Richard Bona & Lionel Loueke
Tonight's show was exquisite, the two men on acoustic guitars, Bona also on electric bass, were awesome to see and hear as they jammed both individually and in duet, songs composed by each. Benin and Cameroon were in the house, a house jammed to the uppermost seats in a room which provided a intimate ambiance whether one was in the front row or the back. I'd gone to the wrong venue, and finding the lights out and plenty of parking called someone and found out the event was on the other side of town. With a needle kissing empty, we raced back downtown, found a great parking spot and squeezed into the auditorium before the first song commenced--talk about blessed--blessed to get the Yerba Buena from the Palace of Fine Arts that fast. Double blessed to get front row seats in such a crowded room.
Richard Bona's locs cascaded down one side, then another side of his face, as he and Lionel who had no hair, save for a faint goatee and a loc near the nap of his neck. I didn't know Lionel except for his CD Karibu, so to see him live was a treat--his ability to sound like a choir and a full band is something I still can't figure out. His solos were forays into time signatures where clicks and stops, overlapping voices and percussive sounds added palatable textures to a tapestry of sound...and we're speaking of those solo moments...add Bona and well--the canvas grows larger as he croons and adds a mellow vocalese to the mix taking the melody out to an improvisational fairyland where much is possible and he proceeds to prove it.
The evenings selections included: There is no Greater Love, Te Nedeya, Nonvignon, Benny's Tune, Oh Sen Sen Sen (encore), Still There, and Ponder. Bona acted as the emcee, inviting the audience on the final tune to sing along, which we did.