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Calypso Artists and Bands

Lord Kitchener

Lord Kitchener

1922-2000
Lord Kitchener
Much has been written about Lord Kitchener (real name Aldwyn Roberts) widely known as the 'Grandmaster' of Calypso. By the time of his death, only the Mighty Sparrow and the Roaring Lion had reached a similar level of respect. For over a half century, he championed calypso music and performed and composed, On no less than 10 occasions, he won the 'Road March' title, awarded to the calypsonian whose song is most frequently played on the streets during Carnival in Trinidad.

It was in 1944 that Aldwyn Roberts climbed the calypso stage at the Victory Tent with the name of 'Lord Kitchener'. He went onto perform calypso in the Trinidadian town of Arima in the late 1930s. By the 1940s, he was appearing regularly in Port of Spain. In 1946 he helped to organize the Young Brigade Tent, which featured a new generation of calypso singers. By 1946 he already had a couple of hits and was recording which at once made him one of the most popular singers of the day.

Kitchener travelled and performed his often humorous, but more often scathing political commentary to audiences around the Caribbean, until in 1948 he left Jamaica for Britain on the Empire Windrush. Kitchener remained in England, where he had an active recording career with the Parlophone, Melodisc and Lyragon labels. The calypsonian, continually composed calypsos which he would post back home. His records were continually exported to the Caribbean, where he remained popular.

Kitchener returned to Trinidad for the 1963 Carnival and formed the Calypso Revue, which continued as a major tent. Through this tent, he helped many young singers develop their calypso skills. For decades, Kitchener remained the favourite Calypsonian among steel bands who would play his compositions. In the 36 Panorama championships between 1963 and 1999 (1979 had no Panorama), 19 of the winning Panorama pieces were the works of Lord Kitchener.

Kitchener took notice of the steel pan, long before his contemporaries and developed a fascination that was to last to the end of his life. His has composed a multitude of tunes in honor of the instrument the last being 'Guitar Pan' in 1997 and 'Pan Birthday' in 2000.

Lord Kitchener was a musical pioneer and one of the greatest calypsonians to ever live, celebrated for his winning melodies and unique stage presence. On February 11 2000, Lord Kitchener died in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

His son Kernal Roberts is also an accomplished singer/songwriter and performer.


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Thursday 17th April 2014
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