Where did the baby name Enya come from in 1989?

Enya's album "Watermark" (1988).
Enya album

The name Enya first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1989:

  • 1991: 6 baby girls named Enya
  • 1990: unlisted
  • 1989: 5 baby girls named Enya [debut]
  • 1988: unlisted
  • 1987: unlisted

It was inspired by Irish vocalist Enya, whose second album, Watermark (1988), became an unexpected international hit thanks to its memorable lead single, “Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” [vid]. The song ended up being nominated for two Grammy awards: Best New Age Performance and Best Music Video.

(New Age music began coming out in the 1960s, but the genre didn’t go mainstream until the 1980s. The first “New Age” Grammy was awarded in early 1987.)

Enya was born Eithne Ni Bhraonain in an Irish Gaelic-speaking area of County Donegal in 1961. The Irish name Eithne is thought to be based on an Old Irish word meaning “kernel, grain.” The singer began to go by “Enya,” an Anglicized spelling of her first name, in the early ’80s.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Enya?


P.S. Yanni is another New Age baby name…

3 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Enya come from in 1989?

  1. I’ve loved both names right from the start. Just unusual enough to be interesting, but not off the wall. I love the name Ayla as well. I first read it in the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel, in 1993. I’ve seen a few women with the name.

  2. Of the three, I actually think I like Ayla the best. :)

    The 1986 movie based on the first book in that series gave the name Ayla a boost in the mid-1980s.

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