|Birth name||Gwenno Mererid Saunders|
|Born||23 May 1981|
|Genres||Electropop, indie pop|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer, dancer|
|Labels||Peski Records, Heavenly Recordings|
|Associated acts||The Pipettes, Pnau, Elton John|
Gwenno Mererid Saunders (born 23 May 1981) is a Welsh musician, known by the stage name Gwenno. She performs as a solo artist, releasing her first album Y Dydd Olaf on Heavenly Recordings in 2015 followed by her first album in Cornish in 2018, entitled Le Kov .She was also a singer in the indie pop group the Pipettes.
Saunders was born in Cardiff.She is the daughter of Cornish poet and linguist Tim Saunders and Lyn Mererid, who is an activist and member of the choir Côr Cochion Caerdydd and works as a translator. When she grew up, her father spoke Cornish; her mother spoke Welsh.
From the age of five she attended the Seán Éireann-McMahon Academy of Irish Danceand was a cast member of Michael Flatley's productions of Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames by the age of 17, playing a lead role in a Las Vegas production of the former. 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...? She is fluent in Welsh and Cornish. On 18 April 2019 she presented "Songs from the Edgelands", a programme about songs in minority languages on BBC Radio 4.
In the years before she joined the Pipettes, she had been a solo electropop singer, mostly in the Welsh and Cornish languages, releasing two solo EPs, Môr Hud(2002) and Vodya (2004). Saunders represented Cornwall in the Liet International song contest, 2003, and won the People's Choice Award for her performance of "Vodya". In December 2004 Gwenno filmed the song "Ysolt y'nn Gweinten" by Celtic Legend for Classic FM TV. It is claimed to be the first video produced in the Cornish language, the text having been written by her father Tim Saunders with music by Cornish composer and ex Gary Numan keyboard player Chris John Payne.
Gwenno joined the Pipettes in April 2005 after founding member Julia left. She is most notable for her lead vocals on the single "Pull Shapes" and the chorus of "Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me". She has more recently posted solo material to her Myspace page, and made a free download of a mini album titled U & I available in October 2007. In April 2008, Gwenno's younger sister Ani joined the Pipettes, after the departure of singers Rosay and RiotBecki. Ani now also releases music with the band The Lovely Wars and solo under the name Ani Glass.
Gwenno has toured as a synth player with Pnau and Elton John in 2012.
In June 2012, Saunders released a five-song Welsh language EP, Ymbelydredd, available on hand-painted cassettes on Peski Records.
Gwenno appears on The Boy Least Likely To's 2013 album The Great Perhaps, contributing vocals to the track "It Could Have Been Me".
She released her first solo full-length album, the Welsh-language Y Dydd Olaf, in October 2014 on Peski Records.In May 2015 Gwenno was signed to Heavenly Recordings. The label re-released her debut album in July. The album won Best Welsh Album at the 2015 National Eisteddfod and in November 2015 won the 2014–2015 Welsh Music Prize.
Gwenno also currently co-produces and co-hosts a Welsh radio show on Cardiff Radio titled "Cam O'r Tywyllwch" ("A Step Away from the Darkness") with her Peski Records colleagues.The team was also behind the CAM '15 music festival in Cardiff, which took place in April 2015 and featured the first live performance in over 20 years by Welsh music post-punk pioneers Datblygu.
In October 2018 the Cornish Language Board claimed that Saunders' album Le Kov had contributed to a 15% increase in the number of people taking Cornish language exams during 2018.
Saunders is married to producer Rhys Edwards,and has one son. She was made a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedh in 2019 for "services to the Cornish language through music and the media".
