A profile of Trinidad’s calypso queen by Angel Romero for World Music Central.
Calypso Rose, a living legend in the calypso world, has brought her vibrant and irresistible music from her native Tobago to audiences on every continent, becoming one of the leading and most honored ambassadors of Caribbean music. In a genre traditionally dominated by males, she is the only woman to have captured the Calypso Monarch and Road March titles.
In addition to winning the Calypso Queen contest five years in a row, she has written numerous political and women’s rights songs and the calypso classic Fire In Me Wire. A documentary film, Rose, Calypso Diva, directed by Pascale Obolo was released in 2010.
Rose McCartha Linda Sandy Lewis was born in 1940 in the tiny island of Tobago in Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies. She started singing at 15. In 1966 she wrote ‘Fire In Me Wire,’ which became an international calypso anthem.
In 1977 she became the first woman to win the crown of Calypso Monarch (a yearly competition that was originally called Calypso King but was renamed Calypso Monarch after her triumph) and the Road March title.
Calypso Rose has performed throughout the world and shared the stage with such popular stars as Miriam Makeba, Tito Puente, Mahalia Jackson, Michael Jackson, Roberta Flack, and Bob Marley.
She has written over 800 songs and recorded more than 20 albums, including the recent Rose, Calypso Diva that is available in the United States of America on the World Village label.
In addition to calypso, her extensive repertoire includes blues, gospel, reggae, ska and soul.
Calypso Rose has received more awards and medals than any other calypsonian from governments in Trinidad, New York, London, Washington, and Africa. She is featured in the films One Hand Don’t Clap and Calypso at Dirty Jim’s.
In 2016, Calypso Rose won the WOMEX (World Music Expo) 2016 Artist Award.
Today she lives in Queens (New York), but every year she returns to her island.
* Queen of the Calypso World (RA RA 1008, 1968)
* Calypso Queen of the World (Rose SLP 001, 1971)
* Sexy Hot Pants (Rose SLP-002, Strakers SR 7775, 1972)
* Splish Splash (Strakers SR-7776, 1973)
* Action is Tight (Charlies CR-1001, 1977)
* Her Majesty (Charlies CR 444, 1978)
* Mass Fever (CLO CR-666, 1979)
* We Rocking For Carnival (Charlies CR 251, 1980)
* Ah Cant Wait (2000 AD Records 2000 AD LP, 1981)
* Mass In California (Strakers GS 2234, 1982)
* Goes Soca Unlimited (Strakers GS 2242, 1983)
* Trouble (Strakers GS 2252, 1984)
* Calypso Train (Strakers SR 130, 1985)
* Pan In Town (Strakers GS 2261, 1985)
* Stepping Out (Strakers GS2265, 1986)
* The Golden Hits of Calypso Rose (Mahabir Records, 1986)
* Leh We Punta (Strakers GS2271, 1987)
* Soca Explosion (Strakers GS 2299, 1989)
* Soul on Fire (Strakers GS 2319, 1990)
* Jump with Power (Strakers GS 2332, 1991)
* Rosie Doh Hurt Them (Strakers GS2359, 1992)
* Breaking the Sound Barrier (Spice Island Records, 1993)
* Soca Diva (Ice 931202, 1994)
* Tobago (Blue Wave Records 960602, 1996)
* Ringbang Queen (Ice IR9902, 1999)
* Jesus is My Rock (Blue Wave, 2000)
* Calypso at Dirty Jim’s (Maturity Music MM 003, 2003)
* Just Call Jesus (2003)
* The Best of Calypso Rose (Rituals CMG1305, 2005)
* Calypso Hit Parade Vol.1 Spice Island
* Calypso Rose (Harmonia Mundi, 2008)
* Far From Home (2016)
Web site: www.calypso-rose.com