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Confluences Music

Yao Bobby & Simon Grab ft. MX Blouse [Zurich]

Yao Bobby & Simon Grab - feat. MX Blouse


22.06.23 Umbo, Zurich
23.06.23 Kapitel, Bern

Band webite

This project is supported through the Confluences open call, aimed at supporting a shared space for collaboration, creation, and documentation of new work between musicians who have an existing creative relationship.

Simon Grab & Yao Bobby is the collaborative project of Togolese rapper and political activist Yao Bobby and Swiss noisemaker Simon Grab. The duo recently released their double album WUM and have been touring extensively in the EU, UK and Switzerland, as well as playing at the 2022 edition of Nyege Nyege in Uganda. Their raw format and immediate dialog on stage remains the main characteristic of their performance.

The duo are now entering a new creative phase. “We have been thinking about opening up our duo to other artists, always interested in how they will react to our energy and vice versa,” they explain. They have invited the Johannesburg-based rapper and performer MX Blouse to collaborate on new tracks and stage show.

“While our focus remains on our steady work as a duo, collaborations are more than simple momentary inspirations,” they explain. “For everybody involved, these collabs open up new perspectives and the shared experiences keep on vibing in other moments and further projects.”

Simon and MX Blouse met and performed together in an ad-hoc setting in January 2020 when MX Blouse was in Zurich for another theatre performance project. They immediately felt a strong musical connection. MX Blouse reflects: “We did an improvised set that I thought would be interesting to explore further in a collaborative project, confounding expectations through experimenting with his soundscapes and my propensity for combining genres to create something that lives outside of categorisation. I’m keen to spend time with Simon and Yao Bobby — to explore how we can bring together our varied sonic comforts and disparate origins into something unique and unexpected. I’m driven by challenging artistic norms, and believe working with these two artists could take us all to an interesting place, creatively.”

During an intensive residency in Zurich from 9 June – 17 July 2023, the three artists will develop new music together in Simon’s studio and develop their stage show in venues. They will then perform the new material in a series of shows in Switzerland.


Since the 1990s, Yao Bobby has been making his mark as an activist in African rap and has participated in building up a Pan-African hip hop movement. His artistic earmarks are strong lyrics in French and Ewe and a surprising flow. He has released on Nomadic Wax New York and has been featured on many albums. He lives in Agbodrafo Togo where he opened up a small cultural centre for music and arts, with exhibitions, concerts and community works, also showing his “recyclart” sculptures created from found objects and trash.

Simon Grab has been on the experimental electronic music path since the early 90s, with some serious outbreaks into punk, jungle and dub. With his solo work he releases on -ous Records Zurich and sound-space London. He recently collaborated with Duma (Kenya, Nyege Nyege), Deaf Kids (Brasil) and Petbrick (UK, Brasil) to released an album as a game. Simon is the co-founder of ganzerplatz sound studios (since 1996) and has been an active musician and producer in a wide range of musical contexts, including composing and producing music and sound design for feature films, documentaries, theatre and radio. In live performances and installations Simon uses the venue as an acoustic playground.

MX Blouse (Sandiso Ngubane) is a South African electronic music artist, mixing dance, hip-hop and kwaito music styles. Active since 2016, MX Blouse has since released several critically acclaimed singles, EPs and an album, landing on Apple Music’s Best 100 Songs of 2019 with the single “No Match”. Other singles including “Supernatural” and “Papgeld” claimed #21 and #33, respectively, on TIDAL’s year-end electronic music and “pride” charts in the same year. The artist has performed on South African festival stages including Oppikoppi, Basha Uhuru, Design Indaba Nightscape and Lighthouse Festival, among others. MX Blouse has toured in Germany and Switzerland, playing stages in Berlin, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Zürich, Bern and Basel.