Sit Awhile With Singer-Songwriter And Poet Brian Campbell On His Meditative New Single “Only Breath”

Albert Einstein once summarized his best understanding of the universe’s inner mechanism as “spooky action, at a distance.” On his new single “Only Breath,” Montreal singer/song-poet Brian Campbell is taking audiences on a transcendental field trip, serving as fearless inner sherpa to the great spooky beyond. It’s available everywhere now.

“Only Breath” is hypnotic in its stirring intensity and deep contemplative message. Over collaborator Martin Bennett’s electronic percussion, bass and flute instrumental, Campbell delivers an unforced sermon on the principles of mystical humility. Lyrically, he proposes a radical worldview, one that challenges the listener to see past all worldly distinctions and separations. It’s a masterclass in conscious observation, and accessible to new and seasoned seekers alike.

The lyrics, adapted from a poem by Rumi as translated by Coleman Barks and used with the latter’s permission, begin with the eschewing of religious identities – “Neither Christian, nor Jew, nor Muslim, nor Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen”, cultural trappings – “not any religion or cultural system” – geographical identities – “I’m not from the East or the West, nor out of the ocean nor up from the ground” – temporal identities – “I do not exist, nor belong to this world or the next” – and myths of genesis – “I did not descend for Adam or Eve, or any origin story.” It’s a series of negations that reveal one great positive – the irreducible essence of what it is to be human.

“Only Breath” is the latest release from Brian Campbell found on his EP A Crystal Rim, which features poems by Rumi and Hafiz and put to music. Campbell first found his musical calling during a Spanish immersion course in Guatemala, where he immersed himself in Latin American poetic songwriting and studied classical guitar. He’s since become a fixture in Quebec’s folk music scene, becoming a sought-after stage performer, releasing two full-length albums and two EPs of original music, and eleven singles.