JAZZ/ JAZZ FUSION / Richard Bona

Tiki – RICHARD BONA – 2005

Richard Bona is slowly but surely taking over my life. Infectious rhythms, lovely tunes, bitchin’ bass playing and a honeydew laced voice- this man has everything. His music is mainly very earthy. Very African. And very, very beautiful. I don’t understand square root of diddly-squat of the words he is singing. But I always love it anyway, because only the emotions matter. Unlike earlier albums though, there are places here where Bona gets a person to sing some english, like the slightly iffy-singing on the opening track “Tiki”.

A good album, but not his best.

Things seem to improve a bit though, with the fretless bass driven “Dipama”. But not by much, I mean. It’s a bit pop-singer-in-a-native-tongue for me. Still, it’s a nice melody, and worth a committed listen. Things genuinely improve rapidly after that, thankfully, with “O Beta O Siba”. It signals the return of the floaty, danceable rhythms and heavily syncopated basslines which first made me fall in love with Bona’s music (Check out the live album Bona makes you Sweat to get your booty shakin’). In fact, I’ve come to realise that I enjoy Richard Bona‘s danceable, earthy tracks way more than the ballady side, which I find kind of (*in a whisper*) boring. There dance tracks are produced in a dry manner, with plenty of Latin-percussion and piano things, which are always appreciated.

I heard all the songs, and somehow, nothing caught me out the way Munia did.

Even so, I have a problem or two with this album. It has melodies, but not melodies which, you know, reel me in. There is nothing I’ve heard so far (three-fourths of the album at the time of typing this) that I can remember. It’s nice, but nothing that’s either earth-shatteringly beautiful, hooky or ambitious. I heard all the songs, which I don’t really need to name, and somehow, nothing caught me out the way Munia did.

So it comes down to this. Am I disappointed? Maybe it’s just me, but I’ll tell you this; this album works on all levels for me, except in terms of strong melodies that speak to me. Strong melodies are- in my opinion- the single strongest part of Richard Bona‘s music. I mean, listen to the saccharine gorgeousness of the playing and singing on the video. The main tune, FYI, is taken from a track on Munia. But as I said, it could all just be me. You are a different person. I recommend this a listen to anyone who reads this, but to me, this doesn’t really sound right.

– El Bajista




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