Cardiff-bred Gwenno Saunders survived ankle-twisting stints in two separate Michael Flatley productions, “Feet Of Flame” and “Lord Of The Dance,” as well as stints on a Welsh soap opera and as a Welsh-singing dance-pop star.
So when her classic-girl-group-themed outfit, The Pipettes, officially broke up after its fizzy “We Are The Pipettes” debut, the singer took it in ho-hum stride. And sure enough, the departure of drummer Joe Lean, as well as co-frontfoxes Rose Elinor Dougall and Rebecca “Riot Becki” Stephens did not pull the group’s plug. With mastermind Robert “Monster Bobby” Barry, Saunders recruited her sister Ani and kept The Pipettes banner flying with “Earth Vs. The Pipettes,” overseen by legendary Go Go’s/Human League producer Martin Rushent, whom she dragged out of retirement for the task.
And the band — which plays The City’s Rickshaw Stop on May 3 — has stayed true to its ABBA-sugary sensibilities.
“I was always a bit of an anomaly in Wales, because not a lot of people were making pop music there,” Saunders recalls. “And everybody was like ‘Oh my God! What are you doing? Why aren’t you doing something credible?’ Well, what’s not credible about making a pop song, really? My dance teacher would always play The Carpenters, and I’d listen and think that Karen Carpenter just had the most amazing voice. And with ABBA as well, music like that has been deemed naff and not cool to like, because it’s classically based, beautiful music that’s not trying to be hard or confrontational or aggressive. But I think we could all use a little bit more of that, to be honest!”
For more information, visit www.thepipettes.com.