Calypso Rose was born Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis in Bethel Village, Tobago (the smaller island in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, a.k.a. T&T) on April 27, 1940. Known for utilizing risqué double-entendres, hallmarks of many classic calypsos, Rose has also been an unwavering proponent in expressing the female perspective on such issues as domestic abuse ("Solomon,") exploitation ("No Madam,") and spousal infidelity ("The Other Woman.") In 2018 Rose's "Leave Me Alone," featuring soca superstar Machel Montano and Manu Chao, became a rallying cry for women's rights to harassment free public spaces at Trinidad's carnival and beyond. Her powerful vocals -- feisty, warrior-like yet warm and engaging -- remain remarkably intact. Having written over 800 songs, Rose has helped to define the calypso art form while shattering the genre's gender biases.
"I used to close the calypso tent and he would come on before me and just keep singing until the people started walking out. Many times, I didn't get to go on because of that dog! But all I went through opened the door for the female calypsonians because I was the only woman in it for years."
Calypso Rose wasn't the first female calypsonian nor the first woman to join a calypso tent lineup, but she is, indisputably, the most widely-recognized female artist from T&T; she's a recipient of the country's highest honor, The Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ORTT). However, prior to ascending to her throne, Rose endured scathing criticisms; a Trinidadian newspaper derisively referred to her as the "queen of smut." "I had so much opposition in the late '50s and '60s; my father thought calypso was the devil's music," Rose reminisced. "I got called into several meetings with female church groups asking me, why are you singing calypso? Women should not do that! I told them God gave me the talent to write and sing and I will continue doing it as long as the good Lord gives me breath. Then I walked out."
Designer: Tayler Pineda @bytppj
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