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Calypso Rose

Calypso Rose

Linda McCartha Monica Sandy-Lewis (Crusoe Kid)

Born 27 April 1940, Bethel Village, Tobago

She began writing songs at the age of 15, turned professional in 1964, she has written more than 800 songs and recorded over 20 albums.

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.

She used Crusoe Kid as her stage name, the name "Calypso Rose" being given to her by the calypsonian Mighty Spoiler, and tent members Piggy and Spike.

She traveled outside of Trinidad and Tobago for the first time in 1963, she covered the Caribbean 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. Her 1969 song, "No Madame", criticised the treatment of domestic servants and led to government intervention to stop their exploitation.

In the 1970's, she dominated the race for the title of "Calypso Queen", a title she won five years running from 1972–77, She had major hits with Constable Rose and Do Dem Back, which became her first gold disc. She was the first female to win the Trinidad Road March competition in 1977 with her song "Gimme More Tempo". The following year she took the title again with "Come Leh We Jam". That same year, she won the competition, the first time a woman had received the award. The competition's title was changed to Calypso Monarch in her honour.

She has lived in New York since 1983. In 1996, she underwent surgery for breast cancer and in 1998 undertook therapy for a malignancy in her stomach. She is a criminologist.


She is the first artist from Trinidad and Tobago to have an album go gold.

Her new album Far from Home (2016), a collaboration with Manu Chao that went straight into the Top 10 in France. 

Far From home, the platinum-selling album was released on the Because Music label on June 3, 2016.

Far from Home, competed against rock group Acid Arab with their album "Music of France" and Rokia Traore with her album "Born So."

While accepting her award, she thanked the government of T&T and all her fans. "They have kept me going with the beautiful music and the vibrations I give them," she said as the audience applauded.

The single, “Leave Me Alone”, which she performed in France, became an instant classic and enjoyed heavy rotation during Carnival 2017.

Awards and honours

  • 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: 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, Canada, by the city's mayor.

  • 1983: Top Female Calypsonian by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

  • 1984: Queen of Soca and Calypso Award by Super Jocks Records.

  • 1985: Best Female Recording Artist Award by C.E.I.

  • 1986: Recognition for Achievement in Human Progress from the Concerned Citizens of Liberia Organization.

  • 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.

  • 1993: Honored by the mayor of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, with the keys to the City.

  • 1999: Tobago House of Assembly decreed that the new hospital to be built in Tobago would be named the McCartha Lewis Memorial Hospital, in honour of Calypso Rose.

  • 1999: International Caribbean Music Award’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

  • 2011: Africa Festival Lifetime Achievement Award

  • 2014: Honorary Doctor of Letters - University of the West Indies 2014

  • 2016: WOMEX Artist of the Year Award

  • 2017: World Album of the Year award at the Victoire de la Musique award in France.

  • 2017: Received a Diplomatic Passport from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

  • 2017: An Aeroplane from the Caribbean Airlines fleet named after her.


  • 1979 - Bacchanal Time

  • 1991 - One Hand Don't Clap

  • 2011 - Calypso Rose: the Lioness of the Jungle

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