On Thursday 14 October 2021 Keith Cudjoe, better known as Keety General, passed away after being seriously ill for a few weeks.
My earliest memory of Keety dates from the early 1990s when I was DJing at Southall Community Centre, as was his sound, 24ct Golden Touch. Over the years that followed we were on many bills together, which gave us an opportunity to have some amazing conversations about music and life in general.
Keety came from Grenada; more specifically, his family originated from Carriacou. That background gave him a special passion for not just Grenada but also for Carriacou and Petit Martinique. He represented the entire region wherever he went.
As MC for 24ct Golden Touch, Keety excelled as a lyricist and his first calling as an artiste was on the dancehall scene in the mid-1980s. It wasn’t long before he started to dabble with soca riddims and quite quickly found his niche as a ragga-soca artist. Keety will always be remembered for his collaboration with Cyril of The Shango Band and their remake of Grenada May God Bless You.
Keety’s Grenada Story and Carnival Story are both really informative tracks with insightful nuggets of information about Grenada and the history of Notting Hill Carnival. Keety’s first soca recording (together with Squeezy) was Ragga Salsa in 1996.
Over the three decades that I knew Keety General, I realised that he possessed many talents. He was a DJ, MC, soundman, promoter and artiste on the music scene; he was a mentor, educator and personal trainer too. At his nine-night celebration, he was referred to as “a road man with a degree” – one of the most dangerous combinations you can have. He saw the good in people where others couldn’t, and he was forever encouraging people.
Keety General was a family man and a devoted father to his two daughters. He was also a man of the community. The online tributes have highlighted just how many people were blessed by knowing him one way or another.
It is hard to condense three decades of friendship into just a few words, but I hope this conveys a picture of an incredible human being who was a true icon of our Caribbean community here in the UK – truly “The Voice of the People”. General, may you rest in power.
Keety General’s funeral was held on Thursday 25 November 2021 at the Parish Church of St John Evangelise in Kilburn, West London, he was cremated at the Kensal Green Crematorium. In honour of his Grenadian heritage, the dress code for the funeral was red, yellow and green.