Francine Edwards, who was known in the calypso world as “Singing Francine” passed away early this morning.
The news was confirmed by TUCO, who posted to social media that it is mourning her passing.
Singing Francine was born in Barbados and came to Trinidad at a young age.
Throughout her career, she has used her musical talent to address social issues, particularly those directly affecting women. In 1975, she sang “A Call to Women,” encouraging more women to use calypso music as a vehicle of self-expression. In her 1978 calypso “Runaway,” she addressed the topic of domestic violence, urging women in abusive living situations to seek help.
Singing Francine was one of the most successful calypsonians in Trinidad and Tobago, winning the National Calypso Queen competition in 1972, 1973, 1981 and 1983.
In 1981, Singing Francine released the parang album “Christmas is Love,” which featured a blend of calypso, soca and parang sounds. Francine’s album came only three years after the calypsonian Crazy, released “Parang Soca”—one of the first songs to feature what we now call “parang soca” or “soca parang,” making him a pioneer in this genre.
Since then, many musicians such as Baron, Scrunter, Chalkdust, Kitchener, Sundar Popo, Drupatee Ramgoonai, Rikki Jai and Singing Francine have also made their mark by blending the dynamic sounds of calypso, soca, chutney and parang.
Over the years, Singing Francine has released a number of Christmas hits, earning her the reputation as one of the best parranderos in Trinidad. Some of her classic parang songs include “Hooray, Hurrah,” “Parang Parang,” I Love Christmas,” “Christmas is Love,” “Caribbean Christmas,” and “Ay Ay Maria.”