What if your mother tongue is an ancient language of a land that you’ve never lived in, whose native speakers have only recently broken 200 years’ silence? What if the only place it has ever existed over the years is hundreds of miles away, in your home and your heart?
After a phenomenal debut with Y Dydd Olaf in 2015, Gwenno will continue her statement about the importance of protecting minority languages with a new album, Le Kov (meaning A Place Of Memory), written entirely in Cornish, due in Spring 2018.
The album’s title crystallises Gwenno’s relationship to the language—a fluent speaker of Cornish who has seldom ventured south of the River Tamar, let alone lived there. As a child, she imagined that Cornish held similar cultural weight to the Welsh language: a living, spoken tongue that coursed through everyday life. “How wrong I was” she admits.
The new album explores personal identity, documenting living languages, 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.
The result is an exploration of the individual and collective subconscious and the ‘dream state’, the myths and drolls of Cornwall, and the survival of Britain’s lesser known Brythonic language. More than that, in the age of Brexit, isolationism and hostility towards the rich cultures that make up modern Britain, Le Kov takes on an unexpected wider resonance, and contains bold messages about the importance of respecting and forging links with other cultures—no matter how small.
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