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Richard Bona
Richard Bona
Richard Bona

Richard Bona
@ the Barbican Centre, London
16 November 2008

Click an image to enlarge.


Richard Bona was born in 1967 in the little village of Minta, East Cameroon. He grew up in a home filled with music: his grandfather and mother were singers. Bona built his own balafon after becoming fascinated with the instrument as a very young child and started to practice it eight to twelve hours a day.

At 5 years old, he began to perform in public, singing in the village church with his mother and sisters. He started to use his amazing and natural ability to learn any instrument only by watching it being played. The main problem was access to instruments in his village. Bona was therefore forced to learn to make his own, from wooden flutes to percussion instruments; he easily built everything he needed…well, not that easily. When it came to building a guitar he had trouble locating guitar strings. It would be the local bicycle shop that saved him. Bona was able to make guitar strings from bicycle brake cables!

So, was it thanks to the guitar with ‘very special strings’, Richard Bona was highly in demand to sing and play at baptisms, weddings, and church functions. The word of this prodigious young musician had spread throughout the village. He then moved to Douala and lived with his father. He began working as a musician, thinking that ‘the guitar was the hip instrument that you had to play’. He began playing gigs at 11 years old, replacing his homemade model by a professional-style guitar. He got a job playing guitar in bars at night time, making people dance… and the rest is now history…!

Richard Bona



tiki Scenes from my life Reverence Toto Bona Lokua



Click the Richard Bona's image below to see him @ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club, 2013...

Richard Bona @ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club (click to go to his page)

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