Richard Bona

Genres: Jazz World
Decades: 1990s 2000s


28 October 1967, Minta, East Cameroon. Raised in a music-filled home where his mother and grandfather were singers and the latter was also a percussionist, Bona took an early interest in playing music. At the age of three he showed an aptitude for the balafon, even making his own instrument. He also sang and by the age of five was performing in public with his family in the village church. He continued to make his own instruments, among them wooden flutes and percussion instruments, eventually building a 12-string guitar. Bona’s abilities as a performer, singer and instrumentalist, led to a demand for his services and soon he moved to Douala where he discovered that he had the phenomenal gift of learning to play almost any instrument simply by watching other musicians. At the age of 11 he began his career as a professional musician. Two years later he was heard by the owner of a jazz club at a local hotel. Hired to form a band, Bona set about teaching himself...

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by Richard Bona
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