Hugo Zemp

Film director

1937 –


Who is Hugo Zemp?

Hugo Zemp is a Swiss-French ethnomusicologist. A prolific recorder of ethnic music and a writer on the subject, he has also shot a number of films about music of various regions, including 1988 film Voix de tête, voix de poitrine and 2002 film An African Brass Band filmed by him in Ivory Coast in 2002. His wide musical expertise includes music notably in Africa, Oceania and Switzerland. He also had particular interest in yoddling and lullabies. His recordings of lullabies from Solomon Islands was later released by UNESCO as part of their Musical Sources collection. One famous lullaby he recorded, a traditional Baegu lullaby from the Solomon Islands called "Rorogwela" was sung by Afunakwa, a Northern Malaita old woman. The recording was later used, apparently without permission, in Deep Forest's song "Sweet Lullaby".

Prof. Zemp studied musicology and anthropology at the University of Basle graduating in 1961. He also finished a diploma in percussion at the City of Basel Music Academy in 1960. He attended École pratique des hautes études for his doctorate.

He joined French National Centre for Scientific Research becoming a director of research. He taught ethnomusicology at the University of Paris X-Nanterre. In 1982, he became editor the recording series


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May 14, 1937
  • Switzerland
  • University of Basel

on July 23, 2013