Listen to the legend…
Calypso Rose born McCartha Linda Sandy-Lewis, April 27, 1940 in Bethel, Tobago is a calypsonian. She began writing songs at the age of 15, turned professional in 1964 and has written over 800 songs and recorded over 20 albums.
Rose’s father was a leader with the Spiritual Shouter Baptists. Her family was very traditional and opposed her singing in Carnival Tents. She composed her first Calypso in 1955 after seeing a man steal the spectacles off of a lady’s face in the Croisée, San Juan. In the song, she advises Tobagonians to stay at home, because Trinidad was no place for them. Originally she used Crusoe Kid as her stage name, the name Calypso Rose was given to her by the Spoiler, and tent members Piggy and Spike.
Travelling outside of Trinidad and Tobago for the first time in 1963, Rose covered the islands from Grenada to St. Thomas. She won the Calypso King contest and the Roadmarch in St. Thomas with her first recording, Cooperation. In 1966 she wrote the song Fire in Me Wire, the first calypso ever sung two years running at the Trinidad carnival, in 1966 and 1967.
In the mid-70s, as well as dominating the race for the Calypso Queen Title, a title she won five years running from 1972 to 1976, Rose had major hits with Constable Rose and Do Dem Back which became her first gold disc.
Rose was the first female to win the Trinidad Road March competition, in 1977 with her songGimme More Tempo and in 1978 she took the title again with Come Leh We Jam. In the same year she won the Calypso King competition, the first time it had ever been awarded to a female. The competition’s title was changed to Calypso Monarch in her honour.
She has lived in New York, since 1983. In October 1996, Rose underwent surgery for breast cancer and in 1998 undertook therapy for a malignancy in her stomach
Honors, Awards and Recognition
1975: Medal of Merit Class2 from Trinidad and Tobago government by order of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of England.
1977: Meritous Achievement Award by the city of Los Angeles, California, USA Everybody’s Magazine, Woman of the Year Award.
1978: Award for Unprecedented Achievement by a Calypsonian from the Trinidad and Tobago Alliance of the USA.
1978: Distinguished Achievement Award for the First Triple Crown Calypso Monarch of the World by The Tobago Benevolent Society
1979: Award for Magnanimous Contribution to the Culture by the Caribbean Arts and Culture Council.
1982: Album of the Year Award, Mass In California.
1982: Made an honorary citizen of Belize in recognition of her work to raise the country’s international awareness on the cultural front.
1983: Top Female Calypsonian by the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C1984: Queen of Soca and Calypso Award by Super Jocks Records.
1985: Best Female Recording Artist Award by C.E
1986: Recognition for Achievement in Human Progress from the Concerned Citizens of Liberia Organization.
1987: National Belize Music Award 25th Anniversary of Independence Ward by Stag Beer & Vat 19 Rum.
1987: Recognition of Achievement for 30 years of Music by Rick Records.
1988: Gratitude and Commendation for the Development of Arts and Culture in Belize by the National Arts Council of Belize.
1988: Appointment as Foremost Ambassador of Culture by the West Indian Day Association.]
1989: Humanitarian Award by Sunshine Music Awards.
1989: Recognition for contribution to the steelpan by the Calypso and Steelband Music Awards.
1989: Best Party Song by the Sunshine Music Awards
1989: Best Female Vocalist by the Sunshine Music Awards.
1990: Nafeita Lifetime Achievement Awards.
1991: Outstanding Female in the Field of Music Award by the National Woman’s Action Committee.
1991: Most Outstanding Woman in Trinidad and Tobago by the National Women’s Action Committee.
1993: Inducted into the Tobago Walk of Fame as a charter member.
1999: Tobago House of Assembly decrees that the new hospital built in Tobago shall be named after Calypso Rose (McCartha Lewis Memorial Hospital.
1999: International Caribbean Music Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
2011: Africa Festival Lifetime Achievement Award