SXSW Review: Gwenno, March 16, Barracuda

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“My name’s Gwenno and this song’s about how much of a pain in the ass patriarchy is. For everybody.” That was an interesting way for Gwenno to introduce herself to the crowd, but it definitely made an impression. It also gave me some insight into Gwenno’s lyrical content, which also included such light topics for a Wednesday night as war crimes and revolution. She acknowledged though, that if people wanted, they could imagine that the songs were about something other than that because most likely wouldn’t understand the lyrics anyways.

You see, Gwenno Saunders, formerly of The Pipettes, is Welsh and so are all of her lyrics. Because of this, and because I didn’t really do much research before catching her show, I went in not knowing that her latest album, Y Dydd Olaf, is based on a Welsh science fiction novel in which robots are turning humanity into clones and the protagonist must communicate only in Welsh so as to avoid detection by his robot overlords. It’s an interesting concept and one which wouldn’t immediately be apparent upon first listen to her music without the background info. There’s a bit of a disconnect between the subject matter of her lyrics and the ethereal beauty of her voice and synth based music, though one that makes the songs all the more interesting.

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Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest

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