Best Of The Last (Anthology: 1995-2015)

Monique Bingham

House Afrika
HAR201608 | 2016-07-01  
'Best Of The Last' is the definitive overview of Monique's massive contribution to soulful vocal house music, and it's been personally selected.

Monique Bingham has been responsible for some of the most poignant house music of the past two decades. A serial collaborator, Bingham is joined on these two discs by the likes of Ralf GUM, Blue Six, Louie Vega, Quentin Harris and Kerri Chandler.

The 26 tracks range from deep to disco, down-time to peak-time, but all share a soulful sensibility and agile song-writing style that's virtually unmatched in modern dance music.

This is no surprise given Monique's pedigree. She first shone in 1995 in acid jazz band Abstract Truth. Recorded in Francois K's legendary Axis Studios, the act enjoyed critical acclaim when Gilles Peterson's pioneering UK label Talkin' Loud released the cut 'Get Another Plan' and five ultra rare mixes. House anthem 'We Had A Thing' soon followed and both are included here.

Monique's penchant for painstaking lyrics and breath-taking delivery was subsequently employed by the likes of Blue Six ('Pure'), Sir Piers ('Don't You Love Me'), Studio Apartment ('Flight') and Quentin Harris ('Poor People), but it was 2008's 'Kissing Strangers' with Ralf GUM that seriously elevated her profile.

A soulful house benchmark, the tune was the most downloaded of the year on house music DJ's holy grail, Traxsource. That same year, music impresario John 'Jellybean' Benitez who, as a producer, played a major role in Madonna's success - recognized her lyrical ability and signed her to his publishing house.

In 2011 her adoring South African fans got to see Monique up close at the 12th Cape Town International Jazz Festival, where she performed her first self-produced single 'You.Me.World'. Reinforcing her status as one of the country's most respected underground artists - and possibly its favourite vocalist - Monique subsequently toured SA, including Johannesburg, Durban, and even Botswana and Lesotho.

Then she became even more prevalent in the Mzansi mainstream. 'Take Me To My Love', her delectable 2012 collab with Ralf GUM was a mega-smash, helping to push Ralf's House Afrika-released 'Never Leaves You' album into Gold territory and earning her a Metro FM Awards performance. She also helped DJ Pepsi snag the House Album of the Year Award at the same ceremony.

It's Monique Bingham's embrace of local sound aesthetics that have led to her meteoric rise. Pepsi and DJ Christos appear on this collection's tracklist, as do Chymamusique, who remixes her terrific 'Bloody Lucky'. She also recently penned a track and sang back-up for jazz legend Hugh Masekela with Ralf GUM for his sophomore album.

It's fitting then that this 'Best of the Last' showcases an exclusive new collabo with the artist who's repping South African house to the world, Black Coffee. 'It don't get deeper' Than the bottom of Africa,' Bingham sings.

Like all of her work, it's assured and authentic story-telling, wrapped up in classy, kicking beats.

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