Her real name is Francine Edwards, but everyone knows her as Singing Francine. Now 76 years old, Francine has been singing calypsos since she was a child. She says, in reply to a question about how she became involved in the calypso art form, she asserted, “I never became involved in the calypso art form. I was born in the calypso art form.” As such, Francine is one of the classic calypsonians who fulfills the art form’s original mandate by producing calypso on every possible theme including social, political, economic, and cultural issues.
Together with Calypso Rose, Francine has been carrying the women’s banner in calypso for many decades. That is why for her wonderful musical work over many decades, Singing Francine was named Calypso Queen of the World five times. And while she remains a sharp observer of life in Trinidad and the world, she has also built a considerable body of work in Parang music, which has earned her the reputation of being among the best in this most elemental Christmas music of Trinidad.
Much like Sparrow and Calypso Rose, Francine is considered to be one of the foremost ambassadors of calypso and in keeping with that well-earned reputation, she will be appearing in Toronto on November 24th, seven years since her last visit in 2012.
Billed “Parang Is We”, Singing Francine will headline a lineup that includes Los Amigos Parang Band with Connector (Canada’s Calypso Monarch), DJ Soca Sweetness and hosted by Earl ‘E-MAN’ La Pierre Jr.
According to promoter Ossie McLean, “We are lucky to be able to get Francine to agree to come again to Toronto at this time because she carries a busy schedule during the Christmas season in Trinidad.”
There are a number of superb Parang artists that make annual Christmas appearances in Toronto, but Francine is expected to be a leading attraction this season because of her remarkable career in calypso and particularly Parang music.
Few Parranderos have put out a body of work comparable to Singing Francine’s Parang output. And the audience will no doubt relish her presence; they will most certainly hit the floor when the great lady delivers her classic hits “Hooray, Hurrah” and “Parang Parang”, tunes that are an essential part of almost every Trindadian’s Christmas music collection.
Singing Francine will be performing at Twilight Restaurant and Bar, 55 Nugget Ave, Scarborough on Sunday November 24th. Doors open at 4pm; showtime 6pm.