Richard Bona, “The African Sting” has released his first album with the Afro-Cuban band “Mandekan Cubano”.
Titled “Heritage”, the album traces the roots of Cuban music back to their origins in the Mandekan empire of the 15th century and earlier, before the slave trade and colonization split Sundiata’s unified kingdom into so many parts.
The music explores the alchemy of African rhythms in Cuba. This may seem ambitious, but sounds as natural and effortless as anything Bona does; together with the Mandekan Cubano, he has carefully crafted a fusion of sounds that merge cultures together through their ability to speak the universal language of music.
Bona’s seemingly effortless voice, fierce skills on the bass, unique songwriting/arranging expertise and ability to learn just about any instrument simply from watching, position him as a rare African artist to have established an unscalable reputation on an international platform.
Bona, who is originally from Cameroon, remains true to his roots, with African rhythms reflected in each of his previous seven albums.
His first three albums, “Scenes from My Life”, “Reverence” and “Munia” display his unique approach to storytelling through sounds.
Seeking inspiration from his origins, the themes of Bona’s albums address international issues which mirror his desire of using music to take a stance on issues affecting the oppressed.
As an artist with a purpose, he expanded into new musical territories and teamed up with Congolese star, Lokua Kanza and Antillais singer/composer Gerald Toto to create the 2004 collective, “Toto, Bona, Lokua” on which Bona wrote four tracks.
Bona was recognized at the Victoires du Jazz Awards where he won the trophy for “Best International Artist of 2004″.
The prestigious award confirmed his ability to appeal to a multitude of audiences ranging from jazz, pop, bossa nova, traditional, afro-beat and funk.
In 2005, Bona guest appeared on Mario Canonge’s album “Rhyzome” and contributed to the soundtrack for Pascal Plisson’s film “Massai, les guerriers de la pluie.”
He also received the prestigious SACEM Jazz Award (Grand Prix Jazz SACEM) in 2012 for the Jazz Grand Prize.
Additionally, his certified Gold 2013 album, “Bonafied”, demonstrates a fusion of cultures which he is continuously developing into a new album that will be toured internationally.
With numerous awards, performances, and years of expertise, Bona has become one of the most accomplished and sought-after musicians of this generation.
The “Heritage” CD will be available in the U.S. in September 16. The digital album was released worldwide earlier this summer.