The Legacy of Lord Kitchener

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One of the many things that Cathy and Clyde George, have shared together in their 28 years of marriage has been their love for the music created by Aldwin Roberts. When Kitch suddenly passed away on February 11, 2000 they, along with thousands of others, felt a deep loss. No longer would they come back to Trinidad to hear a new Kitch tune.

One of the many things that Cathy and Clyde George, have shared together in their 28 years of marriage has been their love for the music created by Aldwin Roberts. When Kitch suddenly passed away on February 11, 2000 they, along with thousands of others, felt a deep loss. No longer would they come back to Trinidad to hear a new Kitch tune.

In 2000, the George’s had recently acquired their home in Diego Martin. The Kitch-Jumbie caught them and they began plans to develop a way to honour the legacy of Kitch’s music. They created their Kitch Garden, their Ting Tang Shop, their 12 BAR Joan and their stage built around the pommecythere tree. With the help of many great calypsonians who knew and worked with Kitch they have held an annual
Kitch-Jumbie Festival in their backyard venue since 2001. Cathy would like to share with you some of her opening speeches for this annual event. This first one she presented in Chicago on July 21, 2000 at the Chicago Carifete.

“I welcome all of you to our Kitchener Tribute. I’ve been a fan of Kitchener ever since I first went to the Trinidad carnival in 1981. Every year since then I’ve anxiously awaited his latest songs when we returned to Trinidad for the carnival. Sadly, this year will be the last of his new songs, as he passed away on Feb. 11, 2000. during the Carnival season. He was buried on Valentine’s Day in a bright red suite and hat. I was there for his funeral. It was a very moving experience for me.

I am honored to tell you what I know about this man, Aldwin Roberts, also called the Lord Kitchener, Kitch, and the grandmaster of calypso. Each year when we went to his carnival show, “the Calypso Revue” we always tried to go back stage and get an autograph from him. He was magical to meet and even more fantastic to watch performing. There was always a twinkle in his eyes and a jump to his step. His dress was impeccable. As you can see from the 6 foot portrait of Kitch over there, Kitch was very dapper, always in his trademark matching suit, tie and fedora. My artist friend and fellow Kitch Jumbie painted this. She has captured his charm. Ann C. Quinn is in the audience. Please stand up and let us applaud you.

Ann tells me that the Kitch Jumbie helped her out doing her work. She played Kitch music while painting but when she put on a Sparrow CD the cd player refused to work!! Sparrow and Kitch were friendly musical rivals for over 40 years. They call it the Kitch-Jumbie.

For the non-Trinis here, let me give you some background to better understand this man.
Calypso, tracing its roots back to West Africa, is the mother music of Trinidad and Tobago. It began in 1786 in the town of Diego Martin, Trinidad. Our home now in Trinidad and Kitch’s home is in Diego Martin. His wife and kids still live there.
Calypso Music is part satire, part news, part commentary, and part defiance.

At Kitch’s home you will see a large neon sign saying Rainorama Palace. Rainorama was the name of his hit tune from the 70’s. There are many competitions held during the Trinidad Carnival. One is for the “Road March King” . The Road March is the song created that year that is most often played by the masquerade bands, the steel bands, the brass bands and the DJs on Carnival day. Kitch won that title 10 times with 10 great tunes. Though Kitch never had formal musical trining, he was vital in fusing the two most popular musical forms in Trinidad-calypso and steel pan. He composed the first calypso played by a steelband orchestra The Beat of the Steelband, in 1944. He was closely associated with the steelpan movement after that. His tunes were always the most played by the steelbands for what is called “Panorama” Panorama is the largest steelband competition in the world. More than 50 bands, each band with up to 100 players, compete to win the Panorama. Kitch’s compostions have won oer 18 panorama titles.

