The Breath (UK)
The Breath (UK)
The very first edition of 'Leuven Jazz' (back in 2012) already enjoyed the wonderful vibe of The Cinematic Orchestra. With three (former) members of that Orchestra in its ranks, The Breath creates that orchestral jazz-pop in an almost identical, intense manner.
The Breath is mainly created by the musical synergy between Irish folk singer Rioghnach Connolly and guitarist Stuart McCallum. On stage they’re joined by the Cinematic companions of the latter, John Ellis on piano and Luke Flowers on drums. Their remarkable breakthrough album 'Carry Your Kin' (2016) was followed-up this September: 'Let the Cards Fall' appeared on the Real World label of Peter Gabriel and will get an exclusive Belgian concert at Leuven Jazz 2019.
The album is a bewitching collection of songs allowed to mature and breathe without losing the widescreen, multi-textured kaleidoscope of sound that marked their debut, while refining their trademark Manchester take on alt-folk. For The Breath, it’s all about the song. Connolly writes the only way she knows how; a stream of poetic consciousness giving rise to honest, personal, heartfelt songs as likely to touch on childhood summers and first love as cultural dislocation, post-colonial injustices and grief.
But it’s her deeply soulful, 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.
Vegir ft. Hindi Zahra
Dominique Vantomme intially started his studies as a classical pianist, but turned to jazz at the age of 20. Marc Matthys, Mike Del Ferro, Mark Levine and Rob Madna were his tutors before entering at the University of Louisville, Kentucky (USA) with Andy Laverne and David Baker. Two years later he studied in New York with Kenny Werner.
Meanwhile Vantomme has already worked with (among others) Toots Thielemans, Louisiana Red, Vaya Con Dios, An Pierlé, Viktor Lazlo, Roland and Axelle Red. with his own fusion band ROOT he set on a more experimental tour. It was in this period that he worked for the first time with French-Moroccan singer Hindi Zahra. Now, he creates a whole new story with Vegir. It was Leonardo Pavkovic, director of Moonjune label, who put him in contact with legendary bass player Tony Levin (King Crimson). This encounter resulted in a tremendous live studio session, and the new band.
Special Guest: Hindi Zahra
Hindi Zahra comes from a berber/touareg background. English magazine described her sound as a mixture of Django Reinhardt and Billie Holiday. Her irresistibly light voice and sultry jazz stylemixes desert blues, jazz, folk and North African sounds to sublime effect. Her first album 'Handmade' (2010) was in instant success and won her the 'Prix Constantin' for young talents in French chanson. In 2014 she was well noticed for her appearance on a tribute to Nina Simone (starring besides Camille, Keziah Jones, Lianne La Havas) and made her first appearances as an actrice in 'The Narrow Frame of Midnight' and 'The Cut'. In 2015 followed a new album, called 'Homeland'. She collaborated intensly with Malinese superstar Fatoumata Diawara and played at major festivals worldwide.
- “The Breath is all about emotion. The guitar lines by McCallum and the lyrics, mixing love and grief, and the warm voice of Connolly create a melancholic feel all-over. Undoubtedly, the rainy days of Manchester and Ireland have had their influences. Melancholy runs through the veins.
With their songs, McCallum and Connolly created exactly that atmosphere and warm the heart.” (translation from WritteninMusic)
- “raw, soulful, often mesmeric, richly textured and lushly constructed ... versatile persuasive vocals” (Mojo)
- "A dense album, crazy, energetic, audacious. It sways, growls, surprises, hypnotizes and explodes" – Le Soir
- "This is heavily tasty somewhat dark-edged fusion by four great players who were given the freedom to stretch out and GO! Recommended!" – Wayside Music
The Breath: Rioghnach Connolly (vocals), Stuart McCallum (guitar), John Ellis (piano) and Luke Flowers (drums)
Vegir: Dominique Vantomme (piano and keyboards), Mirko Banovic (bass), Michel Delville (electric guitar), Maxime Lenssens (drums) and Hindi Zahra (vocals)