Cardiff-based singer-songwriter Gwenno released her latest album Le Kov on Heavenly Recordings last week. It is a really wonderful collection of music that I reviewed for Caught By The River.
Part of my review:
“The album … speaks to all displaced peoples who have ever dreamed of returning home, however impossible that might be. By the end of 2016, the number of displaced people in the world had risen to 65.6 million – more than the population of the UK. These people may end up living for the rest of their lives away from the countries of their birth, dreaming of homelands and speaking languages that may soon no longer exist.
When Gwenno sings “A tongueless man / A tongueless man has lost”, my only thoughts were about those homelands disappearing (and the rich cultural history contained within all languages disappearing too). It made me think a lot about refugees in general, and more specifically about my own parents, who escaped Iran before the revolution, and their brothers and sisters, who left at the same time, scattered across the globe. None of them can ever go back home – the Iran they grew up in (the Iran they would call “home”) is not a place that exists anymore. I grew up as a first language Farsi speaker in Wales – communicating in a language that was imbued with nuance and poetry drawn from a land that I would never live in.”
Head over to Caught By The River – Gwenno’s Le Kov to read the full piece, and why not order the vinyl from your local friendly independent record store, Spillers Records?
Nice druiding on the Eus Keus video…
You can catch Gwenno performing songs from the album on the Caught By The River stages at Port Eliot and the Good Life Experience this summer.
2 thoughts on “Album review – Gwenno’s Le Kov”
I really wanted to like Le Kov by Gwenno. Even as an eight-year old in the sixties I knew that Cornwall was off-England. My daughter, who, like most of her young generation is well-travelled, calls it the ‘the best place in the world’. But, there’s something wrong here. And it’s the very thing the album claims to be about: the tongue. Not just the tongue, but the mouth and the throat and the chest. Where’s her voice? It’s hardly more than a bland accompaniment to banal electro-pop.
Helia Phoenix makes a bold attempt to claim Gwenno is, somehow, ‘singing’ on behalf of all of the world’s displaced people. Only 65 million, though? Anyone who has taken a walk, from their front door, past the shopping centres, the boarded-up shops, the dashed off housing estates and the arid, suspicious bungalows, past the fortified redoubts of the baronial rich to land chartered and enclosed will feel that sense of landless-ness and lack of ‘home’. (I know: ‘anyone’ is a tiny minority; most of us are under the sedatives of parochial consumerism. Our hollowed-out language is the chain). More reason then that we should hear the real sound of the common folk (in all and every tongue): the human voice in league with the heart.
Gwenno’s Le Kov would hardly raise an eyebrow played over the sound system of any shopping mall in the world. And that, I’d suggest, is not a good thing.
Hey, everyone’s free to their own opinion, dude. Shame you don’t like it, but I thought it was a great album. Also if you’d ever seen her live, you’d know where her voice was.