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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Richard Bona - the jazz griot

Bona001Richard Bona is a jazz musicican and bassist, was born in October 28, 1967 in Minta, in eastern Cameroon, into a family of musicians.
His grandfather was a singer (griot) and percussionist, and his mother was a singer. Therefore, he learned music at a very young age. At 4 years old, he started to play the balafon. At the age of 5, he was already performing in his village's church. Not being wealthy, Bona made many of his own instruments: including flutes and guitars (with cords strung over an old motorcycle tank).
His talent was quickly noticed, and he was often invited to perform at festivals and ceremonies. He learned to play the guitar at age 11. In 1980, he assembled his first ensemble for a French jazz club in Douala. The owner befriended him and helped him discover jazz music and Jaco Pastorius in particular. Inspired by Pastorius, Richard Bona switched his focus to the electric bass.
Bona emigrated to Germany at the age of 22, but moved on to France, where he furthered his studies in music.
Bona0002In France, he regularly played in jazz clubs and performed with the likes of Jacques Higelin, Didier Lockwood, Manu Dibango and Salif Keita.
In 1995, Richard left France and established himself in New York. There still, he works with artists like Larry Coryell, Michael and Randy Brecker and Steve Gadd.
His first album solo, Scenes of my life, was released in 1999. He has also been prominently featured in Jaco Pastorius Big Band albums, as well as many other albums by well-known American jazz musicians.
He is currently a professor of music at New York University and is performing with the Pat Metheny Group.

Bona0003Recorded Live in Paris (Maison de la Radio, Studio 105) by Radio France
Broadcast by 'France Inter' radio on March 7, 2004, 10:00 to 11:00 PM
in "Exterieurs Jazz" produced and presented by Julien Delli Fiori

01 - Swinga (Bona) 3:51
02 - Laisser parler (Canonge) 7:22
03 - Ebolo Stuff (Bona) 6:53
04 - Sowedi Na Wengue (Bona/Favarel) 9:39
05 - Hommage a Claude Nougaro - Cecile (Nougaro) 4:08
06 - Balakatun (Berthoumieux) 9:37
07 - Tedy Kalo (Bona) 3:36

Total time: 45'09"

Richard Bona: Bass, Vocals
Marc Berthoumieux: Accordion
Mario Canonge: Pianorichard bona - live in paris 2004
Etienne Stadwijk: Keyboards
Stephan Vera: Drums

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