World Renowned Jazz Musician, Richard Bona, Dazzles Ghanaians
Cameroonian jazz sensation, Richard Bona on Saturday May 17, thrilled some Ghanaians with a dazzling performance at the National Theatre in Accra. The auditorium was filled with enthusiastic fans and music lovers from Accra’s middle and upper class, who seized the opportunity to treat themselves to a night of good music. Richard Bona did not disappoint as he performed his hits, one after the other, amidst thunderous applause and obvious admiration from patrons. Richard Bona is a jazz musician and bassist, who was born in October 28, 1967 in the town of Minta, in eastern Cameroon. Bona was born into a family of musicians, which enabled him to start learning music from a young age. His grandfather was a singer and percussionist, and his mother was a singer. At 4 years old, he started to play the balafon. At the age of 5, he began performing at his village 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. Bona began learning to play the guitar at age 11, and in 1980 at just 13, he assembled his first ensemble for a French jazz club in Douala. The owner befriended him and helped him discover jazz music including Jaco Pastorius whose work inspired Bona to switch his focus to the electric bass. Bona emigrated to Germany at the age of 22, soon relocating to France, where he furthered his studies in music. Whilst in France, he regularly played in various jazz clubs, sometimes with players such as Manu Dibango, Salif Keita, Jacques Higelin and Didier Lockwood. In 1995, Richard left France and established himself in New York, where he still lives and works. There he has had stints with artists like Larry Coryell, Michael and Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, 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 various top-tier jazz musicians. In 2002 Bona went on a world tour with the Pat Metheny Group and in 2005 he released his fourth album, Tiki, which included collaboration with John Legend on one track, entitled “Please Don’t Stop.” He currently holds a professorship of music at New York University.
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