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Lord Kitchener

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Aldwyn Roberts (18 April 1922 – 11 February 2000), better known by the stage name Lord Kitchener (or “Kitch”), was one of the most internationally famous calypsonians.

Roberts was born in Arima, Trinidad, the son of a blacksmith, Stephen, and housewife, Albertha. He was educated at Arima boys’ government school until he was 14, when his father died. His father had encouraged him to sing and learn to play the guitar, and he became a full-time musician. He won the Arima borough council’s calypso competition four times between 1938 and 1942.

He moved to Port of Spain and had his first commercial success in 1942 with the calypso song “Green Fig” (also known as “Mary, I am Tired and Disgusted”). By 1945, he was known as Lord Kitchener. He toured Jamaica for six months in 1947-8 with Lord Beginner (Egbert Moore) and Lord Woodbine (Harold Philips) before they took passage on the Empire Windrush to England in 1948. Upon his arrival, Kitchener improvised a short song titled “London is the Place to Be”, which he sang live on a report for Pathé News

He found further success in the UK in the 1950s, building a large following in the expatriate communities of the West Indian islands. His fame continued throughout the 1950s, when calypso achieved international success. Kitchener became a very important figure to those first 5,000 West Indian migrants to the UK. His music[4] spoke of home and a life that they all longed for but in many cases couldn’t or wouldn’t return to.

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