Cameroonian virtuoso talks new projects and singing your bass notes
Exclusive video interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
March 9, 2020
By David Sands
Sometimes referred to as “The African Sting,” Richard Bona has a special knack for manifesting both virtuosity and accessibility in his music. That’s a combination that’s helped the Cameroonian-born multi-instrumentalist win the hearts of critics and fans around the world. Known for his innovative solos, beautiful singing and distinctive blending of jazz, Afro-beat and other musical traditions, he’s made a name for himself as one of the most respected bassists out there today.
His remarkable skills and sensibilities have allowed him to work with a slew of jazz greats including Branford Marsalis, Mike Stern, Joe Zawinul, George Benson and the Brecker Brothers, as well as artists like Bobby McFerrin, Chaka Khan, John Legend and Harry Belafonte (with whom he served as a music director for several years). Over the years, Bona has also won numerous honors including a Grammy (for his work on the 2002 Pat Metheny Group album, Speaking of Now), Antonio-Carlos-Jobim Award from the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Taiwanese Golden Melody Award. In addition to touring and recording for other artists, he’s also an accomplished solo artist who’s released eight of his own albums, most recently 2016’s Heritage (a collaboration with Cuban band Mandekan Cubano).
FBPO’s Jon Liebman had the joy of speaking with Bona about his early musical memories, love of Jaco Pastorius, new signature Markbass bass guitars and why he thinks it’s so important to sing notes out loud.
Watch our interview with Richard!
See Jon’s blog, with key takeaways from this interview, here.