David Rajaonary (AKA Rade or Bema Bass) is a talented musician from the island nation of Madagascar.
He grew up in very humble beginnings in a family of six kids. His father was a songwriter and guitar
player, but Rade didn’t discover this until he was about 13. He was instantly captivated when he saw his
dad playing during a family meeting. He begged his dad to teach him, but dad told him to wait until he
got his diploma from school first.
However, the passion for music had already been instilled in him. Eager to explore the magic of this
beautiful instrument, Rade began to teach himself in his own way. His dad took note of his potential and
finally agreed to teach him some basics.
Rade began to play weekly gigs at a local pub. Though he was learning quickly, he couldn’t afford his own
bass guitar. He had to borrow one every gig. Nonetheless, he found a way every week to be on stage and
keep the crowd grooving.
In 1990 Rade moved to Antananarivo, the capital city of Madagascar, in search of a better future. His
family had hoped he would continue to pursue his education, but he had started to make money from
music and chose to chase his dream instead. Word of his talent began to spread. He was invited to play
bass for a number of iconic Malagasy groups, touring nationally, then in Europe, and eventually the U.S.
Rade settled in New York City, and has since made a name for himself in the music scene there. He is
currently part of the world music group BeMaeva, as well working with Okaidja Afroso, Muriel Mwamba,
and countless other artists. He plays a variety of different instruments, but he says, ”y favorite is of course
my MGbass Buckeye burl and Wavebird burl custom 6 strings.” His message to aspiring musicians is,
“If you really want to be a professional musician, work for it. Make it
your priority. Move forward against all odds.”