I HAVE always wanted to make an album in Cornish,” says Gwenno Saunders.

It’s not a line you’d hear from many songwriters, but then Gwenno has spent the last five years doing things in a fashion that is pretty far from the norm.

Her 2014 album Y Dydd Olaf was sung almost entirely in the Welsh language and for follow-up Le Kov, released to positive reviews two weeks ago, she turned her tongue to Cornish. It might seem a peculiar, even perverse move but after an inspection of Gwenno’s background it makes perfect sense.

Her father is one of the few people to still speak Cornish, which rubbed off on his daughter as she was growing up. Meanwhile, she interacted with her mother in Welsh. It was another – newer – family member that partly prompted Le Kov.

“I had a baby and started talking to him in Cornish,” says Gwenno, who spent three years living in Brighton during her time in pop group The Pipettes. “When I started to learn more about the history of it I realised how it had shaped me over the years.

“There’s a progressive element to wanting to revive a language and bring it back to life and I was excited by that.”

Gwenno left school at the age of 16, which she gives as a reason for her “academic” approach to the new album. She conducted copious research not just about Cornish identity but also the trends of language in general over the last few centuries. She’s full of theories about rhetoric and its role in society.

“In government there’s an idea that if your language isn’t beneficial to business or commerce there is no use for it. But I feel lucky to have been brought up with a language that makes you work out why you speak it.

“If you speak a language that everyone speaks it would never cross your mind to break it down to its foundations.”

Despite the enchanting melodies and diverse instrumentation of Le Kov, one obvious question about – or potential problem with – the album is the inaccessibility of its lyrics.

When the vast majority of your fanbase don’t understand the words you’re singing, is the appeal of the record compromised? “I’ve always loved that challenge since I started making these albums,” says Gwenno. “If the music is good enough it doesn’t matter.”

The songwriter makes a good point when she says that she listens “to so much music I don’t understand and that doesn’t hinder my enjoyment”.

Even the most discerning of music fans might not fully grasp the meaning of a Radiohead lyric, say, and Sigur Ros and Cocteau Twins have found huge success from their unorthodox verbal approach. In a sense, Gwenno’s method plays into her wider point about the ephemeral nature of language in general.

“If you go back past 100 years you realise how many empires have been and gone and how many languages have changed,” she says. “Nothing is permanent.”

And, of course, there’s a Brexit link. “As the UK goes through existential crisis it’s a good time to have a look around and see what the other perspectives are,” she adds.

Having lived in Kemp Town and Seven Dials during her relatively short stint in Brighton, Gwenno knows the city well. On her first night here she went to see two men dressed in alien costumes playing electronic music, and she realised she’d moved to a very different place to her native Wales. There are a few social reasons for this.

“Economically Wales is more poorer than the South East of England and there is less opportunity to be...flippant,” she says, thinking back to that night in Brighton. “I know homelessness in Brighton has got much worse recently, but pre-crash there was a definitely a sense of not having to worry about anything.”

Gwenno was disappointed at the demise of the Pipettes as she had relocated here from Wales to join them. On the upside, though, being in a group that she didn’t have creative control of taught her a crucial lesson. “If you compromise too much you end up in an odd place – which is why I think I’ve now gone to the other extreme.”

Indeed, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that this revelation lead to her two non-English solo records. She is relishing being able to express her identity and heritage through song.

“These last two albums have been me saying ‘this is what I’m really about’.”

Gwenno, Rialto Theatre, Brighton, Friday, March 16, 8pm. For tickets and more information visit rialtotheatre.co.uk or call 01273 725230