“Tobago is very proud of you.”
That statement summed up Chief Secretary Orville London’s tribute to Tobago icon MacArtha Lewis, widely known as Calypso Rose, who visited the Office of the Chief Secretary at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall earlier today (August 19, 2016).
In describing the flamboyant entertainer as “Queen Rose,” London said Rose continues to stretch the boundaries of the arts as a performer and musician. He said that’s why the Tobago House of Assembly is establishing a new award for performance excellence named in honour of the veteran calypsonian.
“I think you’re achieving more, doing more work, having a greater impact now than any other time in your life,” London told the singer, adding that the THA wanted to “ensure that people remember your contribution and therefore we have made a decision to set up the Calypso Rose Award”.
The annual prize will include a cash award to a deserving cultural artiste “to further his or her personal or professional development,” and will be presented during Tobago Day celebrations in December.
A beaming Calypso Rose said she was honoured by the gesture. She added that she wants to see more done to develop the country’s artistic talent, and said this must start in the nation’s schools.
“We have our culture,” Rose said. “Bring the artistes, put them in the schools and let them teach the kids our culture, because our culture is very important in Trinidad and Tobago. Look where I am today,” she said.
Rose continues to build her legacy in Trinidad and Tobago. In July 2015, she was honoured by the Division of Community Development and Culture. She was presented with a sculpture of herself, a wooden bust she has since donated to the Tobago Museum at Fort King George, Scarborough.
During the visit, Calypso Rose presented London with several of her works, including her latest album “Far From Home”, which was released two weeks ago in France.
Rose also told the Chief Secretary she would like her collection of over 300 awards to be set up in Tobago.
Calypso Rose hails from Bethel, and has written more than 800 songs and recorded over 20 albums. She was the first woman to win the national Road March title in 1977 with her song “Tempo.” In addition, she won the 1978 Calypso King Competition, which led to the event being aptly renamed the Calypso Monarch.