The Empire Windrush, after which the Windrush generation was named

Welcome back to the Richmond Read-along! Today we are reading song lyrics by Lord Kitchener, in celebration of Windrush Day. Born Aldwyn Roberts, Lord Kitchener was the stage name of a musician who was already enjoying immense success before coming to Britain on the “Empire Windrush,” the ship the Windrush generation was named after. Upon reaching shore and disembarking, Lord Kitchener was immediately set upon by the media. He obliged the microphone thrust into his face by giving an impromptu performance which he later recorded as “London is the place for me.” This upbeat and incredibly catchy song was just a taste of the calypso music that would come to be played at clubs across Britain, and especially in London, as people from Commonwealth countries brought their culture to the “mother country.” Calypso was just one of the styles of black music that led to the popular music revolution of the 1950s and beyond, providing a legacy that continues to this day in modern music of all genres.

We are reading the first lyrics of “London is the place for me;” you can hear the full song, recorded by Lord Kitchener, on YouTube or your preferred music streaming site.

“London is the place for me
London, this lovely city
You can go to France or America
India, Asia or Australia
But you must come back to London city

Well believe me I am speaking broad-mindedly
I am glad to know my mother country
I’ve been travelling to countries years ago
But this is the place I wanted to know
London, that’s the place for me.”

While this song isn’t available on our Naxos Music Library streaming service, you can find arrangements of other Lord Kitchener songs on there. Read more about Lord Kitchener, calypso music and its influence in this article from the British Library.

Join us tomorrow for the next Richmond Read-along!