AMERICANS are flocking to buy the tear-jerking music of Irish singer Enya in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
Sales of her latest CD, A Day Without Rain, have soared since the attacks on New York and Washington – even though it has been in the shops for a year.
Last week it stood at No 4 in the US Billboard album chart after selling 114,275 copies in seven days.
It is a similar story with the Donegal-born star’s single, Only Time, which has just broken a seven-year record for the slowest climb to No1 in the adult contemporary charts.
The song spent 33 weeks in the charts and was on the way down before a dramatic resurgence in the wake of last month’s atrocities.
The terrorist attacks, which have left more than 6,500 people dead, caused one of the biggest shake-ups ever seen the US entertainment industry.
Dozens of movies have been canned because of scenes of violence or mass destruction, while others have been digitally altered to blot out images of the devastated twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Late last month, Irish chart-toppers The Cranberries decided to withdraw the video to their latest single, Analyse, because it showed a jet flying over two tall towers in scenes reminiscent of the attack.
Pop experts say Enya is among a number of artists to benefit from a massive shift from aggressive-sounding music, such as Rap, Jungle and some R&B.”People are looking for music that will soothe them and help heal the terrible emotional wounds that they feel,” said one Billboard compiler.
“It is not just those directly affected by the tragedy. What happened on September 11 and the conflict that has resulted from it, has affected every corner of America.
“People are frightened, they are threatened, but are also defiant and those feelings are reflected in the music they are buying.
“The defiant feeling has seen a growth in quite patriotic music, such as Irvine Berlin’s God Bless America, which is back in the charts.”
Enya’s website – www.enya.com – crashed last week due to the huge number of messages from people wanting to share their grief over the terror attacks.
One fan wrote: “My heart is broken – I don’t know what to say. When I listen to Enya, I fell closer to God.”
One fan said: “There is something very primal about Enya’s music that seems to reach out to people in times of great hurt and despair.
“That can be the personal pain of a marriage break-up, or the loss of a loved one, to a disaster like we have just seen that affects the whole world.”
Enya said her website had become a forum for many fans to share their personal stories of sadness and triumph.
“They come from eight-year-olds to 80-year-old men, women and teen-agers,” she said.
“They are touched somehow, and that, to me, is quite incredible.
“During an album-signing engagement in Japan, the first lady in line walked up and just broke down in tears.
“She never said a word. It was incredible.”
Enya, who recently announced her first concert tour for 23 years, has long been one of the most popular “new age” artists in America.
‘Only Time’ has spent the past 43 weeks at No 1 in the Billboard New Age charts, while A Day Without Rain has sold 2.6 million copies in the United States since its release on November 20 last year.
Worldwide sales of A Day Without Rain – which had achieved platinum or multi-platinum status in 15 countries before thje terrorist attack – have now topped more than seven million.
Enya, 40, who lives in a fortified castle in Wicklow, recently revealed she had never wanted to be famous and had deliberately put off touring since her days with Clannad in the 1970s because of a lack of confidence in her ability to perform live.
She has sold more than 40 million records since her 1988 debut album Watermark.
This was followed by two more worldwide hit albums – Shepherd Moons in 1991 and The Memory of Trees in 1995.
Speaking earlier this year, Enya said that the chance to travel was a relief after spending two years in the studio on A Day Without Rain.
She travelled the world promoting the album in the first half of this year, but has recently been back in the studio working on two tracks for the forthcoming Lord of the Rings movie.
“I do promotions and album signings, but a lot of people still say, ‘Well, we don’t know much about Enya’.
“So I say just listen. It’s there. I think the music actually says by itself, stronger than me, what feelings I have.”
The People (London, England) | Oct 14, 2001