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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


Datblygu - 1985-1995

Datblygu really resonated with me when I went and joined a band from Brighton called The Pipettes. Datblygu were a band that I listened to a lot in the van. Dave Edwards’ lyrics are so brutally honest and they still resonate now. When you listen to him, you just say “exactly.” When you’re from a minority culture, oftentimes you don’t want to say anything bad about that culture because you’re aware that everyone else is already attacking it. You don’t want to join in, because you don’t want to confirm any of the arguments that are already being made against it. But Datblygu weren’t afraid of calling out the bits of Welsh culture that were really shit, particularly in the ‘80s and ‘90s and in rural Wales.

What Dave’s lyrics do is give you the confidence to point the finger at yourself. Something Wales does quite a lot, when something isn’t very good, is keep quiet. If you get a muted re-sponse to anything, that’s a tactical inference… you just kind of know. We’re so caught up with not wanting to offend. There is a real politeness to our culture, which Dave cuts through com-pletely. He articulates frustration in a way that is so true that you can’t argue with him. I’m such a huge fan of [Datblygu multi-instrumentalist] Pat Morgan as a musician, who is a mas-sive deal for artists in Wales. The discordancy of their sound — that lo-fi, post-punk, uncom-promising sound that’s just a kick, a snare, a slightly out of tune guitar, with the voice of truth over the top, telling you how it is. There’s a simplicity to Datblygu that’s very direct. They are a reassuring voice, telling you that you’re right to scrutinise your existence.

We had the honour of putting Datblygu on at a festival at the Wales Millennium Centre, in 2015. It was their first gig in twenty-odd-years. Their creative relationship was incredible… just to witness that camaraderie and gentleness between them. Dave was such a kind and generous person.