Calypso Rose gets French toast: Reports

Calypso Rose performs at the Brooklyn Christian Center in December 2014.
Photo by Nelson A. King

The undisputed Calypso Queen of the world, Calypso Rose, has received a French toast with a very special award, according to reports.

Rose, 76 — whose claim to fame lies in Trinidad and Tobago Carnival as winner of Road March, Calypso Queen and Calypso Monarch titles — won the Best World Music Album award Friday for her “Far from Home” album at the prestigious Victoires de la Musique French music awards ceremony in Paris, according to the New York Daily News.

The paper said Sunday that, while millions of eyes are focused on Trinidad and Tobago all the activities leading up to the annual carnival later this month, Rose was winning the French award and “reveling in a new and wonder-filled chapter of her life.”

Awards at the annual French ceremony are presented by the French Culture Ministry to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry, the Daily News said.

It said that riding the successes of the album, which shot into France’s top 10 ranking, Rose is currently on a concert tour of French cities.

Rose was honored for her successful 2016 album, a collaboration with popular French-born performer Manu Chao, the son of Spanish immigrants, the Daily News said.

With Rose leading the way, Chao is the album’s featured artist and co-writer on 11 of the release’s 12 tracks, according to the Daily News.

In December 2014, the Caribbean community in New York paid tribute to Rose at a massive ceremony at the Brooklyn Christian Center, organized by Dee Vee International Productions, headed by Grenadian-born pre-eminent entertainment producer Derek Ventour.

The Rev. Dennis Dillon, the Jamaican-born pastor and founder of the Brooklyn Christian Center, said he was “grateful” for Calypso Rose’s “leadership, her inspirational spirit and for doing what few people have done.

“Many people at the Christian Center they dance to your music all the time,” he said about Calypso Rose. “We salute you for your inspiration to all of us.

“I’m not saying that we shouldn’t say Calypso Rose, but it’s Dr. McArtha Lewis you’all,” added Rev. Dillon, alluding to the honorary doctorate that was conferred on Calypso Rose by the University of the West Indies.

Calypso Rose was born on April 27, 1940 in Bethel, a small, relatively in-land village in Trinidad’s sister isle of Tobago.

When she was 15, she began singing calypso in contests during the Carnival season in Trinidad and Tobago, according to her biography.

But though she had garnered a number of regional hits throughout the years, including her most famous, “Fire, Fire”, which she wrote in 1966, the biography says Calypso Rose did not win any of the major calypso contests until 1977.

That year, she was the first woman ever to win the Trinidad and Tobago Road March Competition with “Tempo.”

A year later, she won the National Calypso King Competition – which prompted a name change (it’s now called the National Calypso Monarch Competition) – with “I Thank Thee” and “Her Majesty.”

That same year, Rose won the Trinidad Road March Competition for the second year successive year, with “Gimme More Tempo,” the biography states.

Calypso Rose has headlined at major venues and festivals throughout the US, Europe and Australia.

As of 2011, she is the most decorated calypsonian in Trinidad and Tobago’s history, and was awarded the Trinidad and Tobago Gold Humming Bird Medal, an award given to Trinidadians “for loyal and devoted service beneficial to the state in any field, or acts of gallantry,” her biography says.

Though Calypso Rose moved to Jamaica, Queens in 1983, she returns to Trinidad and Tobago for carnival every year.

In 1996, she battled and beat breast cancer. She continues to tour regularly on multiple continents, and records music.

To date, Calypso Rose said she has written “well over 800 songs,” the biography says.

In 2011, a feature-length documentary, entitled “Calypso Rose: The Lioness of the Jungle,” was released at Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by Pascale Obolo, the documentary tells Calypso Rose’s story through interviews and live concert footage, among others.

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