The project


“I’ve had the great pleasure of performing on stage many times with Michel Balatti over the years.
He is a fine flute player with a thorough understanding of the style and repertoire in Irish music. His flute playing sounds as authentically Irish as the best playing you might expect to hear in co. Clare or Sligo. This is a beautifully arranged and produced recording”.
Martin Hayes, march 2016

The Northern Breeze is the solo project of Italian flute and whistle player Michel Balatti.
Michel is a well known artist in the Italian and European folk scene, due to his career with the Birkin Tree (the foremost Irish music band in Italy) and with the Italian traditional music band I Liguriani, with whom he has toured Europe extensively over the course of the last five years.

The core of the album repertoire is Irish music: from traditional tunes (both obscure and well known), to a selection of reels, jigs and slow airs by some of the predominant contemporary composers within the  tradition, such as Paddy O’Brien, Brendan McGlinchey, Martin Nolan, Michael Queally and Liz Carroll. An American old time tune, a Swedish waltz and four original compositions by Balatti complete the tracklist.

Simple artistic production and minimalistic arrangements were chosen to highlight the strength of the melodies and the expressiveness of Balatti’s flute playing.

Line up:

Michel Balatti – flutes, whistles

Michael Bryan – guitar

Fabio Biale – piano, bodhran


Flautist Michel Balatti graduated with honors from Conservatorio Paganini di Genova. He was the winner of competitions both as a solo performer and in chamber music ensembles and performed several times as a soloist with orchestra. In 1998, after attending a concert by the Italian-based Irish band, Birkin Tree, he began a serious study of traditional music and the simple system wooden flute. Since 2003 he decided to devote himself entirely to the wooden flute and folk music.

During 2004 and 2005 he lived in Ennis, Ireland, where he had the chance of immerse himself completely in the vibrant co. Clare session music scene.

Michel also plays traditional northern Italian music with the band I Liguriani, with whom he has recorded two widely acclaimed albums and toured extensively throughout Europe. He is one of very few flute players in the field of Italian traditional music, and he has crafted his own unique flute style.

Michel has collaborated with musicians such as Martin Hayes, Dennis Cahill, Niamh Parsons, Tola Custy, Cyril O’Donoghue, Nuala Kennedy, Caitlin nic Gabhann, Mick O’Brien and many others. Over the years he has performed in Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Turkey, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada.

He has recorded live concerts for Radio Tre, Radio24, Rte Classic (Ireland), WDR, Bayerische Rundfunk. His music had been broadcasted by  Rai Radio 3, ABC Australia, CBC Canada, RTVES Spain, WDR Koln, Bayerische Rundfunk, HR2O and RSI.