Trinidad’s Guardian just published an interview with Calypso Rose. Here is an excerpt. For the complete article follow the link below.
Sharp and vibrant just as she performs, Mc Cartha (Calypso Rose) Lewis delved into issues of crime and cultural changes in T&T. Lewis, 70, has survived two bouts of cancer and paved the way for women when she became the first Calypso Monarch in 1978. Sitting in her friend’s balcony in Carenage she asked, “Where are the guns coming from to infiltrate our island?” She said in the criminology field T&T has gone way down. “The criminals have taken over the country with criminal activities and criminal minds,” she said. Rose pondered quite often throughout the Sunday Guardian interview, ensuring that every point was clear. “Where are the drugs coming from to destroy the minds of our youth?”
These were the areas that she asked the National Security Ministry to be heavily involved in. She called for more police officers on the streets and patrol of our waters. “You could do things without fear, you could say things without reprisal but now one has to be careful how they walk the streets, one has to be careful of things that they say,” she said. She said certain people have a lack of respect for the law, family, neighbours and for themselves.
Bursting into song at intervals, Lewis said: “We had Calypso, we had Soca, now what we have I don’t know.” She said, culturally, the music has changed immensely. “Where years ago you could hear a good local music or calypso, with lyrics that you could understand, now in the context, the lyrics have been taken out of the music and it’s only pure rhythm, you don’t know what they’re saying, what they’re doing,” she explained. She said that Calypsonians years ago, could have earned a living after Carnival world-wide until the following Carnival because of their creativity.
In fact, retracing her steps to 1968, Lewis said she wanted her money and interest owed when she sang over “Fire In Meh Wire”. “I was told to sing over Fire in Meh 1968. I won the Road March but they say they couldn’t give a woman. I want money they owe me for fire fire in 1968.” Though she said it with a smile, she said, “put that down”, to ensure it was noted. In 1968 the Road March champion received $1000 and assuming an average of eight per cent, Lewis would today collect, $25,339.48.
Speaking from experience as she has been living abroad Lewis is aware of the Caribbean Calypsonians who perform in North America and Europe. “After Carnival this year there were some Calypsonians who they brought to New York, in March and April to perform and the shows were empty, so that tells you what is happening,” she said. Lewis called no names.“You gotta give them want they want, they want lyrics, they want to go home and lie down and say, yes, that is Calypso.” Lewis also believes that computerised instruments have failed T&T’s music.