Kelvin ‘Mighty Duke’ Pope Passes Away

The Mighty Duke’s Send-Off – January 22, 2009 Reporters
January 14, 2009
Updated: January 15, 2009

One of Calypso’s greatest icons Kelvin ‘Mighty Duke’ Pope passed away earlier today. Mighty Duke, who was diagnosed with myelofibrosis – a serious bone marrow disorder that disrupts the body’s normal production of blood cells – has succumbed to this illness ending a battle of over four years. His wife Rebecca, one of his sons, Wendell, and Hollis ‘Chalkdust’ Liverpool were at his side when he passed.

Born in 1932 in Point Fortin, South Trinidad, ‘Duke’ over the years became renowned not only for delivering social commentary – political and witty, humorous songs with equal skill, dignity and lyrical mastery – but also for his stately stage presence and for being one of the best-dressed Calypsonians.

The Duke, as he was lovingly called, is the only Calypsonian in Trinidad and Tobago’s history to have won the Calypso Monarch title four consecutive times: 1968 with “What is Calypso” and “Social Bacchanal”, 1969 with “Black is Beautiful” and “One Foot Visina”, 1970 with “Brotherhood of Man” and “See Through” and 1971 with “Mathematical Formula” and “Melvie and Yvonne”. He also won the Road March Title with “Thunder” in 1987. As a Calypsonian, Duke was a master lyricist who was not only interested in local issues, but over a career which lasted more than 50 years demonstrated the importance of a global awareness. With such songs as “How Many More Must Die” and “Apartheid” he was a vocal critic of colonialism and apartheid in Africa. In 1970, Mighty Duke was honored with the Humming Bird gold medal for his musical accomplishments.

Speaking with, COTT president Lutalo ‘Brother Resistance’ Masimba said that the Mighty Duke, who has been in and out of hospital for blood transfusions, passed away at about 1.05 p.m. today at the Ellerslie Private hospital in Maraval. Brother Resistance stated that Mighty Duke has always been a light for the Network Riddum Band, the Rapso movement and the Calypso fraternity in general. Duke also supported the People’s Mall in “a certain and definite way,” for which he would always be remembered. Brother Resistance also said that the Duke’s passing leaves, “a deep hurt in a personal way,” but also a celebration for his lifelong achievements and commitment to the Calypso industry. Duke would be remembered as one of the greatest chantwells in the history of Calypso, concluded Resistance.

The Duke lived a long and fulfilling life recording Calypsos from 1964. His Calypsos remain a living testament to the momentous contribution of this mighty Trinbago Icon and he will be remembered for his passion for the Calypso art form. Below is a list of some of the songs that he recorded over the years:

1964 – Woop Wap; Racial Segregation
1968 – What Is Calypso, Social Bacchanal
1969 – All Night, Tonight; Black Is Beautiful; Bring It Back; One Foot Visina
1970 – Beast for Sale; Brotherhood of Man; See Through
1971 – Carnival in Trinidad
1973 – Tonight
1974 – Ah Never Do That; Ah Wish Ah Was; Axe Handle Freda; Class Is Class; Cock of the Rock
1977 – Uhuru; Mr. Jarvis; Be Yourself; Black Is Back; Calypso Will Never Die; The Cannibals; Carnival Fire
1978 – Barbers Complaints; Black Woman; Carnival Time 1979 – Bam Bam Oui; Do What You Doing
1980 – Freaking Streaking
1981 – Answer the Question; A Point of Direction
1982 – Mystery of Life; No Man But Me; Advantage; Babylon Go Fall
1983 – Love Me All Over; DJ Honeyneedle
1984 – Rock Meh; Land of Love
1985 – Ah Got The Feeling; Apartheid; Artificial World
1986 – How Many More Must Die; Treat Your Woman Nice; Ah Want You To Love Me
1987 – Thunder
1988 – Outrageous; Pan in Yuh Rookcung-Kertungcung; Acid Wash
1989 – Yahhh Hhhh; Ah Tired Do That
1991 – Get on Radical
1992 – Rocket in Yuh Pocket
1993 – Role Model; Yuh Come to Dance
1994 – Soca Have Meh Tu Bey
1995 – Don’t Destroy Calypso; Get A Life
1996 – Play Yourself; Furhman
2001 – Memories of the Year
2000 – Things Change Up; Horn Proof; There’s No Excuse

Kelvin ‘Mighty Duke’ Pope Homepage

Kelvin ‘Mighty Duke’ Pope in pictures

Statement from the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs.


