The Breath is guitarist Stuart McCallum and singer/flautist Ríoghnach Connolly. Ríoghnach (pronounced Rea-nuh) is Armagh-born and Manchester-based. Known for her work with Afro Celt Sound System and Honeyfeet, she met Stuart on the city’s gig circuit several years ago. An unlikely pairing though it was - she a folk singer, loud, brash and mischievous, he an acclaimed jazz guitarist, member of Cinematic Orchestra and a softly spoken Manchester urbanite.
Their connection was immediate; they formed The Breath to present their contemporary take on alt-folk. Connolly writes honest, personal, heartfelt songs, but it’s her impassioned delivery and utterly engaging, stop-you-in-your-tracks voice – whether delicate and hushed or powerful and gutsy - coupled with Stuart's understated brilliance and their exquisitely crafted songs, that give The Breath such emotional depth.
The Breath has released three widely acclaimed albums on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label, and were nominated Best Duo/Group category in the 2019 BBC Folk Awards. Ríoghnach was separately nominated in the highly prestigious Folk Singer of the Year category which she went on to win.
“raw, emotive and husky, (Ríoghnach Connolly) sure owns a song. … gentle and rolling, mountainous and anthemic…open-hearted songwriting … and emotionally charged” fRoots
“an affecting blend …. McCallum provides the grandeur and artifice and Connolly the intimacy and purity” Uncut