Aldwyn Roberts, the Lord Kitchener, is the acknowledged Grandmaster of Calypso, whose musical oeuvre displays an uncanny a_nity to Mas and the Steelband. His records for winning the most Road March titles, and for producing the largest number of winning compositions in the Panorama competition, testify to this unique relationship.
He was born in an environment rhythmic sound, to a blacksmith father and homemaker mother in Arima, east Trinidad. From the beginning, music was his stock in trade. His first paying job was to entertain water employees while they laid pipes. He quickly made a name for himself, being crowned Calypso King of Arima for four straight years, from 1938. The next move was inevitable. He went to Port of Spain and joined calypso’s big league, singing for $1 a night alongside presiding greats Growling Tiger, Roaring Lion and Attila The Hun.
In 1944, Kitchener penned his first composition for Pan with “Beat of the Pan”. It marked the beginning of a unique relationship between calypso and steelband, in which Kitchener’s compositions would come to influence the musical direction of the Panorama competition.
His had his first big hit that year with “Green Fig”. Three years later, he had his own tent,
the Young Brigade. But the urge to spread his wings was growing. In 1948, Lord
Kitchener left Trinidad for London via a six-month stay in Jamaica, where he taught
calypso and played to packed houses.
The arrival of calypso’s newest sensation sent spirits soaring among West Indian immigrants.
Through his music, Lord Kitchener became the voice of the West Indian community and a mobilising spirit for the island emigrants so far from home. Despite his London successes, Lord Kitchener stayed close to the calypso scene in Trinidad where he kept his fans dancing with such hits as “Nora, Nora” and “Trouble in Arima”.
By 1963, encouraged by the Mighty Sparrow, Lord Kitchener returned to newly independent Trinidad and Tobago. His impact was immediate as he hit his stride, winning three consecutive Road March titles with “The Road”, “Mama Dis Is Mas” and “My Pussin’”. Over the next three and a half decades, this musical genius dominated the calypso world, writing over 350 songs, running his own Calypso Revue tent, winning 10 Road March titles and composing the music that would win 18 Panorama titles and entertain generations of musicians to come.