Gwenno has announced the release date of her new album Le Kov on 2nd March via Heavenly Recordings. Gwenno has also shared a new LP trailer, which can be viewed below, and announced a run of live performances in support of the album, beginning in early December in Falmouth and Merthyr Tydfil and running through to April 2018 with a show at London’s Hoxton Hall.
Gwenno UK dates:
Friday 1st December – MERTHYR TYDFIL – Redhouse
Saturday 2nd December – FALMOUTH – The Poly
Saturday 20th January – HOLYHEAD – Ucheldre Centre
Thursday 8th March – BIRMINGHAM – Hare & Hounds
Friday 9th March – MANCHESTER – Gullivers
Saturday 10th March – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club
Friday 16th March – BRIGHTON – Rialto Theatre
Saturday 17th March – RAMSGATE – Music Hall
Thursday 22nd March – BRISTOL – Louisiana
Friday 23rd March – OXFORD – Bullingdon Arms
Sunday 25th March – ABERYSTWYTH – Ceredigion Museum
Thursday 12th April – LONDON – Hoxton Hall
Written entirely in Cornish, Le Kov is exploration of the individual and collective subconscious, the myths and drolls of Cornwall, and the survival of Britain’s lesser known Brythonic language. As one of the language’s few fluent speakers, Gwenno felt a duty to make her second album entirely in Cornish: to create a document of a living language, explore her identity and the endless creative possibilities of a tongue that has a very small surviving artistic output, despite having been around for at least 15 centuries.
She dove deep into research, learning about attempts to protect and progress the language and the role of women throughout Cornish history. When Gwenno considered the legends of sunken Brythonic cities Cantre’r Gwaelod, Kêr-Is, Langarrow and Lyonesse, she knew she had her starting point. These cities evoked her idea of language as its own form of psychological territory, a concept perfectly distilled by the Cornish title for the album, Le Kov – the place of memory.
Sharp-eyed observers will note that that’s also a song from Aphex Twin’s 2001 album Drukqs. “I imagined Richard D. James coming across this ‘long lost Cornish 70s folk rock song’ on vinyl in a charity shop in the city of Le Kov, and stealing the title,” says Gwenno. It’s one of just two songs where she references the city directly. The next is Herdhya (Pushing), a hypnotic song “about the feeling of isolation after the Brexit vote, and realising that you’re stuck on an island—Britain—with perhaps many people who are trying to push society back to a regressive idea of the middle ages that has never existed, and imposing that on everyone else,” says Gwenno. By contrast, Le Kov is “dhyn ni oll” (for us all), a sanctuary city and analogue for the importance of understanding that diverse identities are the foundation of any place.
Over the course of making Le Kov, Gwenno reconciled her anxiety over her right to make a Cornish-language pop record, and realised that, in the age of Brexit, isolationism and hostility towards the rich cultures that make modern Britain, it had a wider resonance, too. “This album is a combination of accepting the culture which your parents have valued enough to want to pass on to you, regardless how small, and utilising it in a positive way to try and make sense of the world around you, it’s also about having to accept and respect the nuances that make us all different and discovering that all of our stories share the same truth.”
Le Kov tracklist:
1. Hi a Skoellyas Liv a Dhagrow
2. Tir Ha Mor
4. Eus Keus?
6. Den Heb Taves
7. Daromres y’n Howl
10. Koweth Ker
Photo credit: Michal Iwanowski