Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 15th 2017 Contents tobagotoday.co.tt February 15 - 2017
Lessons from the
Queen of Calypso
She has claimed the title "Queen of Calypso"
, and right-
ly so. And Rose McCartha Linda Sandy Lewis, Calypso Rose,
is now, according to the French, the Queen of World music,
having been honoured with a Victoires de la Musique Award,
widely described as the "French Grammys"
, for her hit song
"Leave Me Alone"
, on her latest album, "Far From Home"
It's a fitting tribute to Tobago's very own Renaissance
Woman, a daughter who has not only remembered her
country's art form-having been one of its greatest ambas-
sadors over the past half century-but who has always, with
pride, carried the torch for Trinidad and Tobago. Calypso
Rose has been a fine example, as a professional interna-
tional artiste and an ambassador for this country.
Through such a long career, the awards keep coming.
Calypso Rose took the prestigious WOMEX (World Music
Expo) Award for best artiste in October last year. She-along
with Winston Bailey, the Mighty Shadow-was presented
with Tobago's highest award, the Tobago Medal of Honour,
Gold, in December. And young Tobago artistes are now
benefiting from her legacy; the Calypso Rose Award for the
Performing Arts includes an annual monetary award to help
an outstanding up and coming artistes further their per-
sonal or professional development.
Even if you overlook the fact that Calypso Rose has
written 800 songs, won numerous local and international
awards, and was the pioneering woman who prompted the
renaming of the "Calypso King" competition to "Calypso
Monarch" with her historic win in 1978-she is still the only
woman to win both the Calypso Monarch and Road March
titles-there are still many lessons of inspiration that can be
learned from her longstanding and impressive career.
Don't give up on your dreams
To hear Calypso Rose tell the story, her father was a
Baptist minister, who was firmly set against her career in
calypso. She started writing at age 13, and says of her ini-
tiation into the art form: "...In my mind, calypso is a talent.
The good Lord [has] given me the inspiration to write and
to create. I stood there and I took all the discriminative
thing[s] [people] want to say about Calypso Rose. Because
I knew what I wanted in life." Her achievements, success,
and longevity bear out her decision to defy the criticism.
Age is just a number
At 76, Calypso Rose is still wowing audiences, writing
music, forging collaborations, and most importantly, doing
what she loves. "Far From Home" went gold within a few
months and continues to perform well on the charts. She
continues to book events internationally and tour. And last
month's performance at home at Shaw Park Complex,
collaborating with the Tobago House of Assembly, Rose
showed that she still has both the passion and the ability
to entertain, four decades after she upstaged her male
counterparts, both on the road, and in the Queen's Park
Savannah. Not bad for a cancer survivor of 20 years.
Always strive for excellence
Her latest album is full of quality and class. "Far From
Home" is an eclectic mix of music, full of storytelling that
reflects her Caribbean heritage and African ancestry. Calyp-
so Rose's international awards are as much an acknowl-
edgement of her hard work, appeal and success as an appre-
ciation of the level of quality and creativity for which she
has come to be known.
One of the most striking things about Calypso Rose is
that she's full of personality. She has shown that her years
of travelling and performing hasn't dulled her enthusiasm
or her sense of humour. Just as her music is bursting with
humourous stories, so is Rose in conversation. During an
interview late last year, she related her meeting with renowned
World Music artiste Manu Chao that set the interviewer
chuckling: "I like his styling. He's not fussy, he's not, you
know, he's very cool and take everything laid back. I like
him. And I will tell you something. If he [wasn't] married,
I would've married him." Chao is one of her collaborators
on the album and a co-producer.
Calypso Rose continues to be a beacon for the art form
and an inspiration of the excellence that can come from a
tiny island, 116 square miles of beauty and potential. An
example of what can be achieved if you dare to believe.
Calypso Rose performs at Shaw Park. This came on
the heels of her Tobago Medal of Honour Gold award
from the Tobago House of Assembly, Office of the
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