A few months ago I was happily reunited with Binisa Bonner from Ruby and the Vines after our panel discussing mixed race heritage at the WOW festival. It was lovely to catch up and we spoke about her Congolese background, culture, music and all things African before she invited us to her up-coming ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ launch.
Ruby and The Vines are a crazy fusion of rock, jazz, afro-beat and reggae group, led by vocalist/bassist Binisa and band mates; Greg Sanders (guitarist) and Ben Assiter (drummer). The success of their 2011, ‘Red Storm’ EP allowed for national radio play at BBC Radio 1, Xfm and Jazz FM Live and live performances at Glastonbury and Secret Garden Party festival. Now the band have set their eyes on bigger dreams with the release of their Nirvana cover of ‘Heart-Shaped Box’.
Pre- Ruby and The Vines, Binisa told me she attended The Brit School of performing Arts in South London, which saw the rise of many well known British artists including Amy Winehouse, Adele and Leona Lewis. After leaving Brit school, she went on to study Music at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), which was quiet refreshing to hear as many Brit-Grads go on to mainstream pop or over theatrical/spirit-finger shows. .. phew!
While catching up with Binisa backstage at her official ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ single launch at The Vortex, Dalston, she mentioned dropping the bass and focusing on her singing; 'It can be quiet restricting singing and playing the bass at the same time, it’s difficult to move around a lot’. But with only a handful of female bass players in the game such as Shingai Shoniwa (from Noisette), she thought it was important to carve out a space for women in the industry and continue performing with the bass.
I felt that Heart-Shaped Box deviated from the bands usual jazzy tunes and played on a more grunge, eclectic and minimalistic groove, and from hearing the original cover I definitely know which one I prefer.
‘Heart-Shaped Box’ EP can be downloaded on here and for more information head to their website at www.rubyandthevines.com. We’re also happy to say that Binisa will be performing live at our SBA: ‘Flight Club’ launch in 25th May at the Bussey Building... so watch this space.