Gwenno talks to Huw Stephens | Festival of Voice

Female-led new commissions are at the heart of this year’s Festival of Voice programme. Created by Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff’s biennial international arts festival is back for its second edition, igniting the city with powerful voices from 7 – 17 June. In this series, we meet the voices behind this year’s new creations. Here, Huw Stephens speaks to Welsh psych-pop singer, sound artist, DJ and radio presenter Gwenno about her one-off specially commissioned performance of Edrica, celebrating the life and work of patchwork artist and poet Edrica Huws…


This new performance sees Gwenno celebrate the life and work of patchwork pioneer and poet Edrica Huws, through electronica, voice and visuals. The performance will explore the impact of motherhood on creativity, and the parallels between creating modern electronic music using found sound and the ritual of patchwork stitching, accompanied by animation by Tad Davies.

Edrica Huws (1907-1999) graduated from the Royal College of Art as a mural painter. Living in a house with a growing family, the inspiration came as much from her wanting to develop and challenge herself as an artist as it did out of the practicalities of domestic life. Edrica completed her first work at 51 and enjoyed international acclaim towards the end of her life.

In the modern era, and within a musical context there are parallels to be made between stitching and creating electronic music. Both are approached with a meticulous eye/ear for detail and can fit within a domestic life setting (particularly in the context of laptop music). Having access to a computer has freed women to connect artistically to the modern creative world from their homes, much in the same way that Edrica Huws found her path towards artistic freedom by utilising the cloth and thread that surrounded her.

“I want to continue exploring things sonically and thematically, and I think that the themes that I’ve honed in on I feel really excited about, and I want to develop those ideas. I instinctively write pop songs, and it’s about working away and developing the sound and structures and trying to be playful with it. I want to push the boundaries of what I do.”


Friday 15 June, 7.30pm
Wales Millennium Centre (Weston Studio)
Tickets £12
029 2063 6464

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John Lavin reviews Gwenno Saunders’ musical performance of Edrica Huws’ poetry as part of Cardiff’s Festival of Voice.