Watch exclusive Calypso Rose video interview on The Quietus:
Calypso Rose has announced details of her new album, Far From Home , which is released on Because on June 3rd 2016.
The most expansive and forward-looking record Calypso Rose has made in a storied career that began in the calypso tents and carnival parades of Trinidad more than half a century ago, the track listing of the 12-track album is as follows:
2. I Am African
3. Leave Me Alone*
4. Far From Home*
5. Calypso Queen
6. Zoom Zoom Zoom
8. Love Me Or Leave Me
9. No Madame
10. Woman Smarter
11. Human Race*
12. Wah Fu Dance!
* Featuring Manu Chao
Produced by Ivan Duran, with the mercurial Manu Chao sprinkling his own unique magic dust on the tracks with key collaborator Drew Gonsalves and his Caribbean band Kobo Town, the album finds her turbo-charged for a 21st century global audience, garnishing her classic sweet-and-spicy calypso/soca sound with rhythms and melodies from Africa, Central America and across the Caribbean.
Born McArtha Linda Sandy-Lewis on the Caribbean island of Tobago in 1940 and one of 11 children, at the age of age nine she was sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the neighbouring island of Trinidad to ease the strain on the family budget.
The pain of separation was softened by her aunt’s shared passion for music and she was soon hanging out in the calypso tents and following the carnival parades. “I did not become a singer of calypso; I was born into calypso", she says.
By the age of fifteen she had written her first hit song, “Glass Thief”. Initially singing as the Crusoe Kid, by the time she turned professional in 1964, she had been dubbed Calypso Rose.
Among her early hits were the suggestive “Fire In Me Wire”, which has since been recorded in eight different languages, and 1970’s “No Madame”, which generated political controversy by criticising the treatment of domestic servants in Trinidad and urging them to rebel against bullying employers. The song caused such a furore that Eric Williams, the then Trinidadian prime minister, summoned a cabinet meeting. “From there the law was changed and domestic servants got a fair wage,” she says proudly. She reprises the song with a fresh arrangement on the new album.
A feminist pioneer, Caribbean cultural icon and prolific recording artist who’s written over 800 songs in over half a century, it’s more than 40 years since Calypso Rose was first crowned calypso queen – She first won the annual Road March, with 1975’s “Do Dem Back”; but in the male-dominated world of calypso, the title was stripped from her and given to Kitchener instead.
Undeterred she was back in 1977 when she won again with “Give Me More Tempo” – and this time she was allowed to keep the prize. At the following year’s carnival her song "Come Leh We Jam" won the ‘Calypso King’ competition, forcing the organisers to change the title to ‘Calypso Monarch’ in her honour.
For more information, visit http://www.calypso-rose.com