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Richard Bona

United States

Born in Cameroon in 1967, the singer, multi-instrumentalist and bass-player Richard Bona is very much in demand as a player of jazz and world-music

More by user: lremy
Created: 28th Mar 2008
Modified: 28th Mar 2008
Professional Information
Professional Areas:
Universal Music / Columbia Records / Sony Records / Verve Records
Bassist, Double Bassist, Singer, Multi-Instrumentalist, Composer GRP Records
Working primarily in:
United States

Description of Work:

An Early Start

Bona was born in Minta, East Cameroon into a family of musicians, which enabled him to start learning music from a young age. His grandfather was a singer (griot) and percussionist, and his mother was a singer. By the age of 5 he was playing the balafon, performing at his village church with his handmade musical instruments. 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; by 13, he assembled his first ensemble for a French jazz club in Douala. The owner befriended him and helped him discover jazz music and, notably including Jaco Pastorius in particular, whose work inspired Bona to switch his focus to the electric bass.

Bona had the opportunity to emigrate to Germany at the age of 22, soon relocating to France, where he furthered his studies in music.

Soon after his arrival in Paris in 1989 he began playing with his fellow countryman Manu Dibango, Salif Keita from Senegal and the elite of French jazz-musicians like Didler Lockwood and Marc Ducret.

In 1995, Richard Bona left France and established himself in New York, where he still lives and works, where praises for his musical style are being sung from iconic figures like Chaka Kahn and jazz musicians like Joe Zawinul, Michael Brecker and Larry Coryell

Career- wise

Richard Bona sings in his own language Douala; his approach to music issimple: Play as often, with as many colleagues and in as many styles as possible.

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.

In 2005 Bona released his fourth album Tiki, which included a collaboration with John Legend on one track, entitled "Please Don't Stop."


  • 1999 : Scenes from my life Columbia Jazz USA

  • 2000 : Kaze Ga kureta Melody, Columbia Jazz USA

  • 2001 : Reverence, Columbia Jazz USA

  • 2003 : Munia: The Tale, Universal Music France

  • 2004 : Toto Bona Lokua, Universal Music France

  • 2005 : Tiki, Universal Music France

  • 2008 : Bona Makes You Sweat - Live, Universal Jazz France

Biographical Information
Richard Bona
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Oct/28/1967
Interests: Travelling, Studying. He currently holds a professorship of music at New York University.
  City: Manhattan
Website: http://www.bon...
Place of Origin: Cameroon

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