Gwenno Saunders – Cornish Psych-Pop

I need a break from all the madness that’s going on at the moment. So, Gwenno Saunders was born in Cardiff in 1981. Her father is a noted Cornish poet and her mother is a Welsh activist. As a result Gwenno is fluent in both the Cornish and Welsh languages. Earlier this month Gwenno released her second solo album, called ‘Le Kov’ (‘place of memory’). The album is sung entirely in Cornish, but don’t let that put you off. The first single to be released from the album is called Tir Ha Mor (‘Land and Sea’). The song is a soaring tribute to Peter Lanyon, a St. Ives school painter who learned to fly a glider to observe the landscape, dying while doing so in 1964…

From the age of 5 Gwenno attended the Seán Éireann-McMahon Academy of Irish Dance and by the age of 17 she was a cast member of Michael Flatley’s productions of Lord Of The Dance, playing a lead role in a Las Vegas production. In 2001 she had a role in the Welsh language soap opera Pobol y Cwm on S4C, for whom she would later host her own programme Ydy Gwenno’n Gallu…? This next song from ‘Le Kov’ is called Jynn-amontya (‘Computer’). Gwenno describes this piece as a love song of sorts, inspired by the use of a computer program that could decode linguistic patterns by scrolling through old Cornish texts…

In 2005 Gwenno joined ‘The Pipettes’, an indie pop girl group. ‘The Pipettes’ were moderately successful, placing four singles in the UK charts, two of them in the top 40. Gwenno left ‘The Pipettes’ in 2010 to pursue a solo career. It’s believed that today less than six hundred people are fluent in Cornish, a revived language that was first spoken more than 1400 years ago. This next song from ‘Le Kov’ is called Hunros (‘Dream’)…

Gwenno’s debut album is called ‘Y Dydd Olaf’ (‘The Last Day’) and was released in 2014. All the songs on the album are in Welsh, except for the final one which is in Cornish. ‘Y Dydd Olaf’ is a protest album that deals with dystopian themes. It feels far removed from 2018’s ‘Le Kov’ which is the first ever Cornish electronic psych-pop concept album. The final track I’m featuring here from ‘Le Kov’ is called Hi a Skoellyas Liv a Dhagrow (‘She shed a flood of tears’)…

https://www.gwenno.info/ (Note: you can download ‘Le Kov’, or individual tracks from it, from the likes of Amazon. Gwenno may be fluent in Cornish and Welsh but her web site does not mention that digital downloads are available)

For more music of a similar ilk see Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – the band that never made it

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