Gwenno: Le Kov (Heavenly) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 21st, 2024  


Le Kov


Mar 01, 2018 Gwenno Bookmark and Share

Language carries a living record. Sunken cities, forgotten legends, communal values lost in the shuffle of the individual ageevery tongue unlocks stores of secrets. Welsh linguist and former Pipettes singer/keyboardist Gwenno Saunders creates psychic space for the U.K.‘s most beleaguered languages: after writing her obsidian debut Y Dydd Olaf almost entirely in Welsh, she now turns her pen to the less-spoken Cornish language for the follow-up, Le Kov. Like its predecessor, this shimmering realm fuses old-world glamour with modern concerns for identity and communication; this time around, though, the storm clouds have cleared, and Gwenno shines forth with more prismatic charm.

Le Kov, the “place of memory” in English, expands dear old Cornwall into a cosmic journey that transcends language barriers. In “Eus Keus?,” Gwenno gleefully shares the bounty of cheese (and an old Cornish expression) with Broadcast-like mystique; “Daromres y’n Howl” captures the cheery and chummy vibes of a summer road trip in a Clinic-esque bop. Songs like the reedy oscillation of “Aremorika” and Stereolab banger “Tir Ha Mor” dip lightly into history, long enough to crystallize moments and characters with their own colorful personas.

The true triumph of Le Kov, however, is how Gwenno breathes such vitality into the ancient language. The way she whispers seductively on the “long lost Cornish folk rock” of “Hi a Skoellyas Liv a Dhagrow” truly bewitches; “Jynn-Amontya” hails computers in a sublime courtship ritual that echoes Pram. And the wispy curio of “Hunros” simply beckons her son into blissful slumber.

Through Le Kov, Gwenno doesn’t redefine her retro style. But with both a warmer palette and a wider lens, she does revel in the subtle graces of the Cornish tongueand with plenty of care and imagination, the accomplished linguist has blessed the old language with a proper new abode in the 21st century. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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