On behalf of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs and by extension the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, and on my own behalf, I extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved left by Kelvin Pope, known on stage as the Mighty Duke.

In the 1930s, Duke was born in Point Fortin, a community known for its extraordinary number of entertainers. It was also in this oil town where his social conscience was formed. Duke grew up in a home where calypso was a staple and it was only natural that he would join the calypso fraternity as a prolific composer. He wrote his first song in the 1950s.

The Mighty Duke accomplished a feat that many say may never be repeated in calypso history. He earned the moniker “a Pope, a Duke and a King” when he set a record as the quadruple winner of the crown, Calypso King of the World, at four consecutive Dimanche Gras shows from 1968 – 1971.

He was regarded by many as being on par with Calypso stalwarts like Aldwin “Kitchener” Roberts, who also died during a Carnival season. Among the Mighty Duke’s early contemporaries were Maestro, Stalin, Power, Ras Shorty I and Composer.

The career of this national calypso icon spanned over four decades during which he made an invaluable contribution to Trinidad and Tobago’s calypso heritage. The national community will miss not only his gentlemanly demeanour but also his unique sartorial elegance.

May he rest in peace.

Honourable Marlene McDonald

1995 – Don’t Destroy Calypso

Related News:

The Duke who was King
By SUZANNE SHEPPARD Saturday, January 17 2009
HE STOOD tall physically and musically, dominating the world of calypso and earning his place as one of the icons of the artform in a career than spanned more than five decades.

Duke to be honoured in PoS, Pt Fortin January 17, 2009
Veteran calypsonian Hollis Liverpool (Chalkdust) said yesterday his late comrade Kelvin Pope’s beloved classic How Many More Must Die will be sung at his send-off at Coronation Park, Pt Fortin, on January 22nd.

Mc Donald mourns Duke January 17, 2009
CULTURE Minister Marlene Mc Donald said the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) has pledged to assist the family of the late Kelvin “Duke” Pope with funeral costs, as she vowed to also help where required.

Just a tribute
Black Prince on ‘controversial’ song about Mighty Duke:
January 17, 2009
Now, with Kelvin Pope’s passing on Wednesday, Prince is wondering if the song, which is based on the robbery and assault of the late calypsonian on Holy Thursday (March 17) last year, will be called to question for either upholding or degrading the icon’s image.

Duke to be buried next week
Funeral arrangements for Kelvin Pope – “The Mighty Duke” are still being finalised, but it may take place next Wednesday or Thursday.

Duke is dead
The Mighty Duke is dead.

‘Mister Carnival’ no more
VETERAN calypsonian Mighty Duke (Kelvin Pope), described by many within the fraternity as ‘Mister Carnival’, died yesterday at Ellerslie Private Hospital after a long battle with bone marrow cancer. He was 76.

Kaiso greats sing praises to a champion

Tributes pour in

A gifted songwriter

Duke was good not great

The Dying Art—penned for ’09 Monarch contest

The Mighty Duke’s Send-Off January 22, 2009

58 thoughts on “Kelvin ‘Mighty Duke’ Pope Passes Away”

  1. May the Mighty Duke rest in peace. I trust he will be remembered for his contribution to our Culture.
    Maryland, USA

  2. My Condolences to the Mighty Duke’s family, his legacy will be remembered by all whose lives he has touched. RIP Mr. Duke, you are in a better place.

  3. We are truly saddened by the Mighty Duke’s passing. A true legend of his time, his calypsoes will live on in our minds and in the calypso world. May he rest in peace.
    Our condolences to the Pope family.

  4. Our Deepest condolences to the Pope Family .Duke you have done us proud. I’m so happy to have met you on your last visit to London, you had me laughting .Thanks you and may you keep singing up in heaven.Rest in Peace..Sharon Richards-Ross &Family

  5. The programme Vintage Showcase will present a tribute to the Mighty Duke this Sunday, January 18th from 4 pm (AST) on Heritage Radio 101.7 FM (Trinidad).

