Kenyan-Born British Folk Singer & Whistler Roger Whittaker Dies In France.

Extract From song
My Land Is Kenya
by Roger Whittaker.

“You only got one mama, you only got one pa.
You only got one life to live, no matter who you are.
You can go the whole world over, every city has its dawn,
But everybody liveth has one place where he was born.”

Earlier this month we learned, sadly, of the passing of British Folk singer-songwriter and musician Roger (Henry Brough) Whittaker aged 87 years, (22nd March 1936 – 13th September 2023).
Mr Whittaker was born in Nairobi, [name translated means ‘place of cool waters’] latter the capital and largest city of Kenya, to parents from Staffordshire, England.

His popular folk music; guitar skills; his trademark whistling ability, together with his baritone singing voice offered an eclectic mix of popular songs which made him instantly recognisable on the airways from the summer of 1962 onwards, and his appearance on the Ulster Television show “This and That” in the same year.

In 1964, Mr Whittaker met Ms Natalie O’Brien, and they married in August of that year. They had five children: two sons Guy, and Alexander and three daughters Emily, Lauren, and Jessica; who in turn gave them 11 grandchildren.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Mr Whittaker had great success in Germany, releasing 25 albums and although he was unable to speak German, he sang his songs phonetically. He earned a “Golden Tuning Fork” (Goldene Stimmgabel in Germany) in 1986, based on record sales and TV viewer votes.
He appeared on German television and was on the UK Top of the Pops show, on several occasions in the 1970s.
In 1986, Mr Whittaker published his autobiography, entitled “So Far, So Good”, which was co-written with his wife, latter who became his manager in 1989.

Having sold nearly 50 million records; his success will be widely remembered through his song hits like “Steel Men” (1962); “Durham Town (The Leavin’)” (1969); “New World in the Morning” (1970); “My Land Is Kenya” (1970); “The Last Farewell” (1975); “Skye Boat Song”; “Wind Beneath My Wings” (1982) and “Skye Boat Song” (1986).

On April 1st 1989, Mr Whittaker’s parents, while still living in Kenya, were subjected to a brutal attack by a gang of four men. During this attack, his mother was tortured for some eight hours and sadly his father was murdered. The attack resulted in his mother moving back to England.

After recovering from heart problems Mr Whittaker and his wife Natalie retired to live France in 2012, and retired from touring in 2013.

During his career, Mr Whittaker earned over 250 silver, gold, and platinum awards and was part of a successful British team that won the annual ‘Knokke Music Festival’ in Belgium, winning the Press Prize as the ‘personality of the festival’. He was awarded a ‘Gold Badge Award’, from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) in 1988.

Mr Whittaker was cremated and interned in a private ceremony on Saturday, September 16th, 2023 last.

In ár gcroíthe go deo.


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