Fresh Air… Breathe In and Fresh Air… Breathe Out

On May 22nd 2020, Air-Edel released a duo of compilation albums entitled Fresh Air… Breathe In and Fresh Air… Breathe Out through their label Besant Hall Records. The albums are available across all digital platforms, with proceeds from the album sales, downloads and streams benefiting the arts and health not-for-profit organisation Breathe Arts Health Research.

Featuring music from Air-Edel’s esteemed, worldwide roster of composers and artists, the albums were created in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic as a way for the Air-Edel team and their roster to collaborate on a creative outlet, with an outcome that could benefit a musical charity. The twenty five tracks range in style and instrumentation and consist of both pre-existing, unreleased tracks and new works composed specifically for the albums, but each carry a message of hope, love and optimism.

Our industry is one built on collaboration, whether it’s between us and our clients, composers and directors, or simply between composers and musicians. The impact of social distancing has been profound for us all and we wanted to find a way to stay together during this time – happily, the response from our incredibly talented roster was so overwhelming, we had to release two albums! We chose to sub-title them ‘Breathe In’ and ‘Breathe Out’ as we wanted it to be cyclical, with no clear first and second album, and of course, the name tied in perfectly with our charity partner Breathe Arts Health Research.” – Chantelle Woodnutt, Air-Edel Composer Agent and Label Manager

Breathe Arts Health Research’s mission is to turn fresh ideas and creativity into practical change for the better and they collaborate equally across the three sectors of arts, health and science, working with the very best people in each field. Their focus is on the individual. Their programmes are designed to have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of everyone who comes into contact with them, backed up with robust clinical research. Their programmes are developed in collaboration with leading healthcare professionals and cultural partners worldwide, then assessed for its medical and economic value.

Their Performing Arts Programme (made possible with support from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity) is a suite of participatory music, dance, poetry and other arts projects that improve NHS staff, patients’ and local communities health and wellbeing, co-created with clinicians in order to deliver specific health outcomes. Their varied programme of regular performances and projects, run at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, improves health outcomes and contributes to a more welcoming healthcare environment. Alongside this, they run Melodies for Mums, a pioneering 10-week programme of music-making for women with or at-risk of postnatal depression, improving mental health and reducing social isolation.

We are so honoured to have been chosen as the charity partner for Air-Edel’s new albums, ‘Fresh Air… Breathe Out’ and ‘Fresh Air… Breathe In’. Music is at the heart of our work at Breathe Arts Health Research – we see first-hand the calming and stress-relieving benefits of music on patients and NHS staff year-round. At these surreal times, music is more important than ever, as it helps us to connect both to ourselves and others. We feel privileged to partner with the wonderful Air-Edel, to spread a message of hope and compassion far and wide during such difficult times.” – Yvonne Farquharson, Founder & Managing Director of Breathe Arts Health Research


Composer Thoughts and Track Inspiration 

For Edith

Chateau Ferguson

A Song Without Words

Featuring Thomas Gould

  • Christopher Barnett

I originally wrote Song For Us for a scene centred around a character played by an old school friend, Tom Hollander. As it happens, Tom played piano on one of the first demo tapes I made when I was sixteen, so it was a slightly weird but wonderful experience writing a song around him after all this time.

  • Philip Selway

I wrote Americana while staying in Pioneertown in the Californian desert where many old Westerns were filmed. Very inspiring to be in the land of Roy Rodgers & Gene Autry!

  • Pete Blyth

When I heard about the idea of the album from Air-Edel, I immediately began to compose the music. The title was very easy to find, because this is the moment, where we all are writing human history together – no one is left out. In order to record this song under strict quarantine regulations I had to be very creative in finding the acoustic space for Rusanda’s violin. It was a blessing that sE provided the microphones for that recording. sE has shown a very touching commitment to us musicians with this gesture of solidarity.

  • Snow Owl

I composed and recorded this new piece a few weeks into the stay-at-home order in California. Being alone in my studio, I wanted to capture the feelings I had at that moment.

I call it “Rising Up”. When the music begins, I wanted to express uncertainties with the strident high register piano notes representing unsettled tinges of anxiety in suspension. The middle section brings signs of sunlight and air coming back into our lives. The piece develops toward optimism, ultimately rising into liberation and a return into the world.

  • Cliff Eidelman

I was a postgraduate at the Guildhall School of Music in the early 90s, and I think it was around that time my English had become good enough for me to appreciate how beautiful this poem was. Its joining of romantic love with astronomical beauty is a wonderful reminder of how certain things are immutable; a thought I am tightly holding onto, especially in moments of uncertainty.

Listening to the song now, almost 30 years later, I can also hear what a big impression Britten’s music — which I did not know until I came to live in London— had on me at that time

  • Dario Marianelli

When recording my album ’The Long Way Home’ (2014), we recorded an alternate take of one of the tunes with Gerard Presencer playing Flugelhorn. We ended up going with the 1st take, but I always felt there was something special about this version. Last year I played it to a friend of mine, a great guy and poet named Arik Raviv. He was inspired and wrote the words recited on the recording. The recording sat in my hard drive until very recently when I shared it during lockdown with a few friends and colleagues. One of the people I shared it with, Jazzie B from Soul 2 Soul who over the years has been a musical mentor of mine, loved the vibe so much and asked if he could perform his interpretation of the poem. Bless.

We hope you enjoy this sonic collaboration and feel healing, peace and meditative space we all need during these strange uncertain times.

  • Michael J. McEvoy

The soloist, Anna Markland, is a former BBC Young Musician of the year who currently is part of early music singing group I Fagiolini with Robert Hollingworth and we sing together in a choir.

  • Philip Pope

The main story behind “Life Holds” to me, is that I was suffering from Covid-19 when I wrote it -fortunately with mild symptoms- but was still feeling quite rough. Just before lockdown started, my family and I got the virus and started self-isolating.

During this time, the only instrument I felt like playing was my nylon-stringed guitar in which I kept playing hypnotic, warm, and repetitive stuff, a bit like mantras, trying to feel better and heal myself.

That’s when I learnt about this project and the aim to write something full of hope, love and optimism that could heal us all from isolation and sickness, which is precisely what I’ve been doing by playing mantras on my guitar.

So the piece came to me really fast and worked a bit as an emotional healer for us at home.

  • Ale Marti

When feeling down, or in need of something to vacuum by, try this.

  • Ben Bartlett

‘Brave’ was part of the award-wining community project Snapshot Songs, which saw composer Stuart Hancock masterminding the creation of a new song cycle reflecting contemporary London life.  Stuart collaborated on ‘Brave’ with the youth members and volunteers of Body & Soul, the leading UK charity promoting the respect, dignity and wellbeing of those living with and affected by HIV.  In weekly workshops, Stuart guided the creative process of lyric-writing and composition centred on notions of courage and bravery in dealing with contemporary life, and an uplifting anthem emerged in the form of ‘Brave’.  Stuart fleshed it out into a full arrangement for symphony orchestra, drummers and the newly-formed Snapshot Songs community choir, with three of Body & Soul’s teen members – Christiana Akintunde, Esther Buyoya and Malunga Yese – taking centre-stage as soloists at the Milton Court Concert Hall performances in 2014.  Snapshots Songs won Stuart the British Composer Award for Best Community or Educational Project in 2015.