photo: Johnny Rozsa

Chartwell Dutiro passed into the realm of the ancestors on September 22, 2019. The vibrations he created in the world will be felt for generations.


Chartwell Dutiro is a musician, singer, song-writer, composer, author and teacher.

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 had 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.

Chim_spirit_talkartwell Dutiro has played the Shona mbira virtually his entire life. From his village childhood in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) when he played at ceremonies with a local spirit medium, to his years performing and recording with Zimbabwe’s iconic Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited, to his more recent career as a teacher, solo artist, and bandleader in the UK, Chartwell has cut a remarkable path through African music.

Chartwell is a superb instrumentalist and a soulful singer. His arrangements of Shona traditional music are both innovative and inspirational. He is also a gifted storyteller with a deep sense of history and a wry sense of humor. An evening in his presence is an unforgettable experience.  

— Banning Eyre
Senior Editor and Producer
Afropop Worldwide