Bertram "Butch" Kelman was born in St Madeline, Trinidad.
From a young child he always observed steelbands on his way to and from school and his interest in steelpan tuning became evident before he reached double figures.
He formed his own steelband before moving on to join the National Steel Orchestra (NSO) in his early 20s. It was at the NSO he mastered the art of tuning.
His prominence as a tuner began in the late 1960s when he started to tune for the Hatters Steel Orchestra and the Guiness Cavaliers Steel Orchestra. Word spread and it was not long before he was enlisted to tune for steelbands in the north, east and west of Trinidad.
However, Butch Kelman is most famously known for his partnership with Jit Samaroo and the Amoco Renegades Steel Orchestra.
He began tuning for the Renegades in 1969 and introduced Jit Samaroo to the Renegades in 1971 when an opportunity arose for him to fill the position of arranger. Butch at this time was also tuning for another steelband where Jit was a member.
Between 1980 and 1997, the Amoco Renegades won nine Panorama competitions, came second three times and third three times.
In 2007 Butch Kelman was commended for his contribution to the design and build of the G-pan.
Along the way he tuned pans for the Silver Stars, Power Stars, Starlift, Desperadoes, Samoroo Jets, Solo Harmonites,Phase II Pan Groove, Invaders, Starlift, Hatters, Coca Cola Silver Starts, Skiffle Bunch, Lever Brothers Canboulay and many others.