more closely resembled with new age music than the folk and Celtic music that provided her with her initial influences. Enya is from Gweedore, County Donegal, Ireland, which she left in 1980 to join the Irish band Clannad, the group that already featured her older brothers and sisters. She stayed with Clannad for two years, then left, hooking up with producer Nicky Ryan and lyricist Roma Ryan, with whom she recorded film and television scores. The result was a successful album of TV music for the BBC. Enya then recorded Watermark (1988), which featured her distinctive, flowing music and multi-overdubbed trancelike singing; the album sold four million copies worldwide. Watermark established Enya as an international star and launched a successful career that lasted well into the '90s.

Enya (born Eithne Ni Bhraonain) 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 importantly to Enya's career, was 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, claming 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.

Enya didn't receive much notice, but Enya and the Ryan's second effort, Watermark became a surprise hit upon its release in 1988. "Orinoco Flow," the first single pulled from the album, became a number one hit in Britain, helping the album eventually sell four million albums worldwide. Enya spent the years following the success of Watermark rather quietly; her most notable appearance was a cameo on Sinead O'Connor's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. She finally released Shepherd Moons, her follow-up to Watermark, in 1991. Shepherd Moons was more successful than its predecessor, entering the US charts at number 17 and eventually selling over ten million copies worldwide.

Again, Enya was slow to follow up on the success of Shepherd Moons, spending nearly four years working on her fourth album. The record, entitled Memory of Trees, was released in December of 1995. Memory of Trees entered the US charts at number nine and sold over two million copies within its first year of release. Stephen Thomas Erlewine & William Ruhlmann, All-Music Guide

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