Calypso Rose: ‘I am alive and in good health’

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The news was worrying: Calypso Rose was in poor health and confined to bed. As she is now 82 years old, it was natural to be concerned about McCartha Linda Lewis-Sandy, admired by millions as the Calypso Queen of the World.

The news concerned Rose too! The rumour arose from a misunderstanding, when calypsonian Crazy (Edwin Ayoung) posted a picture on social media that showed her lying in bed, resting after a knee replacement operation. Many people who saw the image assumed that Rose was sick and bedridden.

Nothing could be further from the truth, the veteran calypsonian insisted. Talking to T&T Newsday last month, Rose said: “I am alive and in good health. The only thing that is wrong with me is that I got a new knee. The old one gone and I have to do therapy for the new one.”

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Crazy has known Rose for many years and decided to pay a surprise visit to her home in New York, where she was resting her leg after the operation. Crazy asked if he could take her picture, but when he posted it on Facebook, the rumour mill went into overdrive. Rose was not amused. “What Crazy did was horrible,” she said.

Determined to show her fans that she is still as full of life as ever, Calypso Rose pledged to visit her native Tobago in time to enjoy the island’s first ‘independent’ carnival, which reaches its climax on 30 October. She was also looking forward to eating crab and dumpling, she told the paper.

Tribute to Rose on Zoom

In the meantime, Rose will be the focus of a special Zoom webinar, organised by Rhoma Spencer under the auspices of the University of Toronto, Canada.

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A Rose Among Thorns: Calypso Rose’s Life, Music and Impact will include four short academic talks interspersed with three singers each performing two Calypso Rose songs. The singers are six-time Canadian Calypso Monarch Macomere Fifi, T&T 2018 Calypso Queen Stacey Sobers and Barbadian singer Susan Grogan, leader of Toronto-based soca band Neu Jenarashun. Both Macomere Fifi and Stacey Sobers have been popular guests at the London Calypso Tent.

In addition to Rhoma Spencer, speakers include Dr Hope Munro (California State University), Dr Andil Gosine (York University) and Dr Alison McLetchie (South Carolina State University); the moderator will be Dr Ramabai Espinet (University of Toronto). Spencer – actor, director, playwright, comedian and docu-filmmaker – is currently creating a musical on the life of Calypso Rose, which is to be given a staged reading in Toronto next June.

The webinar takes place on Zoom at 2pm EDT (7pm BST) on Saturday 22 October. For more info or to register for free at A Rose Among Thorns: Calypso Rose | Life, Music and Impact, or via calypsoroseuoft.eventbrite.ca.

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