  6. Kelvin Pope was a Tenant of mine for the past 3 months,and i got to know him for that short time he was here and i must say he was one of the most beautiful person that i had ever known…may he rest in peace…..bobbyb

  7. My condolences go out to his family, the calypso fraternity and his dear friend Chalkdust. This is a monumental loss to the artform and culture in general. He was immaculate in all that he did as a calypsonian. I have enjoyed his music over the years and do hope that they are properly archived for prosterity.

    May God have mercy on his soul and rest assured the memories of him are only pleasant and educational ones.

    Rest in peace, your work was well done.


  9. My deepest condolences to the Pope Family. Duke join your fella calypsonians Lord Kitchener, Roaring Lion, etc as you sing sweet calypso in Heaven. May he Rest in Peace

  10. may he rest in condolences to the Pope family. as a child of pt.fortin i must say you made us sooooo proud while never forgeting your will be truly missed MR.DUKE

  11. Sympathy to the Pope family. Thoroughly enjoyed his music. From the Sherriff/Woods families – T&T

  12. To the family of the Mighty Duke, our heartfelt condolences.

    We here in Canada who had opportunity to work with him through his art form, will remember with sweet sorrow this GIANT.

    The corners of the world that he touched will glow less brightly with his passing.

    God Bless,

    Cheryl Antoine
    Ottawa Canada

  13. My condolences to the family of Mr Pope, Mighty Duke. I have enjoyed his music over the years from as far back as 1962-“The days of all days to remember, When we march thru d streets wit our Premier,”Monkey know what tree to climb,” & the one he gave Nello which is the sweetest calypso for me, “Meh Lover.”
    Let us prepare ourselves to meet our God!


  14. My deepest sympathy to the family, we have lost a great composer, singer, entertainer, performer and human being. I hope the Ministry of Culture would take a minuet of silence, pinch their self and give the Brother a royal send off.

  15. a deep lost one of the best of all times i love all Kelvin Pope music
    since i was a lil boy i played duke music and love it at all times & i will keep playing it more now since that is all i have now untill i past & will not be geting any more i spoke to him last carnival 2008 i ask him how he was doing he said to me (i am hanging in there)
    i wish he had some more time but i dont have the power to give that but i hope trinidad & tobago honor him with respect the Mighty Duke
    Kelvin Pope a icon of trinidad

  16. the mighty Duke would be remembered here in Miami for his outstanding performance at the first Trinidad and Tohago Nurses Association mother’s day concert. may he rest in peace.

    cassim perez

  17. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Mighty Duke’s family. May he rest in peace and continue to sing sweet melody from heaven. He will be greatly missed.

  18. I will miss my uncle Mighty Duke and I know he’s in abetter place right now may he rest in peace Rebecca keep strong and daddy you be strong also. from his nephews AGYEI,JUNIOR,his neice-in-law DIANNE BENNETTE.

  19. Sad to know that this has happened RIP.A great man indeed. I did not expect this.I remember when The Duke And Duane O’Connor was together onstage at the dimanche Gras Show the song “Satorial Elegance”. See O’connor and Duke on

  20. My deepest condolences to the Pope Family,Sorry though that we (trinbagonians) only remember and acknowledge the great ones when they pass away.

  21. my condolences go out to Duke’s family,u will be missed,remembered,
    an loved. Wat a great loss

  22. I am sorry to hear of Duke’s passing. He was a genius and my country has lost a dear son. My deepest sympathy to his loved ones

  23. my deepest sampathy i had the pleasure of meeting duke at one of my beauty school graduation.keep on singing in heaven.

  24. Another legend passes on…Thank you for your contributions to calypsoe, soca and carnival. Kitch, Byron Lee and Mystro welcomes you with open arms. R.I.P Mighty Duke.

  25. I am so sorry that such an icon has left us. All my sympathy goes out to his family and close friends. May you find comfort in knowing that he left a legacy for us all. He was greatly love and will be missed.

  26. Dear Mrs. Pope,
    As we prepare to celebrate the distinguished life and career of icon “Duke” be assured that his profound contribution to our “Art Form” will not be lost. His memory will live on. Warmest condolences to the entire family.

    The Hosein Family.

Comments are closed.