Gwenno Saunders

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Gwenno Saunders
The Pipettes - Gwennoi.jpg
Background information
Birth name Gwenno Mererid Saunders
Born (1981-05-23) 23 May 1981 (age 34)
Cardiff, Wales
Genres Electropop, indie pop
Occupation(s) Musician, singer, dancer
Years active 2002–present
Labels Peski Records, Heavenly Recordings
Associated acts The Pipettes, The Boy Least Likely To, Pnau, Elton John

Gwenno Mererid Saunders (born 23 May 1981) is a Welsh musician and dancer. She is best known as a singer and keyboardist with The Pipettes, where she was known by the name Gwenno Pipette. She now performs as a solo artist.


Saunders was born in Cardiff.[1] She is the daughter of noted Cornish poet and linguist Tim Saunders[2] and Lyn Mererid, who is a member of the choir Côr Cochion Caerdydd and works as a translator. When she was growing up, her father spoke Cornish, her mother spoke Welsh.

From the age of 5 she attended the Seán Éireann-McMahon Academy of Irish Dance[3] and was a cast member of Michael Flatley's productions of Lord Of The Dance[4] 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.[5][6][7]

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 EPs, Môr Hud[8] (2002) and Vodya[9] (2004)[10] 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 (2005–2010)[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 and solo under the name Ani Glass.

Post-The Pipettes (2010-present)[edit]

Gwenno has toured as a synth player with Pnau and Elton John in 2012.[11][12]

In June 2012, Saunders released a 5-song Welsh language EP called "Ymbelydredd", available on hand-painted cassettes on Peski Records.[13]

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

She released her first solo full-length album, the Welsh-language "Y Dydd Olaf", in October 2014 on Peski Records.[14] In May 2015 Gwenno was signed to Heavenly Recordings. The label re-released her debut album in July.[15][16] The album won Best Welsh Album at the 2015 National Eisteddfod[17] and in September 2015 was nominated for the 2014-2015 Welsh Music Prize.[18]

Gwenno also currently co-produces and co-hosts a Welsh radio show on Cardiff Radio titled "Cam O'r Tywyllwch" ("A Step Away from the Darkness") with her Peski Records colleagues.[19] The team was also behind the CAM '15 music festival in Cardiff, which took place in April 2015 and featured the first live performance in over 20 years by Welsh music post-punk pioneers Datblygu.[20]

Solo discography[edit]


  • Released: 2012
  • Format: Digital Download, Limited Edition Cassette
  • Label: Peski Records

Y Dydd Olaf

  • Released: 27/10/2014
  • Label: Peski Records
  • Producer: Rhys Edwards

Y Dydd Olaf (re-release)

  • Released: 24/07/2015
  • Label: Heavenly Recordings
  • Producer: Rhys Edwards


  1. ^ "Sweeping The Nation: A Friendly Chat With... Gwenno". 2006-07-07. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ "Dotty about The Pipettes". Manchester Evening News. 2007-02-15. Retrieved 2015-08-29. 
  5. ^ [3][dead link]
  6. ^ [4][dead link]
  7. ^ "Gwenno » Artists". WOMAD. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  8. ^ "iTunes - Music - Môr Hud - EP by Gwenno". 2002-01-01. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  9. ^ "iTunes - Music - Vodya - EP by Gwenno". 2003-01-01. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  10. ^ "Cymru'r Byd - Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru 2003". BBC. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  11. ^ "Amelia's Magazine | Ymbelydredd EP: An interview with Gwenno Saunders". 2012-09-06. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  12. ^ "Gwenno". Peski. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  13. ^ "GWENNO — Home". Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  14. ^ [5][dead link]
  15. ^ Cerys Kenneally (11 May 2015). "Welsh singer Gwenno signs to Heavenly and releases sci-fi inspired track, "Patriachaeth"". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  16. ^ "HVNLP118 Gwenno ‘Y Dydd Olaf’ // Heavenly Recordings". 2015-06-22. Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  17. ^ "2015 News | The National Eisteddfod of Wales". 2015-08-08. Retrieved 2015-09-06. 
  18. ^ "Nominees Archives". Welsh Music Prize. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  19. ^ "Cam o'r Tywyllwch | Free Listening on SoundCloud". Retrieved 2015-08-13. 
  20. ^ "CAM '15". Retrieved 2015-08-13. 

External links[edit]