Calypsonian Profile: Calypso Rose
“Calypso Rose” was born McArtha Lewis on Tobago in 1940. She began writing and performing calypso at 15 years old and for over 50 years was the reigning Queen of Calypso. Because of her victories, in what was a typically male dominated field, the title of the calypso champion was changed from Calypso King to Calypso Monarch.
Calypso Rose won her first calypso contest in 1977 with her song Tempo. After this song, she continue to win calypso competitions and raised international awareness of calypso as a genre of music. Her defining characteristics are her brilliant lyrics and incredible stage presence. She was considered a musical ambassador for Trinidad and performed with famous performers like Roberta Flack, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson. Calypso Rose also championed women’s rights throughout her career.
Since 1983, Calypso Rose has lived in Jamaica, Queens, but like a true Trini, returns home for Carnival each year. In 1996, she became a breast cancer survivor. Recently, Calypso Rose has relaunched her international career and continues to perform in Britain, as well as the Caribbean.
Click on some of these links to get an idea of her more famous songs: