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A Review of Calypso Rose’s “Far from Home" Concert



Reviewed by Shaun Ajamu Hutchinson



Monday, January 16, 2017.



Soca Queen, Calypso Rose, ruled over all that she surveyed at Shaw Park Cultural Complex  on Saturday, January 7, with a scintillating performance of all her major hits.


The event dubbed Far From Home Concert was sponsored by Tobago House of Assembly, and it offered the lively audience an unforgettable evening with Soca royalty.


In the audience were dignitaries such as the Venezuelan ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Dr Orville London, Secretary of the Division of Community Development and Culture, Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus. MC The Angel Journei compered the event, and the audience was also addressed by Tobago Carnival Committee Chair George Leacock and Dr Tsoiafatt-Angus both of whom stressed the importance of carnival and culture to the people of Trinidad and Tobago.


And the musical expression of this culture was on display with exhilarating performances from several of Tobago’s outstanding artistes.


Kick starting the proceedings, Adanna delivered two thoughtful mid-tempo numbers - Bring Back de Ole Time Days, and another imploring youth people to stay away from drugs.


Following impassioned Tobago Heritage Monarch for 2016, Giselle Washington, and drawing the thus far subdued crowd from its shell, reigning Vintage Kaiso Monarch Leslie Ann Ellis offered strong performances of Woman Stand Up and All Ah We is One Family. 


Afterward came the current Tobago Calypso Monarch Nicole Thomas; and in quick succession Fya Empress accompanied by a strange, thin white man in red trousers and a white shirt performing a hilarious belly dance. Topping that would have been a challenge for some but the veteran Mighty Shadow - attired in his customary black floor-length trench coat and hat to match - took it in his stride with Dingolay, Yuh Looking for Horn and the encore inviting Bass Man.


Appetite well and truly whetted, Linda Monica McCarthy-Sandy, better known as Calypso Rose, didn’t allow early sound glitches to affect her performance.  In sparkling embroidered cerise tunic and trousers, the Tobago Medal of Honour awardee soon overcame mic problems with the grace and skill of a consummate performer.


On a spacious stage adorned with her image and accompanied by a well-drilled multi-national 9-piece band - with Canada, France, England and TT based musicians - the WOMEX artist of the year for 2016 promised her audience 90 minutes of her life [or 15 for misbehaviour!]. And that’s exactly what the powerfully voiced pioneer with 5 decades’ experience in the music business delivered. 


A warm and giving singer, with magnetic stage presence and charisma to match, the prolific lyricist has penned over 800 songs and those she performed gave the audience just a few of her prolific output. Confident and assertive the first female winner of the one-time Calypso King competition, the title of which was changed to Monarch in recognition of her gender, introduced each song with a few words on the genesis of the lyrics.


And what a selection from the first Trinidad and Tobago artist to have an album certified Gold - with 50,000 plus sales of her latest Far from Home CD; amongst others her poignant guitar rendition of Rivers of Babylon together with Tempo, Far from Home, Leave Me Alone, Abatina and Fire in Me Wire, Israel [track dedicated to natty dread], San Fernando and Million Miles Away. 


With the lively African highlife tinged music encouraging the crowd - many of whom left their seats to approach the stage - the versatile performer was joined by several dancing children, her rapport with the enthralled crowd shown with an extempo verse dedicated to a man in the audience


An Ambassador at Large for Liberia, the Bethel born entertainer dedicated her performance to her beloved great grandmother, kidnapped from Guinea-Conakry in French Africa to Tobago.


As the Calypso Sovereign closed the show, and in anticipation of the carnival season, several young and not so young costumed characters, including an astronaut suited Carnival Chair, jumped up in the crowd.


The 90 minutes she offered were insufficient though. Long Live The Queen! 


Shaun Ajamu Hutchinson is the Newblackmagazine.com’s Deputy-Editor.


 Image source: http://www.tucott.com



A Review of Calypso Rose’s “Far from Home" Concert

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