‘Without music, I wouldn’t even be here’ | Richard Bona

Cameroon-born and Grammy-nominated guitarist Richard Bona speaks to us ahead of his second performance at the Malta Jazz Festival, which he will be re-visiting this year after his participation in the 2010 edition

Richard Bona: “Music is a never-ending school”
Richard Bona: “Music is a never-ending school”

Could you tell us a little bit about your early years? What kind of circumstances led you to pursue music as a career?

I was just born surrounded by musicians… My grandfather, my mother, and some of my uncles, were all musicians. Therefore I was not really pursuing a career – we were just having fun and celebrating life.

What did music mean to you as a child, and what does it mean to you now? What kind of lengths did you have to go to secure a full-time career in music?

Music meant everything to me, from day one. Without it I probably would not even be here. I never looked at this journey as a ‘career’: I am secure if I am playing. This is a passion to me, so everything I went through was great experience. And there are still plenty of experiences to come.

How would you describe your time in Paris and New York? Apart from the (apparent) shift in lifestyle, what kind of impact did moving to these places have on your music?

New York is great when it comes to music, Paris is great when it comes to lifestyle (gastronomy, culture, literature).

What are some of the most important developments of your musical career?

All of my albums, and all of my collaborations are important to me as they helped me learn more. Because this is what it all comes down to: learning, because music is a never-ending school that I’ll keep frequenting until the day that I die.

What do you make of the Malta Jazz Festival? Are you looking forward to performing there again?

I can’t wait to get to Malta. I discovered the place the last time I performed here in 2010, and I fell in love with the great mix you have here: great people and good food.

The Malta Jazz Festival will be taking place over July 16-19 at Ta’ Liesse, Valletta at 20:00. For more information log on to: www.maltajazzfestival.org.