Richard Bona in Belgrade: Musicology Barcaffè Sessions- spring part of the season

Musicology Barcaffè Sessions concert series will continue the successful season number 3 with the performance of Richard Bona, a bass player, singer and songwriter from Cameroon. Bona and his band will hold two concerts at the Bitefartcafe club on March 10 and 12. The bass player was honoured with the most important international awards, such as Grammy and the Victories du Jazz Award for the best international artist in 2004. We asked him to tell us more about himself and his performance in Belgrade.

PHOTO Richard Bona – © Jarasum Jazz Festival

You`re coming back to play in Belgrade for the first time, but you have already played in Novi Sad. What do you remember the most from your time in Serbia back then?

– I remember the crowd being very alive and present at the concert. I remember that I was surprised how great a fan base I have got there and I remember some great reactions in the crowd. Hope this time is going to be even better.

What is you first memory of music, how were you responding to it when you were child? I`ve read you were that impressed by music, that you improvised and built your own instruments as a little child.

– As long as I can remember my life, I remember music. My grandfather was a musician so my interest in music and natural gift, he taught me how to play and build my own instruments. This sort of a natural learning helped me a lot in my music study later on, because everything came easier for me. Of course, I practiced a lot. If somebody tells you different, they are lying.

Photo – Richard Bona & Mandekan Cubano 1 – © Rebecca Meek

You are known to be really caring of your fans. Any anecdotes to share about that? What does your fans mean to you?

– Fans are really important to me, and I always try to connect to them and hear them out, and take their opinion on my work. I can say they are the most important critiques for me. For example, there was a musician fan who wrote to me that I should try another harmony in one of my songs, and when I tried it, it sounded amazing, so I often play it like that now. I am lucky to have that kind of exchange with my fans.

Photo – Richard Bona 1- © Yassine Toumi

As a musician, how much focus do you put on writing lyrics for your songs? How does creative writing look like in your example? Do you first make sounds, then lyrics, or the lyrics comes first?

– I really cannot define creative process. It is a monster that cannot be tamed, and when it possesses you, you can only do what it wants. Sometimes it brings the lyrics first and sometimes, it is the music. The most important thing is to let go, and not limit yourself with boundaries.

As a Grammy winning artist, what do you think about awards and what do they mean to you?

– Awards really do not mean anything more than say my work has been noticed at that moment in time, which is a great thing. What they shouldn’t do is make you change your perspective and your approach to your art.

What do you expect from your upcoming performance in Belgrade?

– The audience is going to hear some great music and have lots of fun.

PHOTO Richard Bona – © Adam Hart

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