Gwenno’s Cornish Experience

Gwenno’s Cornish Experience


Upon listening, Gwenno (Saunders)’s songs found in “Le Kov,” released 2 March 2018, and 2014’s “Y Dydd Olaf,” may sound akin to Sigur Rós’ “Hopelandic.” However, the Welsh singer is actually belting out tunes written in Cornish – a dialect spoken in the UK’s Cornwall region. With “Le Kov” translating to “a place of memory,” the dreamlike journey Gwenno expresses throughout the album gains contextual meaning. It’s a manifestation of the steadfast survival of Britain’s lesser known Brythonic language and all the myths and drolls it encompasses. As expressed in Gwenno’s short film, “Le Kov, a landscape…” there’s much to be found in between truth, myth, and a sense of place.

In her own words, “Here’s a contemporary visual document exploring what truth and myth is, what Le Kov is about – where we’re at, and how we got here. A collaboration between Steve Glashier and I, exploring landscape and a sense of place. A postcard of the now that may one day be forgotten, so let’s enjoy the moment before it disappears.” ‘Le Kov, a landscape…’

Receiving recognition from outlets like The Guardian and Sunday Times, Gwenno’s “Le Kov,” prevails in the age of Brexit and nationalism. Working with Cornwall’s rich cultural heritage as a starting place, legends from sunken Brythonic cities – namely, Cantre’r Gwaelod, Kêr-Is, Langarrow, and Lyonnesse, revealed a legacy worth saving. Using music as a global platform, Gwenno wanted to share her sense of identity with the world. To her, Britain should never become a homogenized culture, especially now. The end result is a seductive, catchy album where the beautifully arranged songwriting becomes the focus.

“It’s an exploration of Cornish identity, from feelings of post-Brexit-vote isolation, to calls to arms, to the status of minority languages. But casual listeners are unlikely to pick up on those themes (and the lyrics are sufficiently allusive that you need Gwenno’s explanations to get the point). It’s the melodies that will keep people coming back: purposeful and direct, but deliciously blurry, reminiscent of Broadcast in their creation of a psychedelia that looks backwards and forwards simultaneously.” – The Guardian