'Manchester Air'

Irish duo Saint Sister have something special.

A project driven by a rare sense of connection, their songwriting is fuelled by an intense personal resonance within their lives.

New album - their second, to date - 'Where I Should End' hits home on June 25th, alongside a 13 date tour of the UK and Ireland.

Taken from the record, new song 'Manchester Air' is online now, and it's a hugely atmospheric piece of music.

The lyrics were penned in the weeks leading up to the 2018 referendum on the Eighth Amendment in Ireland, a public vote that allowed a historic, landslide majority to repeal what had effectively become a ban on abortions in the Republic.

'Manchester Air' is the story of a young couple travelling to Manchester while facing an unexpected pregnancy, linking the historic travel narratives that appear so frequently in Irish folk music with a shockingly modern context.

Frank yet poetic, 'Manchester Air' is driven by empathy, with Morgan MacIntyre commenting:

“Writing this song felt like a cry for help. The weekend the results came through we celebrated by screaming into the sea, feeling the weight of it all wash off us. We performed the song for the first time that weekend and it no longer felt like a cry for help, but rather a cry for every woman who was betrayed by the state and simultaneously a cry of relief, a nod to the future.”

Speaking to Clash, Saint Sister reflected on the origins of the song...

The beginnings of 'Manchester Air' had been rolling around in my head for a month or two before it all kind of fell out on one sunny afternoon on the island of Inis Oirr. It had been a very intense year and we knew we were gearing up for something huge, whichever way the vote went. We were walking around with this heady cocktail of despair, anger, hope and strength and there wasn’t room for much thought about anything else.

It was a hard song to write and still is a hard song to sing, especially given the state of affairs in the North of Ireland at the moment, where although we now have legislation to allow for a range of abortion services we don’t have the access. Our health minister is refusing to commission services and women are still having to travel for basic health care.

It’s hard not feel angry, it’s hard not to feel exhausted by the whole thing but I hope the song at least helps to quell any feelings of loneliness or shame. I hope it says, let’s be angry together, let’s change this together.

To mark the single's release, Saint Sister shot a new video, performing a cappella by the Dublin waterside, their performance framed by the Irish Sea.

Directed by Elius Grace, you can check out 'Manchester Air' below.

Photo Credit: Ellius Grace

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