Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Meanwhile, In Wales. . .

Gwenno - Y Dydd Olaf

During their recent quiet period, The Joy Formidable apparently have embraced their Welsh roots, and have recorded a series of singles sung in Welsh.  

Another Welch artist, Gwenno Saunders, has also made a Welsh-language album this year.  Gwenno remembers being dragged from picket to protest as a kid in Wales during the 1980s.  Her mother, a staunch member of the Cardiff socialist choir Côr Cochion, spent every Saturday singing for the causes of the day, and then, as part of a demonstration against the dominance of the English language in Welsh life, she defaced the Welsh Office and was jailed for two weeks. “It was great!” Gwenno recalls. “Two weeks for a strong political cause – you felt your mum was important.”

Gwenno's album, Y Dydd Olaf, takes its name from Welsh writer Owain Owain’s 1976 sci-fi novel about globalization, in which brain-invading robots overpower humanity – except for Welsh speakers, whose thoughts they can’t penetrate.  Its nine songs confront media manipulation, patriarchy and the decline of minority languages, while the closing track, Amser, interprets a poem in Cornish by Gwenno’s poet dad Tim Saunders. 

Here's Chwyldro, Minnesota Public Radio's Current Song of the Day, from Y Dydd Olaf:

1 comment:

  1. Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch. I had a Welsh boyfriend for a while in college. It was useful when we were hitchhiking through southern Europe, rugby country, and tried to walk across the border from Spain into France. The border guard was shifty until he saw David's passport, beamed, "Cardiff Arms Park!" and let us through with no further bother.