Enigma Band History

Enigma!!! The electronic band that has a worldwide fan following, most so loyal that they can listen to their music day in and day out, and still crave for more. The music and lyrics are mesmerizing, relaxing, and something that cannot be described in simple terms.
The more said and written about Enigma, the less it is. You either have heard them, love them, live them, die for them, or you have no idea what they are about.

INDEX

I. Conceiving Enigma
II. Band Members
III. The 8 Great Enigma Albums
MCMXC a.D.
The Cross of Changes
Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!
The Screen Behind the Mirror
Voyageur
A Posteriori
Seven Lives Many Faces
The Platinum Collection
IV. Awards Won

Conceiving Enigma

Enigma was founded in 1990 by Michael Cretu, David Fairstein and Frank Peterson. Cretu, born in Romania, is both composer and producer of all their projects. He brought about the Enigma process when in Germany, though all the band's albums have been recorded in his studio in Ibiza, Spain. Enigma has released 8 albums till date, their first one 'MCMXC a.D.' being the most successful one, selling more than 22 million copies worldwide.

Band Members
Michael Cretu1990 to present
Andru Donalds1999 to present
Frank Peterson1990 to 1991
Peter Cornelius1990 to 1996
David Fairstein1990 to 1999
Sandra Lauer1990 to 2003
Jens Gad1993 to 2003
Ruth-Ann Boyle1999 to 2003

Michael Cretu was into music much before conceiving Enigma. He had released a few solo albums in the late '70s and '80s, but none of them did particularly well. Then came about Enigma in 1990. Cretu adopted this name as he projected this band as being all about mysteries, unsolved crime, and the unknown things of life after death. The literal meaning of Enigma is - something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained. Most of their music is driven by Gregorian, Sanskrit, and Vedic chants.
The 8 Great Enigma Albums
1990MCMXC a.D.
1993The Cross of Changes
1996Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!
2000The Screen Behind the Mirror
2003Voyageur
2006A Posteriori
2008Seven Lives Many Faces
2009The Platinum Collection
MCMXC a.D.
This translates to 1990 A.D. This groundbreaking album was released in December 1990. It took a total of 8 months to get done and completed. MCMXC a.D. has managed to see a whopping 22 million copies all over the world, and was number one in more than 40 countries. It is most likely that those who bought and heard this first album of theirs, became their avid fans. It is like you need to have heard MCMXC a.D. to know what they are all about. That is their base, that is their feel and fragrance. This album bagged 60 platinum-level sales awards from all over the globe. Cretu was skeptical about his earlier solo album failures, and so for this first Enigma album he decided to keep his name and also the name of all the crew a mystery. Hence, this album came out as being credited to just Curly M.C.

The Cross of Changes
The Cross of Changes was Enigma's second album, released in 1993. Commercially, it was as huge a success just like the first album. Sales soared to over 5 million copies even before a year was completed after its release. The song 'Return to Innocence' is the most remembered one from this album. 'The Cross of Changes' and 'The Eyes of Truth' also helped this album enjoy tremendous success.

Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!
This album, released in 1996, was an offset of the previous two albums. Its English translation meant 'The King is dead, long live the King'. Unfortunately, it did not enjoy as much commercial success as the first 2. But make no mistake, quality wise, this was nothing less than the older ones, and Michael Cretu has put his heart and soul into getting this album ready. But due to the drop in sales, a song called 'The Roundabout' was not released under this album, as originally planned. 'T.N.T. for the Brain' and 'Beyond the Invisible' are the pick of the lot from this set.

♫ The Screen Behind the Mirror
2000 saw the release of the fourth album, titled 'The Screen Behind the Mirror'. This album continued the signature Enigma flute music, but the Gregorian chants were done away with to a great extent, though not completely. This project enjoyed medium commercial success as compared to the earlier ones. 'Push the Limits', 'Silence Must Be Heard', and 'Gravity of Love' are the best songs from this album.
Voyageur
The 2003 release - Voyageur, was something very un-Enigma-like. All the popular signature elements were practically scrapped in this album - things like the Gregorian, Sanskrit, and Vedic chants, flute, etc. As a result, their die-hard fans were stumped. Frankly speaking, they didn't know what hit them. Not many could relate to this new-age music. Their signature stuff was sorely missed, and as a result, worldwide sales dropped drastically. 'Boum-Boum' was a good song from this album.

A Posteriori
"A Posteriori" was Enigma's sixth album, which came out in 2006. This album was a lot more techno and pop-based. It had much more electronic stuff as compared to any previous projects. A DVD version of this album was released at the end of 2006, and had kaleidoscope images synchronized with the music. Again, in the mid part of the first half of 2007, a special private lounge remix album version of this album was released on iTunes Music Store. It included around 12 new remixed tracks. '20.000 Miles Over the Sea' was one of the most well-received songs from this album.

Seven Lives Many Faces
This was their seventh album, and was released in September 2008. It is more of a mix of modern and classical elements. 'Seven Lives' and 'La Puerta del Cielo' were the better songs from this release, though the album as a whole did not fare too well worldwide.

The Platinum Collection
Released in the year 2009, this album consists of 3 CDs. The first CD has all their most famous songs from over the years. The second CD is a remix of all the songs that are in the first CD. And the third CD consists of tracks that have not been released before by the band. All in all, there are three full hours of music to be enjoyed.
Awards Won

Over the years, they has been presented with numerous awards. These are some of the main ones that they have received.
  • 1 World Music Award
  • 3 ECHO Music Awards
  • 2 RIAA Gold Awards
  • 7 RIAA Platinum Awards
  • 5 BPI Platinum Awards
  • 100+ Worldwide Platinum Awards
Enigma managed to bring into the clubs enchanting music along with great beats, a style apart from all other dance and club music. Their music videos too are something apart from the rest. The band members have never become well-known celebrities in their own right, reason being, the band never really promoted any person outright. But instead, as a collective band, they have enjoyed success that very few others have even come close to. The celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first album release, a project named 'Enigma's Social Song' was taken up. Fans were requested to submit vocals, and there was online voting after that. 'Fei mea' by Fox Lima from Latvia was the winner, and his contribution was used for the chorus. Contributions from the top three runner-up participants were used in other parts of the song. The completed version of the song 'MMX The Social Song' was released in December 2010.

Enigma has worked under the labels of Virgin, EMI and Charisma. Their music genres include electronic, new age, worlbeat, and downtempo. The instruments mainly used by them are the sampler, drum machine, synthesizer, keyboard and Korg M1.
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