Ever since his solo debuts in 1999, Richard Bona has defended the idea of music that’s universal: generous and accessible to all.
Richard was playing the balafon by the time he was four, and then he taught himself to play the guitar. Later, in the capital of Douala, a jazz-club owner played him records by bassist Jaco Pastorius; Richard decided he’d teach himself to play the bass as well. In 1989 he went to Europe, living in Germany for a while before moving to France to complete his bass education. In 1995 Richard went to New York. For the next few months he visited the city’s famous jazz clubs and worked with Michael and Randy Brecker, Pat Metheny, Larry Coryell, Mike Stern, Steve Gadd, Joe Zawinul, even singer Harry Belafonte.
The musician found his audience immediately: his brio as a fluid instrumentalist made everything seem easy, and his slender singing-voice had real melody; coupled with these musical talents were his gifts as a natural showman, for Bona appeared to be born for the stage. Above all, his compositions naturally took in different sources: Africa, jazz, fusion… Bona was still highly sought-after as an instrumentalist, and he regularly received calls from some of the greatest musicians.