“If we opened persons up, we’d discover landscapes,” reported the French director Agnes Varda in 2009. Varda is a single of many artists, musicians and filmmakers from about the globe who impressed Tresor, the 3rd album by the Cornish-talking Welsh psychonaut Gwenno Saunders – and that quote is notably beloved to a musician dedicated to mapping out the intersection of land, heritage, identity and probable.
Like Gwenno’s final album, Le Kov, Tresor is published generally in Cornish – a language she figured out as an infant from her father, the Cornish poet Tim Saunders her socialist-choir-singing mom designed positive she was similarly fluent in Welsh. Le Kov imagined a cosmopolitan town of modern day-day myth, raised from beneath the waves like the revived Cornish tongue itself Tresor now journeys inward, into an inner daily life lived through Cornish.
To Gwenno, Cornish is not some exotic linguistic treasure, but the language of her childhood, of family members, of creativeness. She’s now teaching it to her son, and the songs on Tresor examine intuition, the unconscious and belonging. It’s a dreamier, gentler album than Le Kov or her Welsh-language debut, Y Dydd Olaf, leaning additional into spectral digital textures on tracks like “Keltek” and “Kan Me”.
The softer seems are animated by the refreshing innovative vitality Gwenno has identified in the female on the likes of “Anima”, fuzzy psych-rock with medieval leanings and a sinuous melody. Surrealist imagery hangs in the hazy air: a black horse, a shell, a woman’s torso, a ball of fire. “Duwes po Eva/Ow sevel a’th rag”, Saunders sings: “Is it a Goddess or Eve stood in entrance of you?”
From time to time the mystical archetypes of womanhood – the mom, the womb, the instinctual, the nurturing – can be restricting, but on this exploratory, visionary report, co-made by Saunders and her lover and collaborator Rhys Edwards, it does not truly feel that way. On the languid title observe – a musical fairy mound piled with layers of vocals, synth, piano and marimba – Gwenno asks (in Cornish): “Do you want a crown on your head and a woman at your toes?/Do I want to fill a home with all of my will and experience ashamed?” She miracles at the electricity of ineluctable intuition amid the drifting ghost’s aspiration that is “Men An Toll” – named for a established of holed, round, Freudian-discipline-working day standing stones around Penzance – but on opener “An Stevel Nowydh”, with a backbone of chiming indie, she’s a lot less instinctual, more analytical as she airily interrogates existence: “Is the overall deficiency of meaning an unavoidable component of getting?”
If Cornish is the language of interior philosophical enquiry, then the language of politics, for Gwenno, is Welsh a supporter of independence, she tackles hypocrisy and individualism dressed in nationalism’s outfits in “NYCAW” (whose title refers to an aged anti-getaway-dwelling slogan, “Nid Yr Cymru Ar Werth”, or “Wales is not for sale”). Sardonic, taunting write-up-punk with charming, liquid gothic guitar flourishing less than the thrum, it bemoans the commercialisation of Welsh identification. When it will come to neighborhood, she asserts, “the only issue that issues is adore”.
Wales, Cornwall and lands over and above are concretely present in the found seems that add a richness of detail all over, from the eldritch creak of a gate main to an iron-age settlement on Anglesey to the strings of a lodge-area piano in Vienna. And although this is the to start with album Gwenno has published whilst truly in Cornwall – in St Ives, compensated tribute to by the closing monitor, “Porth Ia” (its Cornish identify) – it maintains a polyglot discussion with international influences from Swedish artist Monica Sjöö to American hippie adventurer Eden Ahbez, in no way giving in to easy authenticity or essentialism. On the driving, sultry “Ardamm”, she addresses critics of her new position as a Welsh-born figurehead of the Cornish language (record figures signed up to Cornish classes following the launch of Le Kov). How prolonged, she asks, will they hold out to acquire the lead on their own? “Ple ‘ma dha vammyeth?” (“Where is your mom tongue?”)
Nevertheless the medium is no lengthier the information here however the that means of Tresor can not seriously be divorced from the language in which it is created, it is not about Cornish, but in it. Tresor’s interior landscape, equally community and world, invites us to take into account what vistas and upcoming paths we might type from our personal jumbled heritages and exactly where it is we could possibly obtain ourselves. Between the final sounds read on “Porth Ia” are the bells of Santa Maria Della Salute in Venice throughout the 2019 floods. “I want you to know”, Gwenno sings, “that when you arrive I will be below”.