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KITCHENER: MISSING AT CARNIVAL, AND MISSED

Lord Kitchener will be among the missing at this year's V.I. Carnival, and he will be missed.
To legions of fans, easily spanning three generations, it's hard to envision a Calypso Revue without Trinidad and Tobago's tall "Grandmaster" as featured international artist, strutting across the stage in his Sunday-go-to-meeting suit, white shirt and tie, his proper trilby parked jauntily atop his graying head.
And singing the songs he made, and then made famous.
Kitchener, born Aldwyn Roberts in the Trinidad town of Arima in 1922, died this past Feb. 11 at the age of 77. To say his legacy lives on is like saying the sun shines in the Caribbean.
But for those who can use, or will appreciate, some gentle reminders, the Y2K Carnival Committee has come up with two special salutes.
The first is an exhibit of photographs that opened Wednesday evening in the Fort Christian Museum. It's open to public viewing through noon Wednesday, May 3, when the museum, being a government operation, closes its doors for the Carnival holidays.
The second is a special half-time show at Friday's Calypso Revue I in Lionel Roberts Stadium that will be a V.I. Carnival Committee tribute to Lord Kitchener. "Some of us, we've formed a band," committee chair Kenneth Blake, also known as calypsonian Lord Blakey, said. Among those singing, he said, will be himself and Glenn "Kwabena" Davis.
Kitchener, to quote Caribbean Beat on-line writer David Tindall, was "a man whose life is melody — someone who has done for calypso and steelband what Duke Ellington did for jazz." (Tindall wrote those words in a profile marking Kitchener's 75th birthday.)
It's said that Kitchener composed more than a thousand songs in a career that began at the age of 15, when he made his debut in a "bamboo tent" in his hometown. In 1944, he went to Port of Spain to sing in one of the established tents, and two years later, he started his own. Also in 1944, he composed the first calypso for a steelpan orchestra, launching a long-lasting association with the emerging pan movement. He made his first tour of the English-speaking Caribbean in 1947 and went to England a year later, where he lived until 1963, when he returned to Trinidad. Even during his years abroad, he dominated Trinidad's calypso scene, producing a record number of winning carnival road marches.
Singing and accompanying himself on guitar, Kitchener won fans with his simplicity of themes, unusual chord patterns and tuneful melodies, according to the biographical information on display at the Fort Christian exhibit. "He enabled calypso to take its rightful place alongside jazz, opera and all other internationally known music," it states.
For more background information, check out the V.I. Carnival Committee's new website, www.vicarnival.com. In the '60s and '70s Kitchener hits such as "Mama Dis Is Mas," "Rain-O-Rama" and "Sugar Bum Bum" "ruled the airways of the Caribbean," the website text notes. "As an international participant in the Calypso Revue, his charismatic stage presence at the Lionel Roberts Stadium will be missed."
The room to your right as you enter the museum's Temporary Gallery Space is the one to visit first. Hanging there are 23 pictures of Kitchener performing, relaxing or posing with other famous folks. Another 14 are scenes from his funeral cortege and service in Port of Spain. Anyone who knows a lot about old-time calypso will recognize many of the people in these pictures — fellow calypsonians bearing the casket, longtime archrival Sparrow and Sugar Aloes singing a duet, Sparrow weeping, Chalkdust and many more gathered to pay their last respects.
Perhaps the most poignant picture, though, is in the "alive and well" section. Titled "With a future calypsonian," it's a recent close-up of Kitch seated, dressed in suit, tie and trilby, gazing toward some unseen action, perhaps some young calypsonian performing. To his right, the viewer's left, sits a boy about 10 years old, also peering soberly at the unseen attraction. He's dressed in a suit, shirt, tie and hat, the very embodiment of his mentor.
On the walls of the second gallery room are color photos of the covers of 35 Lord Kitchener record albums, along with an alphabetical listing of 358 songs he composed. A couple of the covers document his forays into soca, and one, appearing to be from the '70s, is titled "Melodies of the 21st Century."
While a backup chorus of provocatively posed young women was his stock in trade, Kitchener was the picture of decorum, sartorially speaking. . . almost. Several of the early album jackets show him in a spangled long-sleeved white shirt and trousers, wearing a wide-brim hat. Some of the suits he wore in his later career with formal shirt and tie were suitable for a funeral, but others of the same cut were in tropical-hot hues of melon, yellow and nearly neon red.
At the by-invitation opening reception on Wednesday, a television set in the first gallery room continuously played a video of Kitchener performing. Among those present to enjoy the sights and sounds were Gov. Turnbull, the Carnival queen, prince and princess, Chalkdust (Hollis Liverpool, who flew into St. Thomas just that afternoon to take part in the tributes), assorted other dignitaries and Carnival Committee members.
Blake said the video set-up was only for the reception. However, he said he would look into setting up an audio player so that listening to the music of the Grandmaster could be a part of the gallery experience for visitors.
The exhibit will be open to viewing through the morning of Food Fair day, Wednesday, May 3. Regular museum hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Calypso Revue I begins at 8 p.m. Friday in the stadium. Taking part in the regular show Friday — and, according to Blake, also at Saturday's Calypso Revue II, if arrangements can be made — will be Kernell Roberts, Kitchener's son. "He will be singing some of his father's music," Blake said.
For Friday, admission is $12 in advance and $15 at the gate. For Saturday, it's $15 and $20. Ticket outlets are Family Health Center, International Records and Tapes, Krystal & Gifts Galore, Modern Music/Havensight, Nisky Pharmacy, Parrot Fish Music, T&P Cash and Carry and St. John Drug Center.

