Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) (18 April 1922 – 11 Feb 2000)
Even as the Trinidadian Lord Kitchener stepped off the Empire Windrush in 1948, he was singing the song he wrote on the famous boat, ‘London is the place for me’. Kitch brought a twist to the calypso that already existed in London, with the likes of Sam Manning and Rudolph Dunbar already plying their trade in the capital. The difference was, that fresh from his 6 month tour of Jamaica, he was already adapting his music to his surroundings.
London is the place for me
London, this lovely city
You can go to France or America
India Asia or Australia,But you must come back to London city.
Kitch’s lyrics, instead of conforming to the norm and singing for pure entertainment, he took Calypso’s original meaning (coming from the word ‘kaiso’ in the Hausa language) by acting as a contemporary griot, commenting on social events and criticism of government. he wrote songs such as Cricket, Lovely Cricket to celebrate the West Indies beating England in 1950, My Landlady which spoke about struggles to pay rent, and If You’re Not White, You’re Black.
Your Negro hair is obvious,
You make it more conspicuous,
You use all sort of Vaseline,
To make out you are European…
He also commemorated Ghana’s Independence with the song Birth Of Ghana:
This day will never be forgotten,
The 6th of March 1957,
When the Gold Coast successfully,
Get their independence officially,
He also paid homage to some of the bebop artists of the day on Bebop Calypso and the jovial Love in the Cemetery. His most successfully commercial song was Sugar Bum Bum which was written in 1978. He made some of the funniest, introspective and historically significant calypso of his time, and had an influence on Ghanaian highlife music due to his tours there, and won many awards in his native Trinidad all the way into the 90’s.