RECORD COL­LEC­TION: GWENNO

Cos­mic Welsh singer on the records that shaped her.

Q (UK) - - Contents -

The Welsh singer-song­writer goes on a mu­si­cal ex­plo­ration of her Celtic roots.

JOE MEEK I HEAR A NEW WORLD (1960, TRIUM PH)

“I re­ally love Joe Meek’s pro­duc­tion. I love that it’s a con­cept record and the am­bi­tion and fu­tur­ist think­ing of it. When­ever we make records we al­ways think of Joe Meek in the way that he made some­thing out of noth­ing. He might not have had the right equip­ment, but it’s about cre­at­ing some­thing with what you have. This al­bum has changed the way that I think about mu­sic. It’s quite con­fronta­tional and his ec­cen­tric­ity comes through in the mu­sic. It prob­a­bly could only have been made in a flat on the Hol­loway Road.”

CLANNAD CLANNAD (1973 , PH I LI P S)

“I grew up on [ tra­di­tional Ir­ish folk band] Clannad and I later left a lot of these records be­hind be­cause I lived in an urban set­ting and thought they had no rel­e­vance to me. But as you get older you come back and go, ‘God, that’s a great record.’ I re­ally love Moya Bren­nan’s voice and the rhythm pat­terns. I was an Ir­ish dancer from the age of five so I feel like those rhythm pat­terns are a part of me. I was in Lord Of The Dance and that side of it be­came quite vul­gar and glitz­i­fied, but Clannad have so much clar­ity. It’s re­ally im­me­di­ate and raw.”

HILDEGARD VON BINGEN ORDO VIRTUTUM (1982 , DEUTSCH E HARMONIA MUNDI)

“I only re­cently got into Hildegard von Bingen. I had an Angli­can up­bring­ing that I strug­gled with, so with re­li­gious mu­sic I was look­ing for a way in be­cause a lot of it is re­ally fas­ci­nat­ing and beau­ti­ful. She was an 11th- cen­tury com­poser and I’m re­ally in­ter­ested in that pe­riod. I love the drones and I love that the strings and the wood­wind parts re­mind me of folk mu­sic. There’s ob­vi­ously a pro­pa­ganda side to re­li­gious mu­sic as they’re try­ing to con­vince you of some­thing, but there’s a real free­dom to her and the way she ex­presses love and re­la­tion­ships.”

BURIAL UNTRUE (2007, HYPE RDUB)

“I haven’t been liv­ing in this weird me­dieval Celtic bub­ble my whole life. I re­ally loved twostep garage, jun­gle, R&B and elec­tronic mu­sic. The Burial record for me ex­pressed the depth of ex­pe­ri­ence of that. Two-step, in par­tic­u­lar, was quite glam­ourous, but Burial made an al­bum that was like the re­al­ity of your life when you were lis­ten­ing to those records. I come back to his mu­sic again and again be­cause it’s so emo­tive and cre­ates a land­scape where you can see these streets and these rooms. It nailed so­cial re­al­ism, which I’ve got a mas­sive soft spot for.”

TEST DEPT. / BRITH GOF GODODDIN (1989, M I NI STRY OF POWE R)

“I went to see this be­ing per­formed when I was seven in an old Ford fac­tory off the New­port Road in Cardiff. It’s a fifth-cen­tury poem about a bat­tle be­tween Celtic tribes and the An­glo Sax­ons where they all get mur­dered. I re­mem­ber as a seven-year-old there be­ing a lot of in­dus­trial noise and naked peo­ple run­ning around with fire and chant­ing and lots of drum­ming on old bar­rels. It was amaz­ing! I love that it’s a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween a the­atre com­pany and an in­dus­trial noise band and the way that they’ve di­gested his­tory and turned it into some­thing im­me­di­ate.”

APHEX TWIN DRUKQS (2001 , WARP)

“I was liv­ing in Lon­don at the time and I re­mem­ber com­ing across this record and as a Cor­nish speaker look­ing at all the song ti­tles in Cor­nish on the back of the sleeve and be­ing like, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! This weird thing that I have is in the real world!’ It’s not Aphex Twin’s most pop­u­lar record, but for me it was a nor­mal­i­sa­tion of the Cor­nish lan­guage in an in­ter­est­ing way, which I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated. It was like I was in on a se­cret. The mu­sic is re­ally beau­ti­ful too, and the pi­ano pieces are stun­ning.”

BRENDA WOOT­TON AND RICHARD GENDALL CHIL­DREN SINGING (1976 , SEN­TINEL)

“This was play­ing around the house when I was grow­ing up. Sur­pris­ingly, I’ve man­aged to travel to a few dif­fer­ent coun­tries and not lose this record. The songs are bril­liant, they’re an in­tro­duc­tion to Cor­nish his­tory. I love Brenda Woot­ton, she’s sort of pre-’ 60s in her singing. It’s a mix of Cor­nish and English songs. My dad [ Cor­nish lan­guage poet Tim Saun­ders] cre­ated a world for me and my sis­ter grow­ing up; we as­sumed there was loads of other chil­dren who lived in Corn­wall who could speak Cor­nish. It wasn’t un­til I ex­plored it my­self that I re­alised things were quite dif­fer­ent.”

BUCCA AN TOL YN PEN AN TELYNOR (1982 , PLANET LI FE)

“Again, this was a record that I lis­tened to a lot when I was lit­tle, there’s a beau­ti­ful song on it which trans­lates as She Doesn’t Know. It’s a sad love song to a coun­try, which is quite an Ir­ish tra­di­tion. It’s one of those records that de­fine me. If I think back to my child­hood, that’s what I hear. It’s part of the fab­ric of who I am. There are some records that have a mas­sive im­pact on you at the time and oth­ers that are just al­ways there. If we were to have this con­ver­sa­tion in 10 years’ time, these last two records are still go­ing to be there.”

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