Thursday, March 12, 2009


On the program this Spring is a great new arrangement from famed handbell composer Kevin McChesney: Enya's "Orinoco Flow," more commonly known by it's refrain of "Sail Away." The song reached #1 in the UK in 1988, and was popular throughout the 1990's.

Enya is Ireland's best-selling solo artist; she would be Ireland's top music export were it not for U2. Bono and Enya surely represent some of the the largest musical empires per-letter, along with Elvis and Madonna.
Enya's distinctive sound is performed almost exclusively by herself, layering multiple recordings as many as 80 times to create the final product. She also utilizes multiple languages, including Irish, Welsh, Latin, Japanese, and both High and Common Elven (created by J.R.R. Tolkien, recorded for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy).

Orinoco flow, however, is entirely in English. You can read the lyrics, with its catalog of rivers from around the world, as well as references to music industry executives. The title probably has a dual meaning, referring to the Orinoco river in South America, and the Orinoco Studio where it was recorded.

Enya's layered style is adapted to handbells by Kevin McChesney, who has arranged a wide variety of modern popular songs for handbells, as well as many original compositions and hymns. Kevin's arrangement of "Sing We Now of Christmas" is on our "Christmas in the City" CD.

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