Gwenno Saunders

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Gwenno Saunders
Gwenno Saunders performing live at the Echoplex in Los Angeles, CA on 25 October 2007.
Background information
Birth name Gwenno Mererid Saunders
Born (1981-05-23) 23 May 1981 (age 33)
Cardiff, Wales
Genres Electropop, pop
Occupations Singer, Dancer
Years active 2002–present
Associated acts The Pipettes
Website Soundcloud

Gwenno Mererid Saunders[1] (born 23 May 1981) is a Welsh musician and dancer. Since she was born, her father spoken Cornish with her, her mother Welsh and as a family, they would speak in Gaelic.[2] She is best known as a singer and keyboardist with The Pipettes, where she was known by the name Gwenno Pipette. She also performs as a solo artist.


Saunders was born in Cardiff,[3] and is the daughter of noted Cornish poet and linguist Tim Saunders[4] and Lyn Mererid who is a member of the well-known Welsh socialist choir, Côr Cochion Caerdydd and works as a translator. From the age of five she attended the Seán Éireann-McMahon Academy of Irish Dance[5] and was a cast member of Michael Flatley's productions of Lord Of The Dance[6] and Feet of Flames by the age of 17, playing a lead role in a Las Vegas production of the former. In 2001 she had a role in the Welsh language soap opera Pobol y Cwm on S4C, for whom she would later host her own programme Ydy Gwenno'n Gallu...?. She is fluent in Welsh and Cornish[7][8][9]

Music career[edit]

Pre-The Pipettes (2002–2004)[edit]

In the years before she joined The Pipettes, she had been a solo electropop singer, mostly in the Welsh and Cornish languages, releasing two solo EP's, Môr Hud[10] (2002) and Vodya[11] (2004)[12] Saunders represented Cornwall in the Alternative Eurovision Song Contest, 2003, and won the People's Choice Award for her performance of "Vodya". In December 2004 Gwenno filmed the song 'Ysolt y'nn Gweinten' by Celtic Legend for Classic FM TV. It is claimed to be the first video produced in the Cornish language, the text having been written by her father Tim Saunders with music by Cornish composer and ex Gary Numan keyboard player Chris John Payne.

The Pipettes (2005–present)[edit]

Gwenno joined The Pipettes in April 2005 after founding member Julia left. She is most notable for her lead vocals on the single "Pull Shapes" and the chorus of "Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me". She has more recently posted solo material to her Myspace page, and made a free download of a mini album titled U & I available in October 2007. In April 2008, Gwenno's younger sister Ani joined the Pipettes, after the departure of singers Rosay and RiotBecki. Ani now also releases music with the band The Lovely Wars.[13]

In June 2012, Saunders released a 10-song Welsh language EP called "Ymbelydredd", available on hand-painted cassettes on Peski Records.[14]

Gwenno appears on the 2013 album by The Boy Least Likely To, The Great Perhaps, contributing vocals to the track, "It Could Have Been Me."


External links[edit]