Bona’s latest project, “Mandekan Cubano”, picks up where Juan de Marcos González and American guitarist Ry Cooder left off with their Buena Vista Social Club releases. With Ludwig Afonso on drums, pianist Osmany Paredes, Luisito Quintero and Roberto Quintero both on percussion, trombonist Rey Alejandre and Dennis Hernandez on trumpet, Bona forges the next evolution of Cuban dance music.
Bona was inspired by the musical heritage of the slaves from Africa who arrived in Cuba speaking the shared Mande language, and by the rich folkloric and traditional music of West Africa and Cuba. Through this new project, aptly titled “Heritage”, he speaks the universal language of music and envisions bringing all people together through song.
The trio then hit the road and toured across France; however, Bona remained in Europe to tour with guitarist Mike Stern and guest star on Japanese guitarist Kazumi Watanabe’s album “Mo Bop 2”. Shortly after, the pair embarked upon a tour of Japan, providing Bona with the opportunity to incorporate the culture and sounds of a new territory into his work. Furthermore, he toured with Pat Metheny and appeared as a guest on two of Bobby McFerrin’s albums, along with numerous notable collaborations. He later garnered recognition at the Victoires du Jazz Awards where he won the trophy for “Best International Artist of 2004.”
Despite the fact that he spent the entirety of 2008 and 2009 on a non-stop tour, Bona released “The Ten Shades of Blues”, which illustrates his experience with different shades of the blues that he interacted with during his tours throughout locations such as the Sahel, Brazil, India, United States and Cameroon. Shortly after, Bona was honored by the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal with the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award. As one of its seven recipients, he is distinguished as an artist in the field of world music whose influence on the evolution of jazz is widely recognized. He also received the prestigious SACEM Jazz Award (Grand Prix Jazz SACEM) in 2012 for the Jazz Grand Prize.
His certified Gold 2013 album, “Bonafied”, demonstrates a fusion of cultures in 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.