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Calypso Queen : Calypso Rose!

Calypso Rose inteviewed by Maya Trotz for, July 27th, 2003.

“I broke all of the barriers down to bring equality to the field of music with calypso and also steelband. Years gone by you never see a woman beating pan and once I break the barrier down all women start coming forth and there we are standing predominantly today.”

Calypso Rose
San Francisco, July 2003

Calypso Rose, the perfect sobriquet for this Tobagonian woman born McArtha Linda Sandy-Lewis in 1940. Calypso Rose, the legend, the first woman to win a road march in Trinidad and Tobago (1977 with Tempo) and the first person to win both the road and calypso titles simultaneously in Trinidad, has written over 800 songs to date and shows no signs of stopping what she has been doing for decades.

McArtha Linda Sandy-Lewis, better known as Calypso Rose (born April 27, 1940 in Bethel, Tobago) is a Tobagonian calypsonian.

She began writing songs at the age of 15, and has written over 800 songs. In 1966 she wrote the song Fire in Me Wire, which has since become a calypso anthem. Rose was the first female to win the Trinidad Road March Competition, in 1977 with her song Tempo. She won the Calypso Queen title five years running. She has also won both the Trinidad Calypso Crown and Road March competitions in 1978, the Sunshine Award in 1989 and the Trinidad and Tobago Hummingbird Medal in 2000.

American Blues/R&B and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist Bonnie Raitt covered Rose’s song “Wah She Go Do” on an album, released in 1973, entitled Takin’ My Time.

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. In 1993, she was awarded the key to the city of St. Catharines, Ontario, by the mayor.

She has lived in Jamaica, Queens since 1983.