Saunders is a supporter of Welsh independence. She has said: "What if there are other ways of co-existing? What if we can organise ourselves differently? There is an innate anarchy to art and an absolute potential in utilising it for the good whilst imagining better futures. We want to continue a conversation about an inclusive self-determination by drawing on our past, embracing our neighbours across the UK and the world with open arms, whilst also making sure that we’re singing along to the best possible tune."
|2006||We Are The Pipettes||41|
|2010||Earth vs. The Pipettes||–|
|2014||Y Dydd Olaf||Peski, Heavenly||Digital download, CD, vinyl||Welsh, Cornish|
|2018||Le Kov||Heavenly||Digital download, CD, vinyl||Cornish|
|2002||Môr Hud||Recordiau Sain||Digital download||Welsh, Cornish, English|
|2003||Vodya||Recordiau Sain||Digital download||Welsh, Cornish, English|
|2007||U & I||None||Digital download||English|
|2012||Ymbelydredd||Peski||Digital download, cassette||Welsh|
|2003||I'r Brawd Hwdini||Compilation of re-recordings of songs by Meic Stevens|
Cornwall is a Celtic nation and a county of England. Strengthened by a series of 20th century revivals, traditional folk music has a popular following. It is accompanied by traditions of brass and silver bands, male voice choirs, classical, electronic and popular music.
A gorsedd is a community or meeting of modern-day bards. The word is of Welsh origin, meaning "throne". It is often spelled gorsedh in Cornwall and goursez in Brittany, reflecting the spellings in the Cornish and Breton languages, respectively.
Heavenly Recordings is a London-based independent record label founded by Jeff Barrett in 1990. Heavenly released the first albums from Saint Etienne, Beth Orton and Doves, and early singles by Manic Street Preachers. Current Heavenly artists include Stealing Sheep, Mattiel, The Orielles, Confidence Man, audiobooks, Pip Blom, H. Hawkline, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Gwenno Saunders, Amber Arcades, Working Men's Club, Katy J Pearson and CHAI.
Y Cyrff was a Welsh language indie band in the 1980s, initially formed at the Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy secondary school in Llanrwst, Conwy. The original line-up consisted of Barry Cawley (bass), Emyr Davies (vocals), Dylan Hughes (drums) and Mark Roberts. They performed on Welsh language television, and internationally, until they broke up in 1991. Afterwards, Roberts formed Catatonia, with Jones joining the band a while later. Cawley was also a guitar technician for the band.
Gorsedh Kernow is a non-political Cornish organisation, based in Cornwall, United Kingdom, which exists to maintain the national Celtic spirit of Cornwall. It is based on the Welsh-based Gorsedd, which was founded by Iolo Morganwg in 1792.
The Pipettes were a British indie pop girl group formed in 2003 in Brighton by Robert "Monster Bobby" Barry. The group has released two albums, We Are The Pipettes, and Earth vs. The Pipettes and released numerous singles to support it; the most successful being "Pull Shapes" which peaked at No. 26 in the UK Singles Chart. The group was active from 2003 to 2011.
Jakokoyak was a Welsh project created by musician and producer Rhys Edwards, with leanings towards psychedelic folk, sometimes classified as folktronica and lo-fi experimental electronic music. Edwards also ran the now defunct Peski Records label. He is married to musician Gwenno Saunders and lives in Cardiff, Wales.
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Michael Kenneth Paynter is a retired Cornish civil servant, trade union activist, and poet. Apart from a period of study at the University of Newcastle, he lives in St Ives.
Tim Saunders is a Cornish language poet who also writes poetry and journalism in the Welsh, Irish, Breton and Cornish languages. He is resident in Cardiff but is of Cornish descent. He is a bard of the Gorseth Kernow, a literary historian and editor of 'The Wheel' – an anthology of modern poetry in Cornish 1850–1980. High Tide is a collection of his own poems in Cornish from the years 1974 to 1999.
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Y Dydd Olaf is the first solo album by Welsh singer-songwriter Gwenno. It was her fifth solo release after four previous EPs.
Le Kov is the second studio album by Welsh singer-songwriter Gwenno. It was released on 2 March 2018 on Heavenly Recordings. The first single from the album is "Tir Ha Mor ". Heavenly Recordings claim Gwenno felt a duty to make her second album entirely in Cornish as a record of the living language.
Welsh Language Music Day is a music festival founded by BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens. Events take place on the day at its base in Cardiff, as well as previously in London, Swansea, and even as far as Brooklyn and Budapest.
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