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Dutch bassist Erwin Willemse lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil. He’s a performing and recording artist, a teacher and a coach. In 2006 he graduated from the Utrecht Conservatory, The Netherlands. Here he studied bass guitar Jazz&Pop with Theo de Jong and Joël Groenewold, and upright bass with Harry Emmery. Former bass guitar teachers were Wilbrand Meischke and Sven Schuster.

His main musical styles are (Neo-) Soul, Funk, Jazz and Hiphop, and he’s no stranger to R’nB and Gospel, Fusion, Latin and MPB.

Recent projects include performing and recording with soul/jazz duo Pebbles, featuring vocalist and songwriter Njambi Atema and recording with Israeli singer-songwriter and pianist Dudu Yzhaki.


From an early age I was immersed into music: my dad was a professional musician (bassist, singer and songwriter Guus Willemse), my aunt later followed his footsteps (singer and arranger Paulette Willemse) and my whole family was constantly playing music on the eight-tracks in their cars. On family get togethers, spontaneous outbursts of polyphonic singing were more rule than exception.

At home we had an enormous record collection and I liked to spin them all, but was mostly moved by Joni Mitchell and Weather Report - both with that demi-god, bassist extraordinaire Jaco Pastorius. Later on I got blown away by Anthony Jackson and Will Lee, playing on Chaka Khan’s debut solo album ‘Chaka’ and by Louis Johnson kicking it on Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’.

During my teens I couldn’t stop doubling Pino Palladino’s lines on Paul Young’s albums, and Bernard Edwards’ super grooves on the Chic tracks. Later influences on bass or with their music were Jamiroquai (with ‘good old sausage fingers’ Stuart Zender on bass), composer/arranger/songwriter/vocalist/bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, The Brecker Brothers, Incognito, Brand New Heavies, Gary Willis and once more: Mister Pino Palladino (inimitable on D’Angelo’s ‘Voodoo’ , in the John Mayer Trio and so on).

My first musical images of Brazil were created by listening to George Duke’s record A Brazilian Love Affair. The rich, enchanting grooves, melodies and harmonies on this album hit me right between the ears and it is in finding the magic mixture of ingredients that I still think is the most intriguing and provocative in playing, writing and discovering music. I am very happy to finally be living in Brazil and be able to explore its rich musical heritage and to further develop my musicianship.”

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