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+233 hosts HEMU Orchestra from Switzerland
A section of HEMU Orchestra

+233 hosts HEMU Orchestra from Switzerland

The +233 Jazz Bar & Grill in Accra is set to host some young but ultra-serious adherents to the jazz tradition from HEMU (Haute École de Musique) in Switzerland, to three exciting sessions on October 29, October 30 and November 4.


The 15-piece HEMU Orchestra and two of its Artistic Directors- percussionist Thomas Dobler and bassist Etienne Mbappe – are in Ghana for a cross-disciplinary project dubbed The Ghana Experience. It is meant to offer the HEMU students a rich, shared experience in the discovery of Ghana and its artistic and cultural milieu.

HEMU is an educational institution in Switzerland known for its high quality musical training and close ties with professional circles.  Multi-disciplinary and multi-style, the HEMU curriculum embraces jazz as well as classical and contemporary music.

The orchestra’s first appearance on October 29 from 8.00pm at +233 is themed African Vibes. It is going to be a night of varied presentations influenced by jazz, classical music, Ghanaian highlife and traditional West African music, arranged and orchestrated by Thomas Dobler.

Thomas Dobler

The session on October 30 is also from 8.00pm. It is branded The Accra Jazz Academy Masterclass and will feature the HEMU Orchestra with Etienne Mbappe, Thomas Dobler and drummer Ato Qwamena. 


The night is billed to offer a two-way learning experience for the musicians from Switzerland and the music students and practicing musicians invited from selected Ghanaian music-related institutions. There is no entry fee for the October 29 and October 30 programmes.  The last HEMU session at +233 is scheduled for 8.00pm on November 4 and attracts an entry fee. (Robot takes podium as orchestra conductor in South Korea)

A player of electric bass, double bass and guitar, Etienne Mbappé is also a singer, songwriter, composer, arranger and producer. A member of guitarist John McLaughlin's band The 4th Dimension for over 10 years, he has collaborated, toured and recorded with many prominent acts including Manu Dibango, Robben Ford, Salif Keita, Ray Charles, Steps Ahead and Bill Evans. He also has works under his name and is currently working on his fifth album.

Etienne Mbappe

Thomas Dobler is a percussionist and international soloist in classical, jazz and world music. He is also an arranger, teacher and assistant director at the HEMU - Jazz. As a jazz musician and bandleader, Thomas Dobler has toured and recorded extensively. 

The Ghana Experience project is made possible through collaboration with a wide network of partners in Switzerland and Ghana.

A member of the +233 management team, Quantos Ackah-Yensu, said they were excited about the upcoming sessions with the HEMU Orchestra and urged jazz enthusiasts to turn up for some inspiring, enlightening jazz.


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