May It Be

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
Label WEA
Writer(s) Enya, Roma Ryan
Producer Nicky Ryan
Enya singles chronology
"Wild Child"
"May It Be"

"May It Be" is a song composed by Irish musician Enya and 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 on the 74th Academy Awards.



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, arranged, and managed 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] Compositionally, the piece is simple, featuring a backdrop of choir and strings. Like most of Enya's music, "May It Be" is classified as New Age.[1]


The lyrics of this theme song include English words, and words in the fictional Elvish language, Quenya. The writer of The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien, created Quenya for his classic novels.[5] Tolkien began writing this High-Elven language in 1915 at the age of 23.[6] 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."[6] 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."[6]

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.[7]

Two lines in "May It Be" contain phrases written in Quenya. The first, "Mornië utúlië," translates to "Darkness has come."[5] "Mornië alantië" means "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 a 2001 Academy Award for Best Original Song. The competition comprised Randy Newman's "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc., Diane Warren's "There You'll Be" from Pearl Harbor, Sting's "Until" featured in Kate and Leopold, and Paul McCartney's "Vanilla Sky". "If I Didn't Have You" won the 2001 Oscar.[8]

"May It Be" was also nominated for the 2002 Best Original Song Golden Globe Award. Its competitors once again included "There You'll Be", "Until", and "Vanilla Sky", along with David Baerwald's "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge! "Until" took home the Golden Globe.[9]

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. "May It Be" won the 2002 Critics' Choice Award[10] and Sierra Award, both for Best Song. It earned the 2002 PFCS Award for Best Original Song.[11]


Enya performed her song at the Academy Awards on March 24, 2002.[8] 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.[12]

"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".[13] Enya also included "May It Be" on her 2009 album, The Very Best of Enya.[14]

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.[15]


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.[16] Celtic Woman performed "May It Be" on their 2005 self titled album.[17] Lisa Kelly of Celtic Woman included it on her 2006 album, Lisa.[18] Hayley Westenra recorded it in 2005 on her second international album, Odyssey.[19] It was also covered in 2006 by Lex van Someren for Christmas Every Day[20] and Angelis for their self titled album.[21] It was sung on Cecelia’s 2007 album, Amazing Grace.[22] Sofia Källgren featured it on her 2008 album, Cinema Paradiso.[23] Other artists who have covered it include Uruk-hai,[24] and Kiri Te Kanawa.[25]

Chart history

Chart (2001) Peak
Austria 12
Belgium 47
Denmark 19
France 43
Finland 7
Germany 1
Italy 12
Netherlands 60
Sweden 16
Switzerland 24


  1. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c Fauskanger, Helge K.. "Quenya - the Ancient Tongue". Ardalambion. University of Bergen. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  7. ^ Adams, Doug (2005). The Fellowship of the Ring. The Music of the The Lord of the Rings Films. The annotated Score. 1. p. 23. 
  8. ^ a b "Academy Awards, USA". The Internet Movie Database., Inc.. 1990-2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  9. ^ "The 59th annual Golden Globe Awards". Golden Globes. Hollywood Foreign Press Association. 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. ^ "Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards". The Internet Movie Database., Inc.. 1990-2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  12. ^ The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Original Motion Picture Soundtrack at Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  13. ^ "Enya". Artistopia. iCubator Labs, LLC. 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  14. ^ The very Best of Enya at Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  15. ^ "May it Be, 2002. Directed by Peter Peter Nydrle". EnyaOne. Felipe Dario. 2007-2009. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  16. ^ Tara Scammell at Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  17. ^ Celtic Woman at Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  18. ^ "Lisa". Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  19. ^ Odyssey (Germany CD/DVD) at Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  20. ^ "Christmas - every day". Lex van Someren. AYAM Visionary Art Productions. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  21. ^ Angelis at Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  22. ^ "Amazing Grace". Cecilia. Amazing Grace. Cecilia. 2000-2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  23. ^ Cinema Paradiso at Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-12-20.
  24. ^ "Uruk-Hai - Lothlórien". discogs. Zink Media, Inc.. 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  25. ^ "Dame Kiri and Friends--The Gala Concert". Marbecks. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 

External links

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