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Full name Aldwyn Roberts
Born April 18, 1922, Farfan Street, Arima, Trinidad
Died February 11, 2000, Eric Williams Adult Hospital, Trinidad (aged 77 years 299 days)
Lord Kitchener was one of the most internationally famous calypsonians. He was a 10-time winner of the Road March calypso competition, wrote more than 1,000 calypsos, and probably did more than anyone to promote the genre to a global audience.
Kitchener was born Aldwyn Roberts, one of six children, and from an early age led the local children in chanting during school sports matches, using music to overcome a stammer. He made his first public appearance in 1937, but it was only in the early 1940s that he changed his sobriquet from Arima Champion to Lord Kitchener, in tribute to the famous WW1 field marshal.
By the 1940s Kitchener was establishing himself as a major player. In 1947, with Lord Beginner, he entertained Harry Truman when the president visited Trinidad. The pair then embarked on a Caribbean tour and were performing in Jamaica when the Empire Windrush, the first ship to take Caribbean emigrants to the UK, was due to leave. They jumped on board. He was so excited that when he landed he sang a tune he had composed on the trip - London Is the Place for Me.
He was an immediate hit in England, making regular appearances at London clubs. One of his songs - Nora - released in 1950 was a massive hit in Trinidad and Africa. With calypso growing in popularity across racial boundaries - Princess Margaret reputedly bought 100 copies of his Ah Bernice to send to friends - Lord Kitchener became a well-known figure, opening his own club in Manchester in 1958, and sent a steady stream of recordings back across the Atlantic.
In 1950 he was at Lord's when West Indies won a Test in England for the first time, and he led the celebrations on the ground and then danced supporters from Lord's down to Piccadilly Circus. Although he did not pen the classic Victory Test Match - "Cricket, lovely cricket" - he was a key part of inspiring Lord Beginner,who wrote and recorded it.
In 1962 he returned to Trinidad, winning the Road March so often that he was crowned "Road March King of the World". His Tribute To Spree Simon in 1975 won him not only the Road March, but also the National Panorama Contest for steel bands, the Brassorama for brass bands and the Calypso Monarch title. He continued to record and perform, and some of his most successful records in terms of sales came in the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1994, he was featured on a 50-cent stamp - the print run of 100,000 sold out within days - and only retired in 1999 when he was diagnosed with cancer. He died the following year after suffering kidney failure. A statue of Kitchener was subsequently erected in the capital, Port of Spain.
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