Dominica’s “Lady of Song”, Ophelia, is among several female artistes from the region who have been honoured for their contribution to the development of regional music.
The University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Institute for Gender and Development Studies(IGDS), Cave Hill Campus, on Thursday, March 8, 2012, celebrated the 101st anniversary of International Women’s Day with an award ceremony for women who have contributed to the development of the calypso, chutney, zouk and soca art forms.
Ophelia’s contribution to the development of regional music, particularly cadence (the origin of zouk), is well known, ever since she burst onto the music scene in 1979 with her popular hit “Aie Dominique”. When the record was released, it immediately became a hit in Guadeloupe and Martinique although this was towards the end of the dominance of Dominican music in the French West Indies.
Ophelia has so far recorded 16 albums and according to her husband-manager, McCarthy Marie, her latest CD, SELEBWASYON, “is proving to be a smash particularly since the release of the Video for the track “Move it” which features the POM Kannel dancers from Martinique”.
During her 33-year musical career, Ophelia has won many awards – The Maracas D’or in Paris, the national award, the Sisserou Medal of Honour and the Caribbean Cultural Icon award from the CARIFESTA committee – the only person to be awarded in the musical field.
Of all the awards she has received, Ophelia says the one she most cherishes is her Lifetime Achievement Award from Performing Rights Organization, Sacem, in Martinique.
The list of female performers who were recognized by the UWI Institute for Gender and Development Studies, included 35 awardees from eight English-speaking Caribbean countries.
Trinidad and Tobago took the lion’s share of the awards; among its recipients, calypso legend, McCartha Linda Sandy-Lewis, better known as Calypso Rose.
A release from the UWI IGDS, Cave Hill Campus states “These female artistes span a period of over 30 years, an era in our musical history which represents the development and rise of a cadre of women who went on to make their mark on the international stage and contributed to the popularity and changing face of Caribbean music.”