Calypso Rose

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Calypso Rose
Calypso rose.jpg
Calypso Rose
Background information
Birth nameLinda McArtha Monica Sandy-Lewis (or McCartha Linda Sandy-Lewis)
Also known asCrusoe Kid
Born (1940-04-27) April 27, 1940 (age 79)
Bethel Village, Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago
GenresCalypso, Soca
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Years active1964–present
LabelsBecause Music

Calypso Rose (born April 27, 1940, Bethel Village, Tobago) is a calypsonian. She started writing songs at the age of 15; over the years, she has composed more than 800 songs and recorded more than 20 albums. Considered the "mother of calypso", Rose was the first female calypso star and her lyrics frequently address social issues like racism and sexism. She has received every award available to living artists in the Caribbean.[1][2]

She currently resides in Queens, New York, and regularly returns to Trinidad and Tobago in addition to touring.[2]

Early Life[edit]

Calypso Rose, born either Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis or McCartha Linda Sandy-Lewis, grew up in a small village on the island of Tobago, one of the two Caribbean islands forming Trinidad and Tobago, the birthplace of calypso. She lived with her parents and her ten siblings in a two-bedroom house until she was nine years old, at which point she went to live with an aunt and uncle on the neighboring island of Trinidad. Her father was a preacher and a leader of the Spiritual Shouter Baptists. Her family was very traditional and initially opposed her singing in Carnival tents.[3][4]


Traveling in 1963, Rose covered the Caribbean islands from Grenada to St. Thomas. She won the Calypso King contest in St. Thomas with her first recording, Cooperation. This was the first time a woman had ever been awarded the title.[5] In 1964, she decided to dedicate her life to a career in music. Although originally known as Crusoe Kid, she was given the name Calypso Rose by calypsonian Mighty Spoiler and fellow Carnival tent members.[6][3]

In 1966 Rose wrote the song "Fire in Me Wire", the first calypso ever running two years in a row at the Trinidad Carnival.[7] She performed with Bob Marley & the Wailers at the Grand Ballroom in New York City in 1967[8] and toured with him three times during the 1970s.[9][3]

In 1978, the Trinidad Road March competition’s title was changed to Calypso Monarch in her honor.[10][11] Since 1983, Rose has lived in New York. In October 1996, she underwent surgery for breast cancer.[12] In 1998, she underwent treatment for a malignancy in her stomach.[13]

She was the subject of a documentary (Calypso Rose, Lioness in the Jungle) in 2011.[14]

In 2015, French singer Manu Chao discovered her work and together with Ivan Duran produced her album Far From Home.[15] The album won the 2017 World Music Album of the Year prize at French music award ceremony Les Victoires de la Musique and was awarded Platinum sale status in France, a premiere for any artist from Trinidad and Tobago.[3][16][17][1]

A compilation, Calypso Rose, Queen of Calypso for 40 years!, was released in 2016.[18]

In 2019, Rose performed at Coachella, marking the first time a calypso performer played a full set at the festival. At 78, she became the festival's oldest performer to date.[19]


  • 1969 : Queen Of The Calypso World
  • 1972 : Sexy Hot Pants
  • 1977 : Her Majesty Calypso Rose
  • 1977 : Action is Tight
  • 1978 : Mass Fever
  • 1979 : We Rocking For Carnival
  • 1980 : Ah Cant Wait
  • 1981 : Mass in California
  • 1983 : Rose Goes Soca Unlimited
  • 1984 : Trouble
  • 1985 : Pan in Town
  • 1986 : Stepping Out
  • 1987 : On Top Of The World
  • 1987 : Leh We Punta
  • 1989 : Soca Explosion
  • 1990 : Soul On Fire
  • 1992 : Rosie Doh Hurt Dem
  • 1993 : Breaking The Sound Barrier
  • 1993 : Soca Diva
  • 2008 : Calypso Rose (World Village)
  • 2016 : Far from Home (Because Music)
  • 2018 : So Calypso! (Because Music)

Awards and honours[edit]

