August 06, 2011

Jump in the line (Shake Señora) | Lord Kitchener

Can you say who wrote the song "Jump in Line" (Of Shake Señora fame)? Stop the press|read on... The original 'Jump in the line' was written and sung by Aldwyn Roberts... Yes Kitchie, the great Lord Kitchener from Arima, Trinidad! However, as further research has revealed, Lord Invader took the chorus from Lord Kitchener's "Jump in the Line and Wag Your Body in Time" and added his verses to create his song aka Labor Day (Jump in the Line). Link to Source page here (Pg.17): Link 
Here is an excerpt from the log:
"While the verses are Invader's, the chorus is based on another popular Lord Kitchener calypso from 1946. "Jump in the Line and Wag Your Body in Time (Victory Calypsoes, 1946: 15)

It was in 1946 that Lord Kitchener had his first major success with a trio of songs that swept the Carnival of that year. According to the website article on the life of Lord Kitchener  that can be sourced at the following  web link:, "it was not until 1946 that he had his first big success. He had a hat trick consisting of "Tie Tongue Mopsy," "Chinese Never Had a VJ Day," and "Jump In the Line."  Most people associate the song with Harry Belafonte because as a singer of calypsos, written and originally sung by Trinidadians, he was able to capture the imagination of the American public.  His accent and style was palatable to the Americans unlike the Trinidadians with their 'strong' Trinidad accent. Even to this day it is difficult for most Americans visiting the islands to understand the Trinidad vernacular English.

One must congratulate Mr. Belafonte for his success and for putting calypso on the World map; but at the same time, it is a crying shame that the efforts and abilities for the Trinidadian artists go in vain! This song 'Jump in Line' was written and performed by Lord Kitchener in 1946 and remade by Mr. Belafonte in 1961 with the Shake Senora caption. Now one must also take into consideration that 'Jump in the Line' was also done  by  Lord Invader in 1955 (Labor Day, Calypso on Folkways label 1955) and by Lord Flea (Swingin' Calypsos Capitol Records 1957); Belafonte did his medley in 1961! Lord Flea was a Jamaican Mento Singer who did a cover of the Lord Invader's version. It is interesting to note that in the 1957 version the 'shake senora' words are very noticeable. I mention this because most people identify the 'Senora' with the 1961 version released by Harry Belafonte. It is clear to see and hear that there were many covers of Lord Kitchener's hit song but he is not credited for his creativity! Most people in North America don't know about Lord Kitchener... If you ask them they will tell you that it is Belafonte's song!  Some people think that the songs are different because of the lyrics and the uptempo style of later versions. However, in this day of copyright infringement there is no way that these can stand as different songs. The words and music in the Belefonte's version have been credited to Stephen Somvel with no mention of Lord Kitchener!

Interestingly, if you go to the website who sampled ( you will find the following record trail:
  • Lord Flea in 1957 sampled 'Jump in Line' from Lord Invader's 1955 recording
  • Harry Belafonte in 1961 sampled Lord Flea's 1957 version of the song
  • Pitbull in 2011 sampled Harry Belafonte's 1961 version. 
Kenny Phillips of Wack Radio fame through Mr. Ray Funk came up with some interesting information that even credits Raphael DeLeon (Roaring Lion) as having claim to the song "Jump in Line". In all of this Lord Kitchener got left out! Will we ever know the truth? Your guess is as good as the next person scratching their head.

However, it gets more interesting and clearly shows the state of affairs in the early years. The following was sourced from "Shake Senora is an energetic song that was later a hit for Harry Belafonte, as "Jump In The Line". It had been recorded in the early 1950s as "Jump In The Line" by clarinetist and big band leader Woody Herman. Herman credited the composer as "traditional".

Here is a clip from Wikipedia:
"Jump In the Line" is a song composed by Trinidadian calypsonian Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) and won the 1946 Trinidad Carnival Road March. It was recorded by Harry Belafonte in 1961 (credited to his pseudonym Raymond Bell on the disc label). It was released on the album Jump Up Calypso, and was later featured in the films, Beetlejuice and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. It was also recorded by Lord Fly and Joseph Spence in 1958. In 1998, the song was covered by American rock/swing band the Cherry Poppin' Daddies for the soundtrack to the movie BASEketball.
via Wikipedia

Since the original version of the song was released there have been many remakes done over the years by other calypsonians and of course American singers. The most famous of the lot is Harry Belafonte's version. However, in 2011 we have a remake done by Pitbull with help from T-Pain, Sean Paul, and Ludacris.  These guys are money makers and it would be interesting to see how well this version of the song does. These singers have mass appeal in the North American Music scene especially with the 'young crowd'. Most of the music sold today is done via mp3 music downloads via the internet rather than through CD or even vinyl record sales (yes vinyl is making a comeback). If these guys can breathe new life into calypso then the legend of Lord Kitchener will continue to live on even though he left this world eleven years ago (died 02/11/2000). Long live Calypso music!

