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May It Be

"May It Be"
Single by Enya
from the album The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Released 2001
Format CD single
Recorded Aigle Studios, Dublin
Genre New-age[1]
Length 4:19 (album version)
3:31 (radio edit)
Label WEA
Writer(s) Enya, Roma Ryan, Nicky Ryan, Howard Shore
Producer(s) Nicky Ryan
Enya singles chronology
"Wild Child"
"May It Be"

"May It Be" is a song composed by Irish musician Enya and Roma Ryan featured in Peter Jackson's 2001 film The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring.[2] The song entered the German Singles Chart at number one in 2002 and was performed by Enya at the 74th Academy Awards.


  • Composition 1
  • Lyrics 2
  • Awards 3
  • Performance 4
  • Publications 5
    • Albums and singles 5.1
    • Music video 5.2
  • Covers 6
  • Chart history 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Director Peter Jackson approached Enya, asking if she would be interested in writing a song for The Lord of the Rings.[3] Thrilled at the prospect, Enya headed to New Zealand to see the preliminary edits of the film.[3]

Enya worked on the song with Nicky Ryan, her producer, and Roma Ryan, her lyricist. Nicky produced Enya's vocals and arranged the music while Roma wrote the lyrics. They recorded the song through Enya's contract with Warner Music[4] in the Ryans' Dublin studio, Aigle Studio.[5] The vocals were recorded in "Aigle Studios", Enya's Studio near Dublin and the orchestration was recorded in London, directed by Howard Shore and performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.[6] Compositionally, the piece is simple, featuring a backdrop of choir and strings.

“I wanted Enya’s voice,” says Shore. “She wrote and I orchestrated, so it’s a seamless sound. Her singing grows right out of the choral music and the orchestra.”
— Doug Adams, ''The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Complete Recordings


The lyrics of this theme song include English words, as well as words in the fictional Elvish language, Quenya, created by J.R.R. Tolkien.[5] Tolkien began writing this High-Elven language in 1915 at the age of 23.[7] Quenya went through many revisions before it finally appeared in the books. Tolkien's son Christopher said that for his father Quenya was "language as he wanted it, the language of his heart."[7] Tolkien himself said of Quenya, "Actually it might be said to be composed on a Latin basis with two other ingredients that happen to give me 'phonaesthetic' pleasure: Finnish and Greek. It is however less consonantal than any of the three. This language is High-elven or in its own terms Quenya."[7]

Enya also performed the song '"Aníron" for The Lord of the Rings, which is sung in Tolkien's Elvish language, Sindarin.[5] While Enya wrote music, Roma Ryan studied the languages and wrote the lyrics in English and Quenya.[8]

Two lines in "May It Be" contain phrases written in Quenya. The first, Mornië utúlië, translates to "Darkness has come."[5] Mornië alantië translates as "Darkness has fallen."[5] Each line repeats twice in the song. The remaining song lyrics are written in English. They are intermingled with the Quenya lyrics, as in the second stanza; "Mornië utúlië, believe and you will find your way; Mornië alantië, a promise lives within you now."[5]


Enya, Nicky, and Roma received much acclaim for "May It Be". It was nominated for the 2002 Academy Award for Best Original Song, but lost to Randy Newman's "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc.[9]

"May It Be" won the Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Song and the 2002 Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Song.[10][11][12]

"May It Be" was also nominated for the 2002 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, but lost to "Until" from Kate & Leopold.[13]

The trio received a 2003 Grammy nomination for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media. "If I Didn't Have You", "Vanilla Sky", Chad Kroeger's "Hero" from Spider-Man and "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)" from Brown Sugar opposed them. "If I Didn't Have You" earned the 2003 Grammy.