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Lord Kitchener will be among the missing at this year's V.I. Carnival, and he will be missed.
To legions of fans, easily spanning three generations, it's hard to envision a Calypso Revue without Trinidad and Tobago's tall "Grandmaster" as featured international artist, strutting across the stage in his Sunday-go-to-meeting suit, white shirt and tie, his proper trilby parked jauntily atop his graying head.
And singing the songs he made, and then made famous.
Kitchener, born Aldwyn Roberts in the Trinidad town of Arima in 1922, died this past Feb. 11 at the age of 77. To say his legacy lives on is like saying the sun shines in the Caribbean.
But for those who can use, or will appreciate, some gentle reminders, the Y2K Carnival Committee has come up with two special salutes.
The first is an exhibit of photographs that opened Wednesday evening in the Fort Christian Museum. It's open to public viewing through noon Wednesday, May 3, when the museum, being a government operation, closes its doors for the Carnival holidays.
The second is a special half-time show at Friday's Calypso Revue I in Lionel Roberts Stadium that will be a V.I. Carnival Committee tribute to Lord Kitchener. "Some of us, we've formed a band," committee chair Kenneth Blake, also known as calypsonian Lord Blakey, said. Among those singing, he said, will be himself and Glenn "Kwabena" Davis.
Kitchener, to quote Caribbean Beat on-line writer David Tindall, was "a man whose life is melody -- someone who has done for calypso and steelband what Duke Ellington did for jazz." (Tindall wrote those words in a profile marking Kitchener's 75th birthday.)
It's said that Kitchener composed more than a thousand songs in a career that began at the age of 15, when he made his debut in a "bamboo tent" in his hometown. In 1944, he went to Port of Spain to sing in one of the established tents, and two years later, he started his own. Also in 1944, he composed the first calypso for a steelpan orchestra, launching a long-lasting association with the emerging pan movement. He made his first tour of the English-speaking Caribbean in 1947 and went to England a year later, where he lived until 1963, when he returned to Trinidad. Even during his years abroad, he dominated Trinidad's calypso scene, producing a record number of winning carnival road marches.
Singing and accompanying himself on guitar, Kitchener won fans with his simplicity of themes, unusual chord patterns and tuneful melodies, according to the biographical information on display at the Fort Christian exhibit. "He enabled calypso to take its rightful place alongside jazz, opera and all other internationally known music," it states.
For more background information, check out the V.I. Carnival Committee's new website, www.vicarnival.com. In the '60s and '70s Kitchener hits such as "Mama Dis Is Mas," "Rain-O-Rama" and "Sugar Bum Bum" "ruled the airways of the Caribbean," the website text notes. "As an international participant in the Calypso Revue, his charismatic stage presence at the Lionel Roberts Stadium will be missed."
The room to your right as you enter the museum's Temporary Gallery Space is the one to visit first. Hanging there are 23 pictures of Kitchener performing, relaxing or posing with other famous folks. Another 14 are scenes from his funeral cortege and service in Port of Spain. Anyone who knows a lot about old-time calypso will recognize many of the people in these pictures -- fellow calypsonians bearing the casket, longtime archrival Sparrow and Sugar Aloes singing a duet, Sparrow weeping, Chalkdust and many more gathered to pay their last respects.
Perhaps the most poignant picture, though, is in the "alive and well" section. Titled "With a future calypsonian," it's a recent close-up of Kitch seated, dressed in suit, tie and trilby, gazing toward some unseen action, perhaps some young calypsonian performing. To his right, the viewer's left, sits a boy about 10 years old, also peering soberly at the unseen attraction. He's dressed in a suit, shirt, tie and hat, the very embodiment of his mentor.
On the walls of the second gallery room are color photos of the covers of 35 Lord Kitchener record albums, along with an alphabetical listing of 358 songs he composed. A couple of the covers document his forays into soca, and one, appearing to be from the '70s, is titled "Melodies of the 21st Century."
While a backup chorus of provocatively posed young women was his stock in trade, Kitchener was the picture of decorum, sartorially speaking. . . almost. Several of the early album jackets show him in a spangled long-sleeved white shirt and trousers, wearing a wide-brim hat. Some of the suits he wore in his later career with formal shirt and tie were suitable for a funeral, but others of the same cut were in tropical-hot hues of melon, yellow and nearly neon red.
At the by-invitation opening reception on Wednesday, a television set in the first gallery room continuously played a video of Kitchener performing. Among those present to enjoy the sights and sounds were Gov. Turnbull, the Carnival queen, prince and princess, Chalkdust (Hollis Liverpool, who flew into St. Thomas just that afternoon to take part in the tributes), assorted other dignitaries and Carnival Committee members.
Blake said the video set-up was only for the reception. However, he said he would look into setting up an audio player so that listening to the music of the Grandmaster could be a part of the gallery experience for visitors.
The exhibit will be open to viewing through the morning of Food Fair day, Wednesday, May 3. Regular museum hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Calypso Revue I begins at 8 p.m. Friday in the stadium. Taking part in the regular show Friday -- and, according to Blake, also at Saturday's Calypso Revue II, if arrangements can be made -- will be Kernell Roberts, Kitchener's son. "He will be singing some of his father's music," Blake said.
For Friday, admission is $12 in advance and $15 at the gate. For Saturday, it's $15 and $20. Ticket outlets are Family Health Center, International Records and Tapes, Krystal & Gifts Galore, Modern Music/Havensight, Nisky Pharmacy, Parrot Fish Music, T&P Cash and Carry and St. John Drug Center.