The sweet sounds of Lord Kitchener’s Pan in A Minor serenade viewers as they enter the rotunda of the National Library of Port of Spain, where the National Library and Information System Authority (Nalis) pays tribute to the calypsonian with its 100 Years of Food.
A biography of Aldwyn “Lord Kitchener” Roberts, known as The Grandmaster, details major events in his life, from his birth in Arima in 1922, his early performances between 1936 and 1939, and his involvement with the Traveling Brigade , the Victory Tent , and The Young Brigade.
He recounts his years abroad in Aruba, Curaçao, Jamaica and London, including his “storming” of the Lord’s Cricket Ground when the West Indies cricket team won their match against England, as well as his return to Trinidad in 1963, after which he won the Road March in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975 and 1976, a record which has yet to be equaled. His music has been chosen by many Panorama winners for many years and has been reinterpreted for numerous instrumental and vocal arrangements.
The exhibit further features Kitchener’s awards, including his refusal of the Chaconia Prize in 1993, his appearance on postage stamps in 1994, the erection of a statue of him at St James’s in 1995, and the honorary doctorate of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) was awarded to him posthumously in 2017.
Roberts died of cancer in 2000.
His memory is kept at the Rainorama Palace Museum, in his former home at 610 Diego Martin Main Road, Diego Martin.
Pictures of Kitchener are on display along with other legendary artists such as Beryl McBurnie and Drupatee Ramgoonai, along with live entertainment, relaxation and reading. Visitors can also view original vinyl records, CDs of his music, medals and awards given to Kitchener during his lifetime and posthumously, as well as biographies and other books featuring and mentioning the great master.
Of particular interest is the gold record presented to Kitchener by Charlie’s Record Shop in New York after his song Sugar Bum Bum sold 500,000 copies; the keys and license plate of the last car driven by the Grand Master; and a pair of his reading glasses.
The exhibition also features exhibits on the origins of carnival, including French and African contributions to the festival.
It also presents a history of calypso music, its origins in Canboulay and its evolution.
The exhibition runs until April 19 and admission is free.