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Munia: The Tale
Richard Bona
Munia: The Tale
Genres: International Music, Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

The beauty of music and instruments has intrigued Richard Bona since the days of his childhood in the Minta village of Cameroon. As a young boy in West Africa he made his own wooden instruments and performed as a singer an...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Richard Bona
Title: Munia: The Tale
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Verve
Release Date: 9/30/2003
Genres: International Music, Jazz, Pop
Style: Jazz Fusion
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 602498010938, 0602498010938, 4988005348274


Album Description
The beauty of music and instruments has intrigued Richard Bona since the days of his childhood in the Minta village of Cameroon. As a young boy in West Africa he made his own wooden instruments and performed as a singer and multi-instrumentalist for various religious ceremonies, weddings and celebrations in his village. Appropriately dubbed, "The African Sting", Richard Bona has been showcasing his West African inspired genius all over the world for the last 15 years. His unique style is situated at the crossroads of a horde of influences - jazz, bossa nova, pop music, afro beat, traditional song and funk. This fusion in conjunction with Bona's poignant voice is what constitutes his latest release, Munia (The Tale). Munia, which means "tale" in the Douala language, tells its own eclectic musical story that could only be authored by Richard Bona. The album is packed with a variety of flavors, which include tropical rock, "Balemba na Bwemba", rhumba "Couscous" and an exhilarating fusion piece "Engingilaye". Collaborations with notable musicians like Salif Keita (vocals), Djely Moussa Conde (kora) and Bailo Ba (traditional flutes) on the zesty "Kalabancoro" or the virtuoso Romero Lubambo on the acoustic guitar on the vivacious bossa nova "Bona Petit" complete with Bona singing in French make Munia a world classic.

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CD Reviews

A Joy From Cameroon
o dubhthaigh | north rustico, pei, canada | 11/10/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Cameroon's Richard Bona returns with a disc of African based jazz that resounds far more convincingly than anything he has done to date. Sure, he still has some American artists, most notable Kenny Garrett, on board, but this CD is more dedicated to the music that comes from his heart not just his intellectual interests. And with Garrett, he has a perfect collaborator. Garrett is a world musician in every sense. Bona's time on tour with Pat Metheny never took Metheny where Metheny should have gone, as you will no doubt see in the SPEAKING OF NOW DVD. Bona's protean bass work and soaring vocals and incredible songwriting were never fully utilized. Kind of like having Barry Bonds as a pinch hitter.
Perhaps it brough Bona to a broader audience than might otherwise find him. Still in all, he is better off working in other contexts. Here, from the opening INCANTATIONS through to the conclusion, you have a man who brings forth his soul as eloquently as you'll ever hear, this side of Bobby McFerrin. Garrett's contributions are just perfect. In fact, the entire team has produced a remarkable document. This Cd is an absolute joy.
Do yourself a favour and order this and REVERENCE and Huong Thanh's DRAGONFLY, on which Bona joins the Viet Namese singer, Thanh, and guitarist Nguyen Le to create one of the most captivating cross-cultural efforts ever committed to disc. Bona should be played more and hopefully there are enough like minded people out there looking for something extraordinarily creative and danceable and fun and, well, all those positive things that music can be."
Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 09/02/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

""Munia" is the third album by bassist/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Richard Bona. Proving himself again not content to rest on prior successes of "Scenes from My Life" and the stunning "Reverence", Bona keeps reaching in different directions, for different sounds, and with different collaborators. The result-- his albums are never boring, nor are they ever repeats of previous records, but sometimes he misses a bit.

"Munia" starts off well enough, opening as did the previous record with an a capella piece featuring layered harmony vocals before bleeding into a funky, laid back groove on the stunning "Kalabancoro", featuring vocalist Salif Keita. But this sound isn't one Bona pursues largely on the record-- instead he explores two directions-- an electric jazz mode and an acoustic guitar mode.

The electric jazz material works quite well for me, from Miles Davis tribute "Painting a Wish" to the lovely closer "Playground". The former is a delicate, lovely and organic piece featuring Kenny Garrett turning in a superb soprano sax performance and some lovely work from Bona, the latter finds Bona shedding his Jaco Pastorius update sound in favor for a Marcus Miller slap-n-pop melody statement (although he delivers a smoking fingerstyle solo). Admittedly, "Engingilaye" has an ugly smooth jazz feel to it that makes it just too pop and too clean for my tastes.

The acoustic stuff though I find of mixed quality, many of which are largely unexciting ("Sona Mama", "Couscous"). Probalby more critical is the repetitive nature of some of this material on the record-- the songs pretty much blend into each other. But still, there's a couple really stunning moments-- lovely fingerpicked ballad "Dina Lam" features a vocal so totally infused with pain that it is palpable, and lullabye-ish "Muto Bye Bye" is sweet and playful before bleeding into a great jazz sound with brushes and lovely bass work.

All in all, a mixed bag from Bona-- I applaud his bravery in trying different sounds and his virtuosity is never a question, but "Reverence" is a better effort."
Michael Stack | 02/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"i love Richard Bona's latest effort, Munia: The Tale. After listening to him with Bobby Mcferrin on Beyond Words, i loved his lyricism on the bass. Then in the summer, i had the pleasure of seeing him live as a guest at a mcferrin concert in montreal. His voice is amazing and its really in view on this cd. Bonatology is a beautiful introduction that really hooked me and made me want listen to every song without skipping. Im glad that he is getting more (but still not enough) recognition after touring with Metheny. so get this cd, or any other Richard Bona cd, you won't regret it."