Chartwell Dutiro

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Chartwell Shorayi Dutiro started playing mbira when he was four at the protected village, Kagande, about two hours drive from Harare where his family was moved by the Salvation Army missionaries during the Chimurenga. Even though the missionaries had banned traditional music, he learned to play from his brother and other village elders. His mother also encouraged him through her singing of traditional songs.

As a teenager Chartwell moved to the capital, Harare, and became saxophonist with the Salvation Army band. A little later, in 1986, he joined the world-famous band Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited. Touring the world for eight years with that band, he was their arranger, mbira player and saxophonist. Since 1994, Chartwell has based himself in Britain where he continues to teach and play mbira.[1]

Chartwell has academic qualifications in music, including a degree in Ethnomusicology from SOAS in London where he also taught for many years.

Chartwell's solo album, released in 2000, is entitled 'Voices of Ancestors'. He also has several recordings on CD in which he plays with the band Spirit Talk Mbira: Ndonga Mahwe (1997), Nhimbe (1999), Dzoro (2000), and Taanerimwe. Chartwell is also working with Serenoa String Quartet to combine classical string quartet style with traditional African music.

He used to play in Ashburton's Methodist Church Hall every Tuesday night where he led a Shona choir made up of local people, from farmers and teachers to business people, not to mention the landlady of the local B&B. In many ways, he has become a Zimbabwean missionary, playing mbira in schools and community halls, creating a space where people can explore cultural differences through the Shona tradition.

Chartwell has 7 known children.

In February 1012 Chartwell founded the first UK Mbira academy named Mhararano, including a weekly choir and Mbira group. He also runs a monthly music evening, named "Roots Music Night" in Dartington Space, Dartington Estate, Devon.


  1. ^ "Spirit Talk Mbira". The Bath Chronicle. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010.

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