Caribbean News, Latin America News:
News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Cayman Islands, Fri. Jan. 28, 2021: The Caribbean region has lost one of its iconic female calypsonian – Sandra Des Vignes Millington, better known as “Singing Sandra.”
Reports indicate the Trinidadian-born calypsonian died on Thursday. She was 64. Following the news of her death, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Senator Randall Mitchell, issued an official statement saying: “I am saddened to hear of the passing of calypsonian Sandra Des Vignes Millington, Singing Sandra.”
Singing Sandra was born in 1957 in East Dry River, and raised in Morvant. From an early age, she sang and acted as a child, and performed various small productions named ‘Best Village’ productions. In her mid 20s she was approached in 1984 by calypsonian Dr. Zhivago to perform two of his songs, and the following year was recruited to Mighty Sparrow’s Youth Brigade tent at the carnival. Her exceptional talent and persistence in hard work and in music resulted in her winning the National Calypso Queen in 1987.From that moment and after, her career accelerated at an exponential rate. She went on to win the Carifesta Monarch and Calypso Queen of the World titles in 1992 and she performed at the Reggae Sunsplash festival in 1992.
Later, she formed the group United Sisters along with Lady B, Tigress, and Marvellous Marva, yet she continued to perform as a solo artist and consequently won the ‘Best Nation Building Song’ award, along with a $5,000 prize, at the 1997 carnival for the song “One Destiny One Heart.”
Her achievements were numerous. She was the second woman to win Trinidad’s Calypso Monarch title, winning in 1999 with the songs “Song for Healing” and “Voices from the Ghetto.” In 2003 she won the title for a second time, with “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Ancient Rhythm,” and becoming the first female calypsonian to win the title twice. This repeat win helped mark her legacy within Calypso music and also helped to again bring attention to the importance of female voices within a very male dominated competition and genre. Her music has also crossed over other genres such as soca.