Singing Windrush: Calypso in Britain Podcasts
Episode One: London is the Place for Me
‘London is the place for me, London this lovely city'. So sang Trinidadian calypso singer Aldwyn 'Lord Kitchener' Roberts as he disembarked at Tilbury Docks in June 1948 from the now iconic MV Empire Windrush. Shown to millions on that evening’s news, Kitchener’s words convey the optimism and excitement of embarking on a new life. Kitchener’s song exemplifies how, for many Windrush-era migrants, a cultural form native to their old lives in Trinidad offered a prism through which to narrate and make sense of their new lives in London. To coincide with the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush our three-part podcast follows in the footsteps of famous calypsonian Lord Kitchener, using his life as a way to consider calypso culture and the experience in Britain of Windrush migrants more broadly.
Episode Two: Sweet Jamaica
In the years that followed calypsonian Lord Kitchener’s triumphant ‘London is the Place For Me’ - sang as he disembarked from the Windrush in 1948 - darker sides to London life became apparent. Faced with racism and homesickness, Kitchener and others used their music both as a place to express themselves and tell people back home in the Caribbean about their lives. It was not all bad though; bringing people together with shared experiences of discrimination, migration and a passion for music, Kitchener’s calypso contributed to both new fusion sounds and reshaped identities.
Episode Three: Cricket, Lovely Cricket
On 29 June 1950, the West Indies completed an emphatic victory over England at Lord’s, their first ever on English soil. The victory, celebrated wildly that day by the team’s supporters in London, was immortalised forever in the song, ‘Cricket, Lovely Cricket’. This third and final episode explores how Caribbean migrants made London, and Britain, the place for them: through cricketing victories, carnivals, and political organising. As they did so, Lord Kitchener and others also turned their gaze abroad to capture the spirit of decolonisation. On the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush, the calypsos they produced on Britain and its empire remain as relevant as ever.
Narrated by Michael Curtis Ruiz
Featuring Tobago Crusoe, John Cowley, Josh Guild, Kennetta Hammond Perry, Felix Luis Ruiz, Sharon Watson
Produced by Gwendolen von Einsiedel, Jake Thorold and Michael Joseph
Oxford and Empire, TORCH Networks