Kitch wrote over 1,000 calypsoes in his 77 years of life. Altho I haven’t heard all fo them each one I do know is timeless, sweet, satirical, beautiful and/or political. I know his songs will make him eternal for all his many fans. Whatever he sang about –it makes you fell so good. His topics ranged from the cold weather in England, where he lived for 15 years, to the West Indies first cricket victory of Englanad. Kitch has composed calypsoes that cover every imaginable human experience . Kitch is a brilliant expressionist. Dr. Hollis Liverpool once observed that “one of Kitchener’s many strengths is his ability to present clean smut in a way that even a priest would want to listen. He sang about backyard parties, moko jumbies and his favorite topic-the steelpan.
He loved pan music and he championed it for his people. His last hit song was Pan Birthday. He sang “everyone celebrate, before it’s to late”

Kitch came from a simple and humble background. His father was a blacksmith. Kitch always retained that simplicity and humility. In an interview once he was asked how he composed so many songs. Kitch replied “It’s an inspiration. It just comes to me, whenever I want to compose a song I tell my brain I want to compose a song and I go out there and I walk out on the street and it comes to me naturally” Also speaking of the art of composing Kitch said “The tune comes from the topic and the words come from the tune. When you start to hum the tune you hum dang-a-lang-a lee all the time, eventually you are forced into words” His lyrics were inspirational One of my favorites go “We must help our fellowmen and be true and loving to the end. Don’t be greedy. Help the needy and if you do showers of blessings will fall on you” Another is “Backyard party is fun. It unites everyone. Everybody jumping up. Noone really want to stop. Let the party go on.”

Once Kitchener spoke of how he got his nickname or sobriquet.. He said he was at a calypso tent and the calypsonian called the Growling Tiger asked Kitch what is your calypso name? Kitch said with his stutter “well, well they call me the Arima Champion.
Tiger said from now on you will be called Lord Kitchener. Recalling that event Kitch said “I thank him for that name. It’s a wonderful name, I can shorten it to Kitch. It sounds so sweet. It’s a romantic name and I can use it as an influence” Which he did charming all the ladies.

I, like Kitch, love the steelpan. In fact the first time I heard the pan I fell in love and shortly after married the pan man. My husband, Clyde, is a master on the pan. Clyde, was given his sobriquet “Lightning “ from his teacher and mentor, Bertie Marshall.

Bertie is known as the Prince of Pan and he is the inventor of the double tenor pan that Lightning plays. Bertie found that Clyde could learn the music faster that most anyone and therefore called him Lightning.

Lightning's Chicago band is called STeelin’ Jazz. What brings them together is jazz and what keeps them together is calypso. They are all full time professional musicians and teachers. They are dynamic performers and now they will play a few Kitch tunes for you."

Cathy George

Kitch Jumbie Festival 2005 Welcome Address

Thank you everyone for celebrating the music of Kitch with us today on the anniversary of his birth. Every year since he died we have held a Back Yard party celebrating the music of Kitch. We have previously chosen the date of February 15 because in his last pan song Pan Birthday he sang that date as the birthday of pan. This year, 2004, we decided to change our annual event to the date Kitch was born, April 18. We are overwhelmed with the great response and great crowd here tonight. We feel we could carry this event to a weekend long festival to Honour the greatest calypsonian of all time.

Last year I traveled to Jamaica for the showing of the film Calypso Dreams. This film was inspired by Kitch. The foreign filmmakers were guests here while they were filming in 2001. When I was in Jamaica for a premiere showing I noticed how greatly Bob Marley is honored in his country. Yet, in Trinidad you hardly find Kitch music for sale in the music stores. In Jamaica I was upset when the so called “Calypso Band” poolside at the hotel didn’t know one Kitch tune. Then during the award ceremony which was honoring the Mighty Sparrow, the band could not play one Sparrow tune for him to sing!
I find there is something wrong there!

When Lightning and I initiated the pan Institute we felt the passion to help spread the music of Kitch worldwide. Kitch and Pan will always go together like break and butter. As Pan reaches the global spectrum, so too will the music the the grandmaster Kitch.

This Institute provides a haven for pan lovers from around the world to stay, to study the arts, to meet the culture bearers, to indulge in the culture and to know it’s people
We offer seminars with great masters like Bertie Marshall and Regeneration Now.
We’ve hosted panlovers form Switzerland, Britain, Japan, Africa ant the states. We have
Shown them the best of pan and the magic of Kitch’s music. We need your help to continue our work and to preserve, collect and display the artifacts of Kitch’s life at the Rainorama Kitchener Museum. Thank you for your support. Your help will insure his legacy lives on.

Cathy George

Last Updated ( Sunday, 30 November 2008 23:59 )