Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago, also known as CIRC, has shared an interesting feature on the career of the Calypso icon – the late Roaring Lion, while updating ‘Wayback Wednesday’.
The social media post by the Carnival Institute read, “Hey, Folks! It’s another #WaybackWednesday, and today we reminisce on one of the highlights of the career of the Calypso icon – the late Roaring Lion. On February 5, 1989, Rafael de Leon (1908-1999), better known by his nickname, the Roaring Lion, was given the honour of singing to welcome Pope John Paul II on his visit to the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.”
According to the post, Lion’s accolades are many; among them, in 1934, he and Atilla the Hun were the first calypsonians to record abroad. In 1986, he released his book Calypso from France to Trinidad: 800 Years of History, and he was a National Awardee, having received both the Humming Bird Medal (Silver) in 1981 and the Chaconia Medal (Gold) in 1994 for his contributions to culture. However, the visit of the Pope was certainly history in the making.
CIRC further informed that for the occasion, Lion penned the song “Welcome to Pope John Paul II” and was selected to present the song, written in celebration of the visit. It was arranged by his Grace, the late Archbishop Anthony Pantin, that Lion should entertain the Pope. This song so impressed Archbishop Pantin that he had it recorded. The song was recorded as a 12-inch single, and Lion presented a copy of the single to the Pope after singing it for him. This gesture so touched the Pope that he gave the calypsonian a papal blessing.
Earlier last week, Carnival Institute and Regional Carnival (CIRC) brought a Fun Fact about Shurwayne Winchester as Wayback Wednesday update.
As per the update, Fantastic Friday in 2006 featured an unbeatable Shurwayne Winchester. In addition to dominating the Soca Monarch competition in the Groovy Segment with the song “Don’t Stop,” he later that evening returned to the stage and sang “Can’t-Wait” to win his second title. He became the first of several artists to win the Groovy and Power Soca Monarch titles in the competition’s history. He left with $500,000, a vehicle, and an all-expenses paid trip to Germany for the 2006 FIFA World Cup to see Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors make history.