Luck of the Irish...
Today we see not one but two of the
most successful female Irish singers sharing their birthday.
First, born on this day in 1961 in
Gweedore, County Donegal, in the northwest corner of Ireland, Enya
Ni Bhraonain, better known simply as Enya.
Growing up in a musical family, the
sixth of nine children (four brothers and four sisters), Enya was always
surrounded by music. Her grandparents were in a band that played throughout
Ireland, her father was the leader of a group, and her mother played
in a dance band. Enya briefly joined her family group Clannad (who
scored the haunting 1982 hit single "Harry's Game") before leaving
to perform solo.
Enya achieved her breakthrough in 1988
with the album Watermark, which featured the hit song "Orinoco
Flow" (sometimes incorrectly known as "Sail Away"). Her
trademark sound is achieved by layering her voice as many as 80 times
in the studio. The Watermark album has since sold over 11
And there's more.
The singer's 2000 album A Day
Without Rain sold 15 million copies and she was named the world's
best-selling female artist of 2001. She is Ireland's best-selling solo
musician and is officially the country's second-largest musical export
after the band U2.
Her album sales stand at 70 million,
with over 26 million in album sales in the US. Her work has earned her
four Grammy awards.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks,
the singer's "Only Time" was used as a soundtrack in many radio
and television reports about the attacks. Enya released a special edition
of the song, with all proceeds donated to the families of victims.
And our second birthday girl, who was
born on this day in Dundalk, Ireland in 1974, is Andrea Corr, singer
and one quarter of the Corrs family who have sold
more than 55 million albums worldwide.
Andrea's musical parents, Gerry and
Jean, had their own band, Sound Affair, who would appear in local pubs
playing songs by ABBA and The Eagles. Andrea and her three siblings,
Sharon, Caroline and brother Jim, would often attend the gigs and watch
their parents perform.
In 1990 Andrea and her sisters and
brother formed a quartet called The Corrs. Their career was launched
in 1991 when they auditioned for the Alan Parker-directed film The
Commitments where Andrea got a speaking role as Sharon Rabbitte.
The film's musical director John Hughes
noticed the quartet when they auditioned for the movie, and agreed to
become their manager (and has stayed with them ever since).
With a blend of their Irish music background
mixed with contemporary pop/rock elements, the photogenic family signed
with Atlantic Records in 1995 and travelled to North America to record
their debut album Forgiven, Not Forgotten. When released, it
was successful in Ireland, Australia, Japan, and Spain, and reached
platinum status in the United Kingdom.
The Corrs then achieved another leap
to international prominence with their performance at the 1996 Summer
Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Record sales continued with the group's
In Blue album topping the charts in 18 countries and their Talk
On Corners was the best-selling UK album of 1998, spending 142 weeks
on the UK chart.
In 1999, Talk On Corners went
to #1 on the UK album chart on no less than 10 different occasions.
Andrea tried her hand at acting again
in the rock opera Evita, which starred Madonna. She received an
honorary MBE for her contribution to music and charity in 2005.
While her brother and sisters are taking
a hiatus to raise their families, Sharon (who is married to Brett Desmond,
son of Irish billionaire Dermot Desmond) is releasing her second solo
album, Lifelines, at the end of this month.