Photo credit: Ronald Mendoza Photography
CALYPSO Rose was hailed as a trailblazer yesterday as Caribbean Airlines dedicated one of its 737 jets in her honour. The signage on the nose of the aircraft was unveiled by three ministers: Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly; Minister of Tourism Shamfa Cudjoe and Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon.
In addition, chairman of Caribbean Airlines Sameer Ronnie Mohammed and Rose’s international manager, Jean Michel Gilbert were present. The decision to name the aircraft after her was made by Cabinet for her becoming the first Soca artiste to win the World Music Album of the Year for her latest album “Far From Home” at the French Victories de la Musique award ceremony in Paris on February 10.
Gadsby-Dolly said another of Rose’s many ground breaking achievements was when she won the title Calypso King in 1978, with her renditions “I Thank Thee” and “Her Majesty”, forcing organisers of the competition to change the name of the show to Calypso Monarch, the name it still carries today.
She said her list of achievements testifies to her unwavering spirit as an exemplar for all Trinidadians to follow.
She said Rose was not a case of overnight success but one of perseverance as she began writing songs when she was 15 years of age and has so far written more than 800 tunes.
The music video to the song “Far From Home”, which was shown on board the aircraft, features Rose at the controls of a vintage aircraft and many scenes of her native Tobago. Gadsby-Dolly said the video showed that the sky is the limit for Rose. She said her ministry is one hundred percent focused on “building, protecting, supporting, celebrating our resilient culture. We are a honeycomb of culturally rich communities and we have a Queen B of Calypso.
We must protect what she has and continues to give to us as a nation and celebrate her talent, beauty and enormous star power on the world stage.” Mohammed praised Rose as a source of great pride and inspiration, saying she continues to champion the Caribbean brand at the age of 77. He said the airline is discussing with her management team some other honours including travel benefits like complimentary Caribbean Miles for three years and complimentary Caribbean Club membership.
That is in addition to putting the celebrated album “Far From Home” and the documentary “The Lioness of the Jungle”, which is based on Rose’s life, on its in-flight playlist.
He said that in too many cases this country delays the celebration of its icons until they have passed on but he was pleased that Caribbean Airlines and the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts had chosen to honour Rose during her lifetime.
He said, “As the region’s premier air carrier, Caribbean Airlines takes its role as an ambassador of the “Caribbean Brand”, which includes showcasing our cultural icons very seriously. Like Calypso Rose, who has contributed greatly to bringing Caribbean music, especially Calypso, to the world stage, Caribbean Airlines continues to do our part in connecting the Caribbean to the world.” Rose herself could not be at the function, but she watched live from Lyon in France where she was sheduled to perform last night before an audience of 20- 30,000 people.