Richard Bona

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Richard Bona
Richard Bona in 2009.jpg
Bona performing in 2009
Background information
Birth name Bona Pinder Yayumayalolo
Born (1967-10-28) October 28, 1967 (age 46)
Minta, Cameroon
Genres Jazz fusion, jazz
Occupations Musician, composer
Instruments Bass guitar, double bass, percussion, vocals, guitar, balafon
Labels Universal Music, Columbia, Sony, Verve, GRP
Associated acts Pat Metheny Group, Zawinul Syndicate, Mike Stern

Richard Bona (born October 28, 1967 in Minta, Cameroon) is a jazz bassist and musician. His actual African name, as he said during a live performance with Bobby McFerrin in Montreal, is Bona Pinder Yayumayalolo.

Early life[edit]

Bona was born into a family of musicians, which enabled him to start learning music from a young age. His grandfather was a griot – a West African singer of praise and storyteller – and percussionist, and his mother was a singer. At 4 years old, Bona 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 aged just 13, he assembled his first ensemble for a French jazz club in Douala.[1] The owner befriended him and helped him discover jazz music, in particular that of Jaco Pastorius, which inspired Bona to switch his focus to the electric bass.


Bona emigrated to Germany at the age of 22 to study music in Düsseldorf,[1] 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. In New York he played bass guitar with artists like Joe Zawinul, Larry Coryell, Michael and Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, George Benson, Branford Marsalis, Chaka Khan, Bobby McFerrin, and Steve Gadd.

In 1998, Richard was the Musical Director on Harry Belafonte's European Tour.

His debut solo album, Scenes from 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 as a percussionist/vocalist.

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

He held a professorship of jazz music at New York University.[2]


Richard Bona, 3 August 2006

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications


Scenes from My Life
  • Released: September 7, 2001
  • Label: Columbia Jazz
Munia (The Tale) 90
Toto Bona Lokua
(with Gerald Toto and Lokua Kanza)
  • Released: October 2, 2005
  • Label: Universal Music France
118 81 41 10
The Ten Shades of Blues
  • Released: October 19, 2009
  • Label: Universal Jazz France
116 49
  • Released: April 22, 2013
  • Label: Universal Jazz France
159 162 33
"—" denotes a release that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
Bona Makes You Sweat
  • Released: March 7, 2008
  • Label: Universal Jazz France

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details
Kaze ga Kureta Melody
  • Released: 2000[9]
  • Label: Columbia Jazz

As guest artist[edit]


Album Year Main Artist
An Evening with Harry Belafonte and Friends 1997 Harry Belafonte
Voices 2001 Mike Stern
Beyond Words 2002 Bobby McFerrin
Live in Montreal 2005 Bobby McFerrin
Who Let the Cats Out? 2006 Mike Stern
Moyo 2007 Keiko Matsui
Kosmo 2009 Maria Markesini
Mwaliko 2010 Lionel Loueke
All Over the Place 2012 Mike Stern


  1. ^ a b "Biography: Richard Bona". RFI music. October 2010. Retrieved November 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Jazz Faculty: Richard Bona". New York University. Archived from the original on July 5, 2013. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ " - Discographie Richard Bona" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b " - Discographie Richard Bona" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  5. ^ " - Discografie Richard Bona" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ Peak chart positions in Poland:
  7. ^ "Richard Bona | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Gold certification awards". Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved January 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Kaze ga Kureta Melody". Retrieved September 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Richard Bona - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]