Five minutes with...Richard Bona

Five minutes with...Richard Bona

A powerful storyteller, a phenomenal bassist and a spellbinding vocalist, Richard Bona is one of the most important figures in world music today. A supremely versatile musician with a singular artistic vision, Bona has collaborated with the likes of Harry Belafonte, Tito Puente, Paul Simon, Pat Metheny, Mike Stern and George Benson, shaping the evolution of contemporary jazz with his unique brand of personal expression.

Ahead of his Australian tour later this month, we recently spoke with Richard about his greatest musical influences, some of his most memorable experiences on stage and what audiences can expect from his show in Melbourne.

What got you started in jazz?

Portrait of Tracy by Jaco Pastorius. The day I heard that record was the moment I decided to play jazz music.

Where does your musical inspiration come from?

I don’t know, I just happen to play music all the time and ideas just present themselves to me. I guess playing 8 different instruments helps too…

What are some of your favourite recordings?

There’s so many. Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, Innervisions by Stevie wonder…Mi tierra by Gloria Estefan...And of course mine…haha!

What influence does Cameroonian culture have on your music?

A lot…It’s actually the roots of all my music…I only use other combinations to embellish my roots…

What has been your most memorable experience on stage?

They are so many, but one that comes to my mind is playing for the first time at The Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in front of 17,000 people.

What advice would you give aspiring musicians?

Excellence comes from repetition…You want to be good at doing something, do it all the time.

What can audiences expect from your show in Melbourne?

The best and only the best…they better be ready!

Richard Bona Quintet
Cameroon / USA
Friday 29 May at 6:30pm & 9:00pm
Meryln Theatre, The Coopers Malthouse 

Artist-in-Residence at the Victorian College of the Arts during the 2015 Festival, Richard Bona will delve into his technique, improvisations and the inner workings of his craft in a free open workshop on Thursday 28 May at 11am.

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