Music is everything for Richard Bona. “Music is the truth. It is so rational, that it teaches you a lot. I learned through music to not fear the difference, to even embrace the difference. The other thing music teaches us is that it goes beyond languages, beyond words. It is something that touches our spirit. Music is deeply spiritual”, says Richard Bona on this Jazz FM interview by Tanya Ivanova and Svetoslav Nikolov. He believes that music bears the essence of the perfect life: “If the lives of the human beings were the reflection of music, we would be living the perfect life. Because music is perfect.”
Richard Bona fell in love with music for it has its own language and a special way to reach out to people. He traces back his emotion for music to his childhood in a rural area in Cameroon where he didn’t have any other attractions – that allowed him to focus on music and to be more creative, to even make his own instruments. “I’ve been playing music since the age of 3 years old and I will be playing music all my life”, Richard Bona is definitive. Out of his childhood memories is the wisdom of his grandfather, an amazing percussion-player and singer, as Bona describes him: “Excellence comes with repetition.” Until this day Richard Bona hasn’t stopped playing music: “My mission here is to play music. I don’t do anything else. People think sometimes that it is boring. But I am having fun! I am having a lot of fun just spending the day in my studio. My mission is my dream. I am leaving my dream.”
The challenges Richard Bona faces, he overcomes with dedication. True to his roots, he still sings in his native language. “That’s where you get the power of music”, he explains. He wouldn’t bend, even if that means ending his contract with a record company: “I didn’t have a record company before, and I played music. If I don’t have a record company tomorrow, I will be playing music”. The breaking up with Columbia Records actually opened the road to a partnership with Pat Metheny, they both were so eager to fulfill. Richard Bona has more to illustrate the pressure that the music industry exercises, discouraging young talented musicians and making money out of artificial stars: “Music is really twisted. It’s becoming really hard for people like us. It’s becoming really hard to convey the clean spirit of the music to the community”.
Richard Bona will be performing at the A to JazZ Festival on 29 June. It will be his second concert in Bulgaria after he played here with Mike Stern. The musician, who started his journey in life in Cameroon, worked in France and the United States, is inspired by the contact with new places and different cultures: “When I travel a lot, it is to get some other essence to make my roots even more beautiful”, Richard Bona said on this interview that you can listen to by pressing the Audio button above.