Take a look at a bit of calypso history | Letters to the Editor

My sister drew me to Spoilo and Kitchie at a very young age, and I never turned away from them – only to add Maestro.

My dad always said “wait until you hear Kitchener before you choose ah Road March”.

What I will add is pure conjecture on my part.

Kitchener recorded over 100 songs in England, and with the exception of a few they were about English life. His last recording was “Edna, What Yuh Want” in 1957. He must have heard what was going on back home and maybe he realized he was “out of tune”.

The next set of songs he recorded, and I could be wrong, was “Love in the Cemetery”, among other things, showing that he was back on track, but that was in 1962, about five years after “Edna”.

Over the next three years, he won the Road March with “The Road”, “Mama Dis is Mas” and “My Pussin”.

Some time after that, Kitch made a video based on “Cemetery”, showing that he was also a great actor.

In 1966 he had “Ting Tang” and “My Brother and Your Sister” as suitors, but was beaten by Sparrow singing a Maestro song (I’m told).

There was a rumor that several bands were paid to play Sparrow’s tune when they reached Savannah, where the Road March count took place.

It continued to be a rumor until Lord Melody recorded a song called “Desperadoes”.

Desperados made a mistake

The tune they played was wrong

How could they leave out Conqueror

Or King Fighter, the hot man in town.

Melody went on to mention that steelbands accept “paper”.

Kitchie prepared for the next year and, with Ron Berridge’s new band, created the best calypso Carnival album of all time, 67, with, for me, Maestro’s second Fiery.

I should mention here that he changed the name from Leggo to Road March.

One of his pet peeves was that the Calypso King got more prizes than the man who moved Carnival, even going so far as to add his own.

Having proved he could write a Road March, he moved on to pan music to give many pan arrangers great melodies to work with.

Again, suitors were at his feet, so in 1987 he wrote ‘Pan in A minor’…end of story. He moved on to “Twelve Bar Joan” again.

Ask most calypso fans who’s better on stage: Birdie or Kitchie? Most would choose Birdie.

I happened to be at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1957; Sparrow just couldn’t make up for what Kitch had left, no matter how hard he tried. It also happened at Madison Square Garden, and one could well imagine what happened when he sang “Mas in Madison Square Garden” there as well.

Lord Melody told me he was Kitchener’s bodyguard while they were both in England.

I’ve always wondered where the Calypsonians go after Carnival. To find The Grand Master, one had to go to the Breton Hall Hotel, where he could be seen and heard slamming bass chords on a double bass with Ralph Davies’ band.

Imagine that!

Teddy Pinheiro



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