Chartwell Dutiro is from the Shona tribe of Zimbabwe and is a master mbira player and professor. Mbira is a traditional, mystical instrument that’s purpose is to call on the ancestors, and it’s also the instrument you hear at the beginning and end of this show. In this episode you’ll learn about the history of the mbira and its influence on Zimbabwean culture, as well as how it’s used in a spiritual and ceremonial context.
Chartwell holds a master’s degree in ethnomusicology from SOAS University in London, and is currently working on his PHD in Collaboration with Dialogue using mbira as the backbone. He has a great deal of knowledge and wisdom about both traditional cultures and modern culture and how the two can either be woven together in a beneficial way or how they can clash in a way that breaks us as individuals and as a society as a whole. You’ll also hear Chartwell’s thoughts on everything from Apartheid to what happens in cultures that don’t communicate with the spirits of their ancestors.
This conversation was recorded two years ago, when A Show of Hearts was just a faint idea, so you’ll notice that the interviewing style and overall sound differ a bit from the other interviews on this show. But, his wise and insightful words are pretty timeless, and his perspective is unique and thoughtful. As you listen, you’ll get a sense of the respect and connection that he and Rosemary share, as he is her mentor and friend. Finally, you’ll hear one of his songs, Bukatiende, which means “get up let’s go” in Shona.
To learn more about Chartwell, visit chartwellusa.wordpress.com or follow him on Instagram @chartwelldutiro
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