The Celts documentary


The Celts (subtitled "Rich Traditions and Ancient Myths") is a 1986 documentary series produced by the BBC, with all soundtrack composed by Enya. It was written and presented by Frank Delaney, who also wrote an accompanying book.

An album containing a selection of songs from the series' soundtrack was released as Enya, later remastered and reissued as The Celts.

Broadcast over the course of six, one-hour episodes, The Celts examined the origins, growth and influence of Celtic culture in Great Britain and throughout Europe. The series was released on DVD in Europe and North America in 2004.

The six episodes:

The Celts DVD box.

  1. The Man with the Golden Shoes covers the archeological and historical evidences for the Celts and the extent of their civilization across the European continent.
    Songs used: "The Celts", "March of the Celts", "Epona", "Severed Head", "Boadicea", "Spaghetti Western", "Bard Dance", "Sword Fight" and "To Go Beyond I".
  2. The Birth of Nations shows the formation of the modern Celtic nations from the ashes of the Roman conquest and fall.
    Songs used: "The Celts", untitled, "Deserted House", "Deireadh An Tuath", "Boadicea" and "The Sun In The Stream".
  3. A Pagan Trinity discusses Celtic mythology, legend, and belief, and then the introduction of Christian faith to the Irish and Scots.
    Songs used: "The Celts", "Fairy Tale I", "Morrighan", "Severed Head", untitled, "Triad (Cú Chulainn, Oisin, St.Patrick, Cú Chulainn)", "Deireadh An Tuath", "Fairy Tale II" and "Fairy Tale III".
  4. The Open-Ended Curve presents the distinctive physical culture and art of the Celts, both ancient and modern.
    Songs used: "The Celts", untitled, "March of the Celts", "Triad (St.Patrick)", "Portrait", "I Want Tomorrow" and "To Go Beyond I".
  5. The Final Conflict returns to history, presenting the conquest of the modern Celtic nations by neighboring England and France, with a review of the Irish resistance and revolution, and the immigration of the Irish and others to North America.
    Songs used: "The Celts", "Dan y Dwr", "To Go Beyond II", "The Sun In The Stream" and "Deireadh An Tuath".
  6. The Legacy is a discussion on the degree to which modern people may view themselves as Celts, with examples of modern Celtic-inspired practices like military discipline and warfare and modern Irish music and art.
    Songs used: "The Celts", "Seaside Ditty", "Third Man", untitled, "Irish Piece", "To Go Beyond II", "Deserted House", "Aldebaran" and "Portrait".

The Celts and Enya

Enya performs "I Want Tomorrow" during a musical interlude in The Celts.

The series is best known for introducing mainstream audiences to Enya. Enya, formerly a member of the Celtic band, Clannad, was commissioned to compose the score for this series. In addition, Enya is shown performing the theme song, "The Celts" at the start of each episode, and two episodes also include music videos of her performing the songs "I Want Tomorrow" and "Aldebaran". The

The performance of "I Want Tomorrow" is notable for the out-of-character way in which Enya is presented: she appears clad in leather biker gear in one sequence and shooting fire from her fingertips in another.

The DVD release capitalizes upon Enya's notoriety by including bonus interviews and musical performances.

The song "The Celts" was the main title theme for the series.

Albums

The Enya album was recorded in 1986, and released in 1987, when the series was first broadcast. The album was first released in the UK by the BBC on their own label, and later issued in North America by Atlantic Records. It features music written and recorded for the soundtrack of The Celts.

The Celts, released in 1992, is a remastered re-release of Enya. Aside from the enhanced sound, The Celts also contains a longer version of the instrumental song "Portrait" (which runs for 1:23, found on the original release Enya), entitled "Portrait: Out Of The Blue" (3:11).

Unreleased music

The Enya album contains only 36 minutes worth of the music composed by Enya for the series, with an unknown amount of material as yet unreleased. To date the only "lost track" to see the light of day is the instrumental "Spaghetti Western Theme from The Celts" which appears on some editions of the 2005 CD single for "Amarantine".

According to Roma Ryan, Enya's lyricist, "[t]he director had various pastiches in the programme and wanted music to compliment these. Thus the music ranges from a "Spaghetti Western" through to "The Third Man" and "The Haunted House" to the more familiar tracks embodied on the soundtrack album. What happened to the other tracks? I hear you say. We still have them!"

Enya aStore at Amazon.com, with MP3, CDs, DVDs, New Age, sheet music, Celtic Woman

Return to top