Review for Swedish Music Magazine LIRA, Sept. 2004 issue (4-2004)


Gerald Toto –Richard Bona – Lokua Kanza:


No Format! /Universal



Light and spacy, free and playful. The new French Label No Format! within the Universal Group has brought together three musicans for an acoustic production with a lot of vocals, a little percussion, and on most tracks also acoustic guitar and bass. Nothing else!

Richard Bona, the super bass player from Camerun with the soft playing style and voice, known for a Swedish audience through his gig at Skeppsholmen (a big jazz festival in Stockholm) broadcast on Swedish TV last year, has made three solo albums and played with the world’s jazz elite since he via Paris ended up in the center of the focus of the New York jazz scene. Lokua Kanza, singer/songwriter from Congo, has also been featured on Swedish TV through a gig at the Urkult Festival. Gerald Toto, raised in Paris, of Antillian origin, is younger and less known but fits well into the context.

Each musician has written four of the CD’s twelve tracks, but voices and sounds are blending into a totality at a high musical level and it’s often hard to distinguish who’s doing what. Except when you hear Richard Bonas exquisite bass playing or Lokua Kanza’s voice, which can always be identified from the first tone, regardless if you’re listening to Papa Wemba or any other of the artists to whom Lokua has lent his voice and/or talent for arranging music.
When the voices are playing with rhythms and sounds, associations to Bobby McFerrin are unavoidable. But the record still has a distinctly unique sound, obviously African but with Latin influences, just like on Bona’s solo albums. Delightful!


Annika Westman