Gwenno

Mistletone proudly presents Welsh-Cornish musician Gwenno returning to Australia for her first shows since 2019, to perform her stunningly atmospheric live score for Mark Jenkin’s BAFTA-winning film BAIT; and to give audiences a glimpse at her much-anticipated new album, due for release in mid-2022, with a string of solo shows.

GWENNO TOUR DATES:

Saturday Jan 22 – MONA FOMA, Launceston
: solo show. tickets / info here.
Tuesday Jan 25 – ACMI, MelbourneBAIT live score. tickets / info here
Friday Jan 28 – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine: BAIT live score + solo show. tickets / info here
Saturday Jan 29 – MONA FOMA, Hobart: BAIT live score. tickets / info here.
Friday Feb 4 – City Recital Hall, Sydney: BAIT live score + solo show. tickets / info here

Gwenno Saunders is a renowned sound artist, composer, DJ and radio presenter. Political, feminist and passionate about the preservation of the Welsh and Cornish languages, she is charting her own defiant course, producing brilliant music that’s free of commercial shackles. Having performed the BAIT live score at Brighton Festival and End of the Road UK, Gwenno also recently created and performed a new music score of Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru (National Theatre of Wales), and remixed Manic Street Preachers and Paul Weller. In 2015, Gwenno won the Welsh Music Prize for her groundbreaking Welsh and Cornish language album, Y Dydd Olaf. Her 2018 follow up, Le Kov, was performed exclusively in Cornish (her first language) – and so the stars aligned, when Mark Jenkin asked her to be part of his extraordinary Cornish film.

click below to watch/share the trailer for BAIT:

Winner of a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut, Jenkin filmed BAIT in his native Cornwall on a vintage 16mm camera using monochrome Kodak stock. Deliberately using archaic cinematic techniques to tell a very modern story of culture clash and economic crisis in a Cornish fishing village, BAIT is a humorous, yet poignant film which will resonate with any community dealing with the impacts of gentrification and unwelcome change.

Gwenno’s electric soundscape for BAIT weaves synth loops, guitar drones and live vocals, with accompaniment by renowned Canberra experimental artist Sia Ahmad. In a statement, Gwenno said: “I’m looking forward to performing our live score to BAIT in some beautiful Australian venues, creating an ambient sonic adventure, mixing ancient, living Celtic languages with electronic textures.” 

Hailed by The Guardian as “one of the defining British films of the decade”BAIT centres on the tension between a struggling fishing community and the influx of holidaymakers who have changed the face of the area. Modern-day Cornish fisherman Martin is struggling to buy a boat while coping with family rivalry and the influx of London money, Airbnb and stag parties to his harbour village. The summer tourism season brings simmering tensions between the locals and newcomers to boiling point, with tragic consequences. 

“What Gwenno did was take the film in ways that I wasn’t able to take it in,” said Mark Jenkin  in conversation with directorsnotes.com“Not just technically or musically but thematically. I think she really transformed Martin at times into a mythical godlike figure. She also mythologised the physical processes of fishing… turned them into something that was almost like a spiritual moment, which I loved. There were moments where I almost felt like standing up out of my seat, not to applaud, just through a physical reaction to the film.”

Gwenno’s accompanist for the BAIT live scores, Sia Ahmad uses guitar, keyboard, voice and electronics to create idiosyncratic sounds, most recently her new album Facade; along with sound design for dance, theatre, installation pieces and contemporary chamber composition, inspired by 20th-century avant-classical works, Indian raga form and minimalist electronic music. Gwenno and Sia Ahmad share a magical and intuitive capacity for music as a language of atmosphere and storytelling. Together, their live score performance forBAIT will bring new, emotionally potent dimensions to this tour de force of social realism.

Also not to be missed are Gwenno’s solo performances of her own crystalline music, which comes highly recommended for fans of BroadcastCate Le Bon and Stereolab. Gwenno’s latest solo album Le Kov swirled with ancient myths, modern themes and retro-futuristic synth lines tumbling over Krautrock and pop rhythms. Recorded entirely in Cornish, the language she learned as a child, Gwenno expounds on the joy of singing in a language that only 600 people in the world are supposed to be fluent in: “Tonally,” she says, “Cornish is a dark language, very close to Breton, a lot more Zs and Ks and Vs, which gives it a very different texture. It probably reflects the harsh landscape of Cornwall. And it’s almost like an emotional shield. Singing in Cornish, I thought, ‘Wow, no one understands me!’ I can get lost, and everyone else has to get lost, because what else can they do? It allows me to escape and find freedom in music. There’s something magical about that.

Gwenno’s Australian tour is supported by the UK/Australia Season Patrons Board, the British Council and the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season.