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Brainwaves: Loxian

Source: The Guardian, (UK), (November 24, 2005)

Concept: A new language devised specifically for Enya

Creator: Roma Ryan

Enya is well known for singing in whatever language she chooses, from Latin to Japanese - but for her first album in five years, the ethereal Irish minstrel has taken a linguistic leap into space. Three tracks on her latest release, Amarantine, are written and performed in Loxian, "a futuristic language from a distant planet".

Loxian was created by Enya's lyricist and collaborator Roma Ryan, who has also crafted a new alphabet and historical background to lend her invented dialect some depth.

The Loxians, she says, are much like us. "They're in space, somewhere in the night. They're looking out, they're mapping the stars, and wondering if there is anyone else out there. It's to do with that concept: are we alone in the universe?"

While the Loxian language suffers from a limited vocabulary, it is perfectly possible to use it in everyday conversation. For instance, "Malkorrheeay onakoul ve pirro" translates as "It's raining in Ireland." Or, if you wanted to offer a Loxian a cup of tea, you would say: "Hanee unnin eskan?" It's reassuring to know that such home comforts exist even in the farthest reaches of space.

Enya's team has some experience with imaginary languages after contributing a song sung in Elvish to The Lord of the Rings' soundtrack. Loxian was inspired by that process, but born out of necessity, when the cadences of earthly languages just wouldn't fit the music.

"Some pieces that Enya writes, English just will not sit on," Ryan says. "I thought I'd create a language with the perfect movement for the feel of the melody. We have the perfect sounds exactly where we want them."

Ryan's Loxian lyrics, with an English translation, adorn the album's sleeve notes, but she wants to take the new language further. "I actually wrote a short book, primarily for myself, to place the language and explain the songs more fully."

Amarantine is out now.

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