Carry Your Kin

The Breath, 2016

The Breath is Stuart McCallum (former guitarist of (The Cinematic Orchestra), Irish singer Rioghnach Connolly and McCallum's fellow Cinematic alumni, pianist John Ellis and drummer Luke Flowers. Born out of Manchester's fertile music scene they mix Irish folk influences with mesmerizing guitar riffs, anthemic themes and powerful hooks. Connolly's soulful vocals are interwoven into the electronic fabric of McCallum's distinctive soundworld. In turns hypnotic, lush, powerfully raw and raucously punchy, their songs entrance, uplift and break your heart as The Breath conjure a kaleidoscope of sound that perfectly frames Connolly's raw songs and soul cleansing vocals.

Listen to Antwerp taken from the album below:

Drawing on the influences of traditional Irish folk song, Connolly's original lyrics pour forth from her own life in a torrent of meaning. She sings songs of birth and death, woman's rights, first love, the call of motherhood, the death of men at sea and post-colonial wrongs. All delivered with compelling emotional honesty and a raw urgency as McCallum, Ellis and Flowers delve deeply into the spaces between rock, ambient, folk and jazz to deliver a powerfully hypnotic accompaniment that moves from chilled soundscapes to rocking anthems. Recorded in Manchester and at Real World Studios and mixed by sound guru Tchad Blake.


  • Fresh and refreshing Piano and acoustic guitar create easy waves on a gracious "For You" and soft, clear pastoral sounds evoke green hills during "Harvest" and "Carry Your Kin." The team is able to get rollicking, as the team rocks a bit on the dramatic "Tremelone" and McCallum's electric guitar creates a vibrant pulse on "Antwerp." Connolly knows how to spin a yarn, and weaves atmospheres on the turbulent "Boat Song" and the indie sounding "Our Own Way." Fresh and refreshing. Read the full review here.
  • Lushly dense, stunningly beautiful So imagine that Cocteau Twins consisted of an Irish singer and a jazz quartet. The result might have sounded something like this: lyrically unintelligible, lushly dense, stunningly beautiful. None of this music is from the folk tradition, and none of the music employs traditional Irish instruments, but the music somehow draws deeply on singer Ríoghnach Connolly's Irishness even as it draws equally on jazz, ambient music, rock, and other folk sounds. It's impossible to describe adequately-you really need to hear it.
  • Breathtaking. That's a mood and feel that threads throughout the album, human at all turns. The peak, perhaps, is the closing song, "Tremelone," soaring to a symphonic swell, layers and layers of instruments and voice, darting and trilling and thrilling. Read the full review here. 89.3 KPCC (Southern California Public Radio)
  • Une authentique et douce réussite. (A genuine and sweet success.) ★★★★ Les Inrocks (France)
  • The Irish singer-songwriter Rioghnach Connolly heads a Mancunian supergroup with jazz red including Cinematic Orchestra guitarist Stuart McCallum and drummer Luke Flowers and the sound is kind of contemporary folk meets Bat for Lashes. ★★★ Jazzwise
  • A quasi ambient groove with bite that probably will take you to places you've only seen in dreams Two rising UK hitters that initially met on MySpace woodshed for years before finding a groove their complimentary but diverse skills would get the attention of Peter Gabriel. A Celtic, fog on the moors sound that's clearly not your father's Celtica is the result. Primed for today's ears rather than that of moldy figs, this duo is sure to power your doob to new heights as they marry their past and future sounds and attitudes into a quasi ambient groove with bite that probably will take you to places you've only seen in dreams.
  • An undeniable catchiness This is the debut album if Manchester-based duo The Breath. The group comprises Northern Irish vocalist Rioghnach Connolly and guitarist Stuart McCallum with Cinematic Orchestra colleagues John Ellis and Luke Flowers on piano and drums. Connolly has a soft but focused voice... There is an undeniable catchiness to the opening track here, Harvest, and something darker in the slavery echoes of Boat Song. London Evening Standard
  • Full of layered detail The small group melodies are ghostly, the pastel arrangements full of layered detail... Tremelone possesses anthemic depth, and the Celtic strains come through loud and clear on the title number, John Ellis's piano glowing in the background. The Sunday Times
  • Cool, drifting ambient folk soul "...a wash of sound and cool, drifting vocals from Connolly before tougher guitar lines move in, and continues in much the same vein. This is sophisticated, atmospheric music that veers between ambient and soul styles..." Read the full review here. The Guardian
  • Grounded and dreamy, familiar and experimental. The pedigree of the talent lending a hand to The Breath on their debut is impressive enough to warrant notice. Carry Your Kin was mixed by Tchad Blake, the innovative engineer-producer for Los Lobos and The Latin Playboys, and the studio-label belongs to Peter Gabriel. The key band members, guitarist Stuart McCallum and vocalist Rioghnach Connolly, met in Manchester and married his interest in rock music constructed from loops and effects with her devotion to Irish tradition. The result floats intriguingly between grounded and dreamy, familiar and experimental.
  • the music a sunshine-on-rainy-streets ambience of The Blue Nile. At the core of The Breath are Armagh-born singer Rioghnach Connolly (most recently heard on the latest Afro Celt Sound System's album) and Mancunian guitarist Stuart McCallum (purveyor of atmospherics to The Cinematic Orchestra). This album marries Connolly's folky melodies with echoing guitars, additional piano from John Ellis giving the music a sunshine-on-rainy-streets ambience of The Blue Nile. Like an anglophone 9Bach, they float songs of love, women's rights, motherhood, death at sea and colonialism over dark beats. The Financial Times
  • Raw, soulful, often mesmeric, richly textured and lushly constructed An unlikely amalgamation of former Cinematic Orchestra guitarist Stuart McCallum and Northern Irish singer/flautist Rioghnach Connolly (of HoneyFeet), this is a sometimes bewildering yet likeable exploration of ambience, spirituality and blurred genes from trip hop to Irish folk. Built around John Ellis's piano, it is raw, soulful, often mesmeric, richly textured and lushly constructed; none of which would count for anything without Connolly's versatile, persuasive vocals. MOJO
  • McCallum provides the grandeur and artifice and Connolly the intimacy and purity on a set of songs that range from the personal (motherhood, birth, death) to the political (women's rights, post-colonialism). (7/10) Uncut Magazine
  • A full-bodied collection of ambient, rocking, multi-layered soundscapes It's a full-bodied collection of ambient, rocking, multi-layered soundscapes - some gentle and rolling, some mountainous and anthemic - designed to be a match for the potency of Connolly's open-hearted song writing and soulful voice: at once delicate, draped in traditional vocal ornamentations and emotionally charged. fRoots