Listed below are various versions of the song, Jump in the line aka Shake Senora that you can listen to... It is quite possible that Lord Kitchener's version was never recorded. In 1946 Calypsonians were travelling to New York to record their music. Lord Kitchener apparently did not or was not able to go to New York to record the song. It is quite possible that someone out there has a recording of the song. If you do please email a copy to and I will add it to the list below.

Pitbull - Shake Señora (Remix) (ft. T-Pain , Sean Paul and Ludacris)

Addendum 08/24/2011:
This is a separate article on the blog but added here to complete this thread

Jump in the Line | Original recording by Raymond "Atilla the Hun" Quevado?
I recently did a post regarding the song 'Jump in the line' aka Shake Senora that was recently recorded by rapper Armando Christian Pérez aka "Pitbull". In that article I made the case that the original jump in the line was done by Lord Kitchener in 1946. That song went on to become the road march in that year and was subsequently used by Lord Invader for his song entitled Labor Day (Jump in the line).
Well the story just got a little complicated. I found an article written by Piero Scaruffi entitled "A brief summary of Latin-American Popular music". In that article there is a section on Trinidad's Calypso music. The paragraph gives a brief history of calypso in Trinidad but sheds light on the beginnings of the early music with a special reference to Raymond "Atilla the Hun" Quevado.

Here is a clip from the article that piqued my interest:
"Other classics of the early era were Raymond "Attila The Hun" Quevedo's West Indian Federation (1933), Women Will Rule the World (1935) and Calypso Behind The Wall, later covered by Belafonte as Jump In The Line, Frederick "Wilmoth Houdini" Hendricks' War Declaration (1934) and He Had It Coming (1939), covered by Louis Jordan as Stone Cold Dead in the Market (1946), Neville "Growling Tiger" Marcano'sMoney is King (1935), Norman "King Radio" Span's Matilda (1938), Rupert "Lord Invader" Grant's Don't Stop the Carnival (1939) and Rum and Coca Cola (1944), Aldwyn "Lord Kitchener" Roberts' Tie Tongue Mopsy (1946), Irvin Burgie's Day O and Island in the Sun, both covered by Belafonte."

In other words Harry Belafonte sampled the Calypso Behind the Wall for "Jump in the Line as per the following: The melody of Atilla's "Calypso Behind The Wall" was popularized by American singer Harry Belafonte who recorded it as "Jump In The Line."
This composition "Calypso Behind The Wall" was done long before Lord Kitchener's song Jump in the line" was released in 1946 and Mr. Belafonte's release of the song in 1961. This changes everything and the search for an answer to the question continues: Who owns the 'rights' to the song "Jump in the line" aka Shake Senora? It is apparent that the originators of the melody were not recognized or possibly compensated by the person(s) who sampled the song, "Calypso Behind The Wall"

Here is a link to a version of the song "Calypso Behind The Wall" as done by Errol Duke aka "The Growler". This song is part of a Rounder CD of various artists entitled "Fall of Man: Calypsos on the Human Condition 1935-1941".
Listen for similarities to the song Jump in the Line: Song 



3 Responses to " Jump in the line (Shake Señora) | Lord Kitchener "
  1. Anonymous said...
    April 6, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    There are several songs/melodies which we credit Kitchener for but which are not his own, one is- Old lady run a mile and a half- its originally Lion's. Doreen you leave your clothes behind in de bamboo- is not Kitchener's melody either and there are others.

    The melody of King Radio's super hit "Matilda" was sang by Attila in the 20's it was a road march called "Mavis" or Powder me all over" It was written as a jingle/commercial for a body powder called Mavis.
    Anyway, in the old days they used each others melodies, it was the norm. This custom was used against calypsonians when they tried to claim their copy rights in the USA. It complicated their case given the fact that several singers had used the melody. Look at the case of Rum & Coca Cola.

  2. John Leonhardt said...
    June 16, 2015 at 12:00 AM

    Even Robert Mitchum covered this popular song.

  3. John Leonhardt said...
    June 16, 2015 at 12:01 AM

    Even Robert Mitchum covered this popular song.


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