For centuries, the Shona people of Zimbabwe have believed in the guidance of their ancestral spirits. Mbira music plays a central role as a linchpin between the living and the spiritual world, in all-night ritual ceremonies called bira. The mystic power of mbira music summons the ancestral spirits.
Mbira maestro Chartwell Dutiro will be in New York for the next month. The group Timbila is working out a special new repertoire with him and will be doing a series of concerts, featuring Chartwell alone, Timbila, and all of them together.
Dutiro grew up in Zimbabwe and started playing mbira at the age of 4. 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 U.K., Chartwell has cut a remarkable path through African music. 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.
Chartwell specializes in collaborations, and has worked with artists in many genres all over the world. This August, he will deepen his long-standing friendship with guitarist Banning Eyre and his more recent collaborations with mbira player and singer Nora Balaban and violinist and singer Rima Fand. Together with the other members of the band Timbila, they will develop a unique set of music that showcases both Chartwell’s powerful take on tradition, and Timbila’s creative adaptations which turn ancient melodies and rhythms into surprisingly contemporary songs.
Details below on the Chartwell Dutiro and Timbila gigs in the New York area.
Aug. 28, 8 p.m. Upstream Gallery, 8 Main Street. Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706. Suggested donation $10-$20.
Aug. 30, 8 p.m. Tagine Moroccan Restaurant, 221 W. 38th St. Dinner Reservations: 646-373-6265.
Aug. 31, 8 p.m. Bar LunAtico, 486 Halsey St., Brooklyn 11233.
Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m. Afro Roots Tuesdays at Goddard Riverside, 647 Columbus Ave. @ 92nd St.
Click here for Chartwell’s full schedule.