A Grammy-award winning musician from Cameroon, also dubbed “African Sting”, Richard Bona and his five-member band will perform on March 10th and 12th at the Musicology Barcaffe Sessions in Belgrade’s BitefArtCafe, followed by a performance by the unique American bass player, Nik West on March 26th.
Bona Pinder Yayumayalolo, which is the real name of Richard Bona, was born in Minta, Cameroon, 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, as his mother was a singer. When he was four years old, Bona started to play the balafon. At the age of five, 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 the age of 11, and in 1980, aged just 13, he assembled his first ensemble for a French jazz club in Douala. 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 played and collaborated with world-famous musicians like John Legend, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Steve Gadd, Mike Stern and others.
Nik West, one of the most striking bass players to come from the United States, is due to perform at BiterArtCafe on March 26th. Nik has collaborated with such musicians as Quincy Jones, the late Prince, John Meyer, Macy Gray and Dave Stewart from Eurythmics.
West was born in Phoenix, Arizona. It was there that her father T. West taught her how to play the rhythm guitar when she was 13-years-old. West’s family includes her sisters (keys, drums, violin, and guitar) who were her first band and singing act, and an older brother, a few of which she still records with today.
Though she began her musical journey playing the guitar, she discovered the bass in high school while listening to Michael Jackson’s “You Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”.
She has been featured in Bass Musician Magazine and Bass Player, Bass Quarterly Germany, and Bass Magazine Japan. Fender offered her an artist endorsement. She was also one of the first musicians to play Fender’s first 6-string bass. West’s was selected to endorse SWR’s Black Beauty Amplifiers. The photo of West that is featured in the SWR advertisement was hand selected by legendary bassist Marcus Miller.