Chiwalala Doctoral Ceremony

The following is a press release from the Sibelius Academy website (http://siba.fi/fi/?id=32402):

The public examination of Artist Arnold Chiwalala´s demonstration of proficiency for the Doctor of Music degree will take place on Monday, November 9, 2009 at 11.00 a.m. in Chamber Music Hall, Sibelius Academy, Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 9, Helsinki.

Title of Arnold Chiwalala´s demonstration of proficiency: Holistic and Intercultural Artistry

Title of the written work: Chizentele: My Path to Original Artistry and Creative Fusion of Ngoma with Finnish Folk Music and Dance

The statement on the demonstration of proficiency will be presented by the Chair of the Board of Examiners PhD, Ass.Prof. Alfonso Padilla. Statements on the written work will be presented by Professor David Hebert and Professor Hannu Saha. The Custos of the examination is Professor Vesa Kurkela.

The combined experience of living in two cultures, Tanzanian and Finnish, has played a part in Arnold Chiwalala´s creativity which led him to undertake this doctoral degree. He came to Finland already equipped with his artistic skills and education from home, but experiencing a new environment and a different culture has developed him as an artist. It has broadened his perspective on creativity and it has broadened his artistic imagination. Here in Finland he discovered the kantele. With this instrument, he has invented a concrete new style of music to which he has given the name Chizentele, and established a two-piece band, PolePole, to play this style. He has performed this new style Chizentele in all of his doctoral recitals. Added to that he has developed different ways for creating intercultural fusion of music, dance and songs.

The skills and knowledge that Arnold Chiwalala inherited from his parents and obtained from other sources - from school, society, the Bagamoyo College of Arts in Tanzania, the Department of Folk Music at the Sibelius Academy in Finland, various experiences of living in a different culture, the experience of working with other artists, and observations of other people´s work - have given him the capacity as an artist to see and do things as a whole, especially while he is creating his art. In this document he will explain how he arrived at this holistic conception of artistry through cross-cultural experience.

Arnold Chiwalala is a Tanzanian musician, dancer, singer, choreographer, composer, song writer and a Teacher. He was born in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1963. He was chosen to join the Bagamoyo College of Arts, Tanzania, in 1981. Arnold has worked as teacher and performing artist in the Bagamoyo College of Arts since 1985. Besides teaching he has been involved in various dance, music and theatre projects and performed in Africa, Europe and in the USA. Trip in November 1987 to Finland connected him with the country. Since 1989 he has traveled widely in the country to teach, give lectures and workshops in schools and in tertiary education such as Sibelius Academy, Theatre Academy, University of Helsinki and University of Tampere. He has also taught professionals in performing arts, school teachers and amateurs as well as worked with handicapped children and prisoners. As an artist he has collaborated with Finnish artists in various music, dance and theater projects, including Opera. Added to that, Arnold has performed for TV and his artistry works have been featured in Radio programs. In 2000 Yle TV 1 made a documentary film called “Musta Väinämöinen” about Arnold Chiwalala.


It was a great pleasure to mentor Dr. Arnold Chiwalala in developing the final document of his doctoral thesis, along with co-examiner Hannu Saha at Sibelius Academy. Dr. Alfonso Padilla (University of Helsinki) and Heikki Laitinen (Emeritus Professor, Sibelius Academy) did an outstanding job guiding and evaluating Dr. Chiwalala in his artistic work across several years of studies.

Also, I am pleased to report that the Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now sending 10 copies of Dr. Chiwalala's thesis to its embassies in Africa.

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