  • 1978: Award for Unprecedented Achievement by a Calypsonian from the Trinidad and Tobago Alliance of the USA[20][21]
  • 1978: Distinguished Achievement Award for the First Triple Crown Calypso Monarch of the World by The Tobago Benevolent Society[21]
  • 1979: Award for Magnanimous Contribution to the Culture by the Caribbean Arts and Culture Council[21]
  • 1982: Rose was named an honorary citizen of Belize in 1982 in recognition of her work to raise the country's international awareness on the cultural front
  • 1983: Top Female Calypsonian by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.[20][21]
  • 1985: Best Female Recording Artist Award by C.E.I.[20][21]
  • 1986: Recognition for Achievement in Human Progress from the Concerned Citizens of Liberia Organization[21]
  • 1988: Gratitude and Commendation for the Development of Arts and Culture in Belize by the National Arts Council of Belize[21]
  • 1988: Appointment as Foremost Ambassador of Culture by the West Indian Day Association[21]
  • 1989: Humanitarian Award by Sunshine Music Awards[21]
  • 1989: Recognition for contribution to the steelpan by the Calypso and Steelband Music Awards[21]
  • 1989: Best Party Song by the Sunshine Music Awards[21]
  • 1989: Best Female Vocalist by the Sunshine Music Awards[21]
  • 1990: Nafeita Lifetime Achievement Award[21]
  • 1991: Outstanding Female in the Field of Music Award by the National Woman’s Action Committee[20][21]
  • 1991: Most Outstanding Woman in Trinidad and Tobago by the National Women’s Action Committee[20][21]
  • 1993: Inducted into the Tobago Walk of Fame as a charter member[20][21]
  • 1993: Honored by the mayor of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, with the keys to the City[22]
  • 2011: Africa Festival Lifetime Achievement Award[23]
  • 2014: Honorary Doctor of Letters - University of the West Indies 2014
  • 2016: WOMEX Artist of the Year Award[24]
  • 2017: Calypso Rose's Far From Home won the World Music Album of the Year contest at the 32nd annual French music award ceremony, Les Victoires de la Musique[25][26]
  • 2017: The Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the highest honor in the country[1][27]


  • 1979 - Bacchanal Time
  • 1991 - One Hand Don't Clap
  • 2011 - Calypso Rose: the Lioness of the Jungle

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "78-Year-Old Caribbean Trailblazer Calypso Rose on Her History-Making Coachella Gig". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-07-14.
  2. ^ a b Mendez Mendez, Serafín. (2003). Notable Caribbeans and Caribbean Americans : a biographical dictionary. Cueto, Gail. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313314438. OCLC 46959797.
  3. ^ a b c d Culshaw, Peter (2016-07-21). "Calypso Rose: 'I'm fighting for everyone, regardless of sex'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-07-14.
  4. ^ Guilbault, Jocelyne. (2007). Governing sound : the cultural politics of Trinidad's Carnival musics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226310596. OCLC 74029379.
  5. ^ Mahabir, Cynthia (2001). "The Rise of Calypso Feminism: Gender and Musical Politics in the Calypso". Popular Music. 20 (3): 409–430. JSTOR 853630.
  6. ^ "Ten Things You Didn't Know About The Iconic Calypso Rose". ForwardForty. 2017-02-20. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  7. ^ "Calypso Rose | Festival International Nuits d'Afrique de Montréal". Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  8. ^ "Calypso Rose, la reine trinidadienne du calypso, achève sa tournée française au Trianon de Paris vendredi - Outre-mer la 1ère". Outre-mer la 1ère (in French). Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  9. ^ Culshaw, Peter (21 July 2016). "Calypso Rose: 'I'm fighting for everyone, regardless of sex'". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  10. ^ Wood, Vincent. "Calypso Rose: Queen Of The Carnival". Culture Trip. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  11. ^ "Ever-blooming Calypso Rose | Caribbean Beat Magazine". Caribbean Beat Magazine. 2016-11-01. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  12. ^ "Home/tr". Home/tr.
  13. ^ Baboolal, Yvonne (11 February 2017). "Rose wins French 'Grammy': Fans kept me going". Trinidad and Tobago Guardian. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Screening: Calypso Rose the lioness of the jungle". Faluma Music. 2015-11-17. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  15. ^ "Calypso Rose on Afropicks, booking agency". Afropicks. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  16. ^ Greaves, Natalie (2018-11-12). "Another International award for Calypso Rose". Caribbean News. Retrieved 2019-07-14.
  17. ^ Calypso Rose achieves what no local artiste has ever done before, 2016-09-15, retrieved 2019-07-14
  18. ^ Troughton, Richie (21 April 2016). "Carnival Queen Calypso Rose Interviewed". The Quietus. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  19. ^ CNN, Kendall Trammell. "A 78-year-old just became Coachella's oldest performer". CNN. Retrieved 2019-07-14.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Thompson, David (2001). Reggae and Caribbean Music: Third Ear: The Essential Listening Companion. Milwaukee (WI): Backbeatbooks. ISBN 978-0879306557.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Profile,; retrieved November 8, 2014 (
  22. ^ Persad, Seeta (July 22, 2009). "Documentary on Calypso Rose to be released". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  23. ^ Calypso Rose gets Lifetime Achievement Award in Germany Archived 2012-01-23 at the Wayback Machine, (in German); retrieved January 20, 2012.
  24. ^ "WOMEX Awards". WOMEX: The World Music Expo. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  25. ^ "Devinez l'âge de l'artiste qui a enflammé les Victoires 2017". Le Huffington Post (in French). 2017-02-10. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  26. ^ "Calypso Rose talks gender equality". New Internationalist. 2018-05-30. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  27. ^ "Another international award for Calypso Rose". Retrieved 2019-07-14.

External links[edit]