Posts Tagged ‘far from home’

Live Review | Calypso Rose at London Jazz Cafe, November 14

Posted on November 21st, 2016 in Live by .


Garth Cartwright attends a rare London performance from the Queen of Calypso at the Jazz Cafe  (Photo by Colm Moore)

Calypso Rose has been an infrequent visitor to British shores over several decades, tending to often  play Notting Hill Carnival-related events. Her profile has risen dramatically in 2016 with the release of her superb new album Far From Home, it being produced by Ivan Duran alongside Manu Chao (and released via his French record label). Rose is one of the wellsprings of contemporary Caribbean music yet often overlooked in recent decades so its great to see a veteran like her winning a wider audience.

Born McArtha Linda Sandy-Lewis on the Caribbean island of Tobago in 1940, Rose wrote her first calypso aged 15 and turned professional in 1964. Her witty, outspoken songs have made her a much celebrated – and sometimes controversial – performer at home and tonight she proved age had not mellowed her, ribald innuendo and belly ‘dancing’ occurring over the performance. Age has taken its toll in other ways – Rose’s voice is often croaky and she finds performing tiring, taking a break midway through the 80-minute set. Her bassist is a mainstay of the Trinidadian scene but the rest of the band are French and, in true French world music tradition, tend to favour a thumping funk rock that is shorn of musical subtlety. That said, Calypso Rose overcame the band’s shortcomings to charm, tease and sing such classics as ‘Do Dem Back’, ‘Fire in Me Wire’ and ‘Black Israel’. On a bleak autumn night she ignited the heat of Carnival in London’s Jazz Cafe.





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Calypso Rose – Far from Home | Album Review | Top of the World

Posted on August 17th, 2016 in Recent posts, Reviews by .


Words by Charles de Ledesma

The First Lady of Calypso gets the Manu Chao endorsement

From the opening, jump-up moments of ‘Abatina’, a crisp, smart updating of a famous traditional rhythm, ‘Kalenda March’, it is clear that Trinidad and Tobago’s musical matriarch is on tip-top form. The confident, infectious melodies plough onwards, through the carnival hit ‘I Am African’ into the first of three tracks featuring world music’s enfant terrible Manu Chao. ‘Leave Me Alone’ is at chugging pace, enhanced by strong horn work and an uncluttered sound.

Chao’s presence on Far From Home is a typically serendipitous story. While Rose was working on the tracks just before carnival with Belizean producer Ivan Duran, Chao popped up and offered to strum his charango (a small Latin American stringed instrument), and do a spot of warbling. Offer taken up, he choruses with typical verve at the end of ‘Leave Me Alone’, and solos on charango on the sparkling Marley-esqe anthem ‘Human Race’, a cultural rallying cry with multiple voices and powering bass over Rose’s astute reasoning.

The 76-year-old Calypso Rose is perhaps the most prominent ambassador for not only calypso music but the Trinidad and Tobago nation as a whole. Her work covers social and political commentary, dance music classics and gospel-tinged anthems. Far From Home updates traditional Caribbean music in a masterful way, giving her a now well-deserved global status.

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