Voyager (Mike Oldfield album)

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Studio album by
Released26 August 1996 (1996-08-26)
RecordedRoughwood Studio, Buckinghamshire
Air studios (Orchestra)
GenreCeltic, new-age
LabelWarner Music UK/WEA
Reprise (in the US)
ProducerMike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield chronology
The Songs of Distant Earth
Tubular Bells III
Singles from Voyager
  1. "Women of Ireland"
    Released: 10 November 1997
Professional ratings
Review scores

Voyager is the 17th music album by Mike Oldfield, released in 1996 by Warner Music UK. It is a Celtic-themed album with new compositions intertwined with traditional pieces.


The album was the last in the original three-album deal which Oldfield had signed with Warner after leaving Virgin, starting with Tubular Bells II. Oldfield would stay with Warner until 2003, where his final album for the label was Tubular Bells 2003.

In an interview from the time, Oldfield claimed that the album was one of his quickest to create, only taking a month and a half to record, also claiming that he composed and recorded some songs in one morning.[2]

Celtic music[edit]

The music on this album is the most overtly Celtic music Mike Oldfield has produced. The album was originally recorded using only acoustic hand-played instruments. After the daughter of a Warner Music exec said it sounded boring, Oldfield added synthesizers and more instruments to the album.[3]

"The Hero" is a Scottish piece originally written by James Scott Skinner in 1903, as "Hector the Hero". "She Moves Through the Fair" is a traditional Irish song, the melody of which had been used by Simple Minds for "Belfast Child" in 1989. "Women of Ireland", although credited as a traditional song, is not: the main theme is a melody written by Irish composer Seán Ó Riada as a musical setting of the poem "Mná na hÉireann", written by Peadar Ó Doirnín; Oldfield's rendition also includes an interpolation of the fourth movement (Sarabande) of George Frideric Handel's Keyboard suite in D minor, popularised by its use by Stanley Kubrick in his 1975 film Barry Lyndon, where Ó Riada's tune also appears (Oldfield's "Women of Ireland" was reportedly inspired by the coupling of both pieces in the film). "Dark Island" is a Scottish instrumental and song; the original music was written by Iain Maclachlan as Dr. Mackay's Farewell to Creagorry in 1958. Later used as the theme to a 1962 BBC TV series and re-titled for the series. A set of words were later written by David Silver in 1963. Another well known set of words were also set to a variation of the tune in 1963, by Stewart Ross. "Flowers of the Forest" is a traditional Scottish song, a lament for the defeat at Flodden in 1513. "The Song of the Sun" is composed by Bieito Romero from Celtic band Luar na Lubre. Its original title is "O son do ar" ("The sound of the air").

"Mont Saint-Michel", a piece on the album composed by Oldfield, refers to a tidal island in France.


The German promo single for "The Voyager"

Promotional singles for "The Voyager" and "The Song of the Sun", in Germany and Spain respectively, were released in 1996. Mike Oldfield's rendition of "Women of Ireland" was released as a single in 1997.

Other artists' samples[edit]

The song "Celtic Rain" was sampled in 2008 by Snoop Dogg, in the song "Why Did You Leave Me" of the album Ego Trippin'. The song was produced by Polow da Don.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Song of the Sun" (Bieito Romero) – 4:32
  2. "Celtic Rain" (Mike Oldfield) – 4:41
  3. "The Hero" (Traditional; arranged by Oldfield) – 5:03
  4. "Women of Ireland" (Traditional; arranged by Oldfield) – 6:29
  5. "The Voyager" (Oldfield) – 4:26
  6. "She Moves Through the Fair" (Traditional; arranged by Oldfield) – 4:06
  7. "Dark Island" (Traditional; arranged by Oldfield) – 5:43
  8. "Wild Goose Flaps Its Wings" (Oldfield) – 5:04
  9. "Flowers of the Forest" (Traditional; arranged by Oldfield) – 6:03
  10. "Mont St Michel" (Oldfield) – 12:18


The album charted highest in Hungary at number 1, but also charted around Europe.

Chart (1996) Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[4] 16
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[5] 26
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[6] 16
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[7] 41
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[8] 21
French Albums (SNEP)[9] 40
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[10] 15
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[11] 1
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[12] 30
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[13] 1
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[14] 13
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[15] 15
UK Albums (OCC)[16] 12

Certifications and sales[edit]

Certifications and sales for Voyager
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Poland (ZPAV)[17] Gold 20,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[18] 3× Platinum 300,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[19] Gold 100,000^
Worldwide 600,000[20]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  • Gregg Jackman – assistant engineer
  • Tom Newman – assistant engineer
  • Richard Barrie – technical engineer


  1. ^ Mike Oldfield – Voyager review at AllMusic
  2. ^ Pedro Bavo (August 1996). "I Feel I Bring My Ideas About The Future". Blanco Y Negro (Spain). Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  3. ^ "Rare Tracks 2". Retrieved 10 July 2008.
  4. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Voyager" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  5. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Voyager" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  6. ^ "Listen - Danmarks Officielle Hitliste - Udarbejdet af AIM Nielsen for IFPI Danmark - Uge 36". Ekstra Bladet (in Danish). Copenhagen. 8 September 1996.
  7. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Voyager" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  8. ^ "Mike Oldfield: Voyager" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  9. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Voyager". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Phononet GmbH. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 1996. 38. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  12. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Voyager". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  13. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (2015). Sólo éxitos 1959–2012 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 978-84-8048-866-2.
  14. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Voyager". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  15. ^ " – Mike Oldfield – Voyager". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  16. ^ September 1996/7502/ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  17. ^ "Wyróżnienia – Złote płyty CD - Archiwum - Przyznane w 2008 roku" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry.
  18. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (PDF) (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. p. 957. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  19. ^ "British album certifications – Mike Oldfield – Voyager". British Phonographic Industry.
  20. ^ "Who is Selling Where". Billboard. 22 February 1997. Retrieved 2 May 2019.

External links[edit]