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Baker's Dozen

Found In Translation: Gwenno's Baker's Dozen
Ronnie Angel Pope , June 8th, 2022 11:00

Covering all things psychogeography and domesticity, Gwenno talks Ronnie Angel Pope through the albums that capture the atmosphere of the places and communities that matter to her


Test Dept & Brith Gof - Gododdin

Going to see Y Gododdin is my most arresting, impactful musical memory, and this al-bum is a record of that. I remember every single one of the concerts that my Dad took me to. It feels like loads, but in reality I probably went to about 6 in total, throughout my childhood. One of them, however, was Y Gododdin, in an old Ford factory on Rover Way. It was really dark and cold and it definitely wasn’t summer. There were lots of oil barrels, industrial sounds, naked people, flashing lights, in water, and fire. It was about the earliest poem in Welsh — the first poem, in which, in brief, we all got killed. It really had an impact on me in terms of my understanding of what a musical experience could be.

What I loved about it was how it conveyed the essence of the ‘industrial Celt’. It captured an important experience in both Cornwall and Wales, as both are industrialised, Brythonic na-tions. It presented Welsh history not as something quaint, lovely, and twinkly, but as some-thing deeply historical, intense, aggressive, and expressive. It’s about a literal battle, but it’s also about the fight that’s inside of you, and how this is very integral to Welsh and Cornish identity. The experience it translated was active rather than passive. This is a feeling that has stayed with me. It’s a feeling that you can fall back on when you're up against the wall… the feeling of the fire that can be tapped into creatively.

Musically, the industrial element, the poetry, and the Celtic embodiment, combined with the more aggressive expression of Welshness were things that I really related to. I felt this to be deeply important. Just as important as beautiful, lovely singing. Obviously, I love beauty, but I love the beauty in aggression too. Coming from South Wales, Test Dept & Brith Gof seemed to tie the 6th century to the city and to the now. It was an assault on the senses and I just loved it.