Chartwell grew up in rural Zimbabwe and started playing the mbira when he was four. The mbira is an ancient instrument, consisting of at least 22 metal keys mounted on a wooden soundboard. Chartwell and his brother would often play mbira all night, calling the ancestral spirits for guidance, as has been done in Zimbabwe over centuries.
As a teenager Chartwell joined the Salvation Army band, and when he moved to the capital he played in a military marching band. From 1986 to 1994 he toured the world with the legendary ‘Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited’ . Since 1994, Chartwell has been based in Britain, performing, recording, teaching, and building bridges through his music.
Chartwell teaches Mbira, dance, percussion and singing in community and school settings nationally and internationally.
He is the founder of the long running INTERNATIONAL MBIRA GATHERINGS, which occur throughout the year and include ZIMBABWE IN DEVON, CLAN MBIRA SCOTLAND, MBIRA MU BAKO (MBIRA IN THE CAVES) in Seuilly, France, MBIRA PA GUNGWA (MBIRA BY THE SEA) and MBIRA MU GOMO (MBIRA IN THE MOUNTAINS), a new gathering in the Kootenay Mountains, Canada, starting in May 2010.
Chartwell is a WOMAD FOUNDATION recommended artist, and often collaborates and performs with the SERONA STRING QUARTET.
He has taught at WOMAD, THE TRIBE OF DORIS, DRUM VILLAGE: Glen Isla Scotland, PLYMOUTH MUSIC ZONE, TAKE ART!, DARTINGTON PLUS and the CREDITON RURAL ARTS MUSIC PROJECT CREATIVE FACTORY WORKSHOPS, in conjunction with QUEEN ELIZABETH COMMUNITY COLLEGE and THE GUILDHALL.
CHOIRS: Chartwell works with many choirs, including VOICE HOUSE; Song Works (Edinburgh) BIG SKY; The Voice Project (Norfolk), AMABILE AND POCO GIRLS CHOIR (Cumbria) and HEARTBEAT (Suffolk).
Voices of Ancestors Pan-African Workshops
With Chartwell and Denise Rowe
A Journey into Zimbabwean mbira music, song and dance.
These workshops will explore the meeting ground between music and movement through Shona mbira singing styles, Pan-African dances and hands on mbira playing.
Building bridges project - Dartington Community Singing
With Chartwell and Yvette Staelens.
A Celebration of Traditional Zimbabwean and English songs.
Participants will learn songs, rounds and chants from each tradition, and will also explore new synergies as songs from these cultures are merged and developed creatively by two outstanding workshop leaders. Harmony singing will be the focus and songs will be taught aurally. The singing is suitable for everyone. Yvette and Chartwell work together at ‘Tribe of Doris’ where their workshops create a loving celebration of the joy of voices in global harmony.
Academia & Teaching
LECTURER in AFRICAN SHAMANISM AND CULTURE at the SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES. He held the coveted position of Arts and Humanities Research Board Resident Performer-Researcher in 2003.
Chartwell lectures on WORLD MUSIC, DIVERSITY and COMMUNITY MUSIC at many Universities, including SOUTH DEVON COLLEGE (Lecturer in Performing Arts), PLYMOUTH UNIVERSITY (Lecturer in Ethnomusicology), EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY, OXFORD BROOKES, BOURNEMOUTH COLLEGE, SOAS, UNIVERSITY OF WEST OF ENGLAND and at the DARTINGTON UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, Falmouth.
He also teaches in primary and secondary schools, both independently and under the umbrella of the DEVON ARTS IN SCHOOLS INITIATIVE (DAISI), as a recommended artist for the NORFOLK SCHOOL ADVISORY SERVICE and for WREN (Folk Music).
ZIMBABWEAN MBIRA MUSIC ON AN INTERNATIONAL STAGE: Chartwell Dutiro’s Life In Music ed. Keith Howard and Chartwell Dutiro. SOAS Musicology Series. Published by Ashgate