Flipping between Xhosa and English with effortless dexterity, Moonchild Sanelly is unapologetically herself on ‘Phases’. Teeming with lush amapiano beats and rich gqom dance cuts, it’s a celebration of her home country, her sexual prowess and South Africa’s vibrant music scene. Self-described as “future-ghetto-funk”, her music is filled with fiery wit and emotional intelligence - her instantly-recognisable voice wrapping every track in sugary goodness. Opening number ‘Undumpable’ is filled with rolling drum patterns and rugged electronic rhythms, Sanelly mockingly outraged by her partner’s decision to end the relationship - “You’re going to fix this, right now / ‘Cause me, I ain’t going nowhere”. She stands firm - if anything is going to end, it’s going to be on her terms. This motif is documented in intimate detail throughout. The result is a project of two halves - weaving through the difficult stages of a relationship before celebrating her liberation on the dancefloor, casting aside her worries under the signature shakers and airy pads of amapiano’s worldwide domination. ‘Covivi’ has a hunger for the club, stirring up an anticipation of swaying among sweat-drenched bodies as pandemic restrictions kept ravers apart. Teaming up with fellow South African artist Sir Trill on ‘Soyenza’, the self-styled “president of the female orgasm” celebrates one night stands and sexual satisfaction under the sensual grooves of heady summer night skies. Similarly, the slinky ‘Strip Club’ is a “love letter to the hustlers, the strippers and the twerkers - a celebration of the continuously judged.” ‘Bird So Bad’ meanwhile longs for freedom and solitude, unrestrained by the cruelties of the world around her. “It’s about escape, about being free again”, she notes. Having reclaimed her identity, Moonchild Sanelly celebrates every aspect of herself in all her technicolour glory.
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South Africa’s Moonchild Sanelly is a walking, talking message of sexual liberation and female empowerment. With new album ‘Phases’, she’s trying to change the world, one female orgasm at a time.
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