Yonic: pertaining to a form that resembles female genitalia; a lady-version of ‘phallic’, if you will. Didn’t know that? You’re not alone. If you’re still reading after the words ‘female genitalia’, then welcome aboard.
photograph Bryony Jade Throup https://www.bryonyjadethroup.
The music of Yonic is born from the idea of celebrating ladies, their bits and most importantly promoting a sense of self-acceptance. An anti-folk singer-songwriter rooted in feminism, Yonic puts forth her own embarrassing truths to look you in the eye as if to say ‘hold your head up, lady, everyone’s body is just as gross and brilliant as yours.’ Her new album, Lips Unsealed, does not disappoint. The album itself took over two years to complete; it includes a love song to her armpit hair and a song called Smelly Fannies that champions an understanding of your body in its natural state. Aside from frank and downright necessary education, Alma, the face behind Yonic is a very skilled musician. Her story-telling is reminiscent of Lily Allen both in style and honest British accent; her fingerpicking style is lively enough to keep the pace of the songs interesting but not so far that you are distracted from what this bard of female anatomy is trying to say.
I saw Yonic play at the Bath Comedy Festival and become transfixed on the idea of female comedians and why there aren’t many. Christopher Hitchins argued that ‘one of the earliest origins of humour that we know about is in the mockery of authority […] so you could argue that when men get together to be funny and do not expect women to be there, or in on the joke, they are really playing truant and implicitly conceding who is really the boss.’ (‘Why Women Aren’t Funny’, Vanity Fair) And yet here she is, holding her own in a male-dominated playing field without mimicking the blokes – may the spirit of the wonderful Victoria Woods shine upon you, lady. My main question for Yonic was whether she’d incurred much heckling, and although she told me she has a pre-prepared heckle rap, the opportunity to use it is yet to present itself. ‘Thing is,’ she says, ‘because I’m only taking the piss out of myself, and I’m literally singing my most embarrassing truths there’s not much ammunition for conflict.’ Although, I for one, would love to see what happens to the man that heckles during her self-loving song about labia.
Photography Julia Squire http://www.juliasquire.com/
That’s not to suggest that the crowd is a bunch of angry women. There were plenty of men there too. No one is saying be a vegan, or how dare you own a razor? All you are being told is: hey, we all fart.
But if you think this album is simply about laughing then you’re missing the point. PMDD is actually a really beautifully written song, it exemplifies the musical unpredictability which Alma denotes to her influence from the Beatles. Not to mention, PMDD is an important subject which most people know very little about (it’s actually PMDD awareness month, get reading).
So while we think of candid male comedians laughing at the plain fact that the human form is a joke in itself; Yonic achieves this with astonishing beauty, honesty and smile that says ‘we’re both beautiful.’ Check it out and join me in the queue of people wanting to go for a pint with this lady.