Enya performed her song at the Academy Awards on March 24, 2002.[9] She was "absolutely" excited about the performance.[3] For her it was the "first time to be nominated, and to get to perform, it's just wonderful, absolutely wonderful."[3]


Albums and singles

Enya's "May It Be" has been featured on various albums. On November 20, 2001 it was released on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack, along with composer Howard Shore's original score "The Road Goes Ever On (Part 2)".[14]

"May It Be" came out as a single in 2002 along with two other of Enya's songs; "Isobella" and "The First of Autumn".[5] "May It Be" entered the German Singles Chart at number one. It was Enya's second consecutive single to do so, following her song "Only Time".[15]

In 2005, "May it Be" was released as part of the compilation The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: The Complete Recordings. This time, the version of the song was identical as featured in the movie's ending titles.

Enya also included "May It Be" on her 2009 album, The Very Best of Enya.[16]

Music video

Directed by Peter Nydrle, Enya's 2002 music video for "May It Be" features clips from the film as well as Enya singing the song. The music video runs for 3 minutes and 32 seconds.[17]


Many other artists have covered the song since Enya's original recording. Tara Scammell did so on 2004 album Music from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by the Prague Symphony Orchestra, which consists of songs from all three movies.[18] Celtic Woman performed "May It Be" on their 2005 self-titled album.[19] Lisa Kelly of Celtic Woman included it on her 2006 album, Lisa.[20] Hayley Westenra recorded it in 2005 on her second international album, Odyssey.[21] It was also covered in 2006 by Lex van Someren for Christmas Every Day[22] and Angelis for their self-titled album.[23] It was sung on Cecelia’s 2007 album, Amazing Grace.[24] Sofia Källgren featured it on her 2008 album, Cinema Paradiso.[25] Other artists who have covered it include Uruk-hai,[26] and Kiri Te Kanawa.[27] It was performed on January 14, 2012 by Faroese artist Eivør Pálsdóttir as part of the celebration of Margrethe II's 40th anniversary as Queen of Denmark.[28]

Chart history

Chart (2001) Peak
Austria 9
Belgium 47
Denmark 19
France 40
Finland 7
Germany 1
Ireland 30
Italy 12
Netherlands 60
Poland 1
Sweden 14
Switzerland 21
United Kingdom 50


  1. ^ May It Be at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  2. ^ "Albums". Enya. Aigle Music. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d Enya Fan Studio. Enya Fan Studio, 2005. Web. 22 Oct. 2010.
  4. ^ "Enya". Enya. Aigle Music. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "May it Be". The Enya Discography. 1997–2006. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  6. ^ Booklet of the collection THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS published in 2005»
  7. ^ a b c Fauskanger, Helge K. "Quenya - the Ancient Tongue". Ardalambion. University of Bergen. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  8. ^ Adams, Doug (2005). The Fellowship of the Ring (PDF). The Music of the The Lord of the Rings Films. The annotated Score 1. p. 23. 
  9. ^ a b "Academy Awards, USA". The Internet Movie Database., Inc. 1990–2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  10. ^ "The 7th Critics' Choice Awards Winners and Nominees". The BFCA Critics' Choice Awards. Broadcast Film Critics Association. 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards". The Internet Movie Database., Inc. 1990–2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  13. ^ "The 59th annual Golden Globe Awards". Golden Globes. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  14. ^ The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Original Motion Picture Soundtrack at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  15. ^ "Enya". Artistopia. iCubator Labs, LLC. 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  16. ^ The very Best of Enya at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  17. ^ "May it Be, 2002. Directed by Peter Peter Nydrle". EnyaOne. Felipe Dario. 2007–2009. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  18. ^ Tara Scammell at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  19. ^ Celtic Woman at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  20. ^ "Lisa". Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  21. ^ Odyssey (Germany CD/DVD) at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  22. ^ "Christmas - every day". Lex van Someren. AYAM Visionary Art Productions. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  23. ^ Angelis at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  24. ^ "Amazing Grace". Cecilia. Amazing Grace. Cecilia. 2000–2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  25. ^ Cinema Paradiso at AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  26. ^ "Uruk-Hai - Lothlórien". discogs. Zink Media, Inc. 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  27. ^ "Dame Kiri and Friends--The Gala Concert". Marbecks. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  28. ^ "Concert celebrating Queen Margrethe". Retrieved 2012-01-15. 

External links

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