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Music Gwenno

Published on March 12th, 2018 | by voxx

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Gwenno – Le Kov

West Country Girl: The welsh singer soars on an album sung entirely in Cornish…

For her debut LP, 2015’s Y Dydd Olaf, Gwenno Saunders, former member of The Pipettes, sang almost entirely in her native Welsh. Going off on a linguistic tangent with its closing track, ‘Amser’, she diverted into Cornish, the near-dead language of her poet father, in which the singer is fluent, having grown up speaking it at home.

For the follow-up, she’s gone fully Cornish. But if the concept of a Welsh artist singing an entire album in a language that roughly only 2000 people still speak sounds hard going, it’s far from it. In Saunders’s hands it makes for mellifluous phrases used in songs whose subject matters range from feeling depressed and isolated post-Brexit (‘Herdhya’) to ambivalent feelings of love towards computers (‘Jynn-Amontya’).

Musically, Le Kov sits somewhere between Air, Serge Gainsbourg and retro-futurists Broadcast, with Saunders and her producer husband Rhys Edwards conjuring up 10 atmospheric tracks filled with driving beats, bubbling synths and clouds of reverb, over which she sails gorgeous melodies. The overall effect is akin to a more floaty Jane Weaver, with the emphasis on filmic textures. ‘Den Heb Taves’ comes over like an ethereal take on The Doors, ‘Hunros’ is an electro harpsichord lullaby for her son, while the head-rush pop of ‘Eus Keus?’, with its maddeningly catchy chorus, and which translates as “Is There Cheese?”, underlines just how much fun Gwenno is having here.

Whatever language it’s in, Le Kov casts a lovely musical spell.

- By Jake White


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