Kalifa Belgrove is on a path of positivity. Born to parents who have dedicated their lives to giving back to distressed communities through their organisation, the Rose Foundation, this young Belgrove has found her own way to do the same. She writes uplifting songs about different communities in Trinidad and Tobago that are commonly stereotyped in a negative light. “To write a song is very easy for me,” she says, “It comes naturally to me. I just release myself to the universe as a vessel. I get the melody first and the words grow out of the melody.” Belgrove realised that members of these depressed communities sometimes develop a lack of esteem about themselves, because of what people say about them externally. In her songs, she restores positivity about these areas, rebranding them. “What my songs are geared to do is bring back pride into the community, make them proud of who they are and where they have come from, and refocus them. It’s sort of an anthem for them so when they hear the song in a concert or on the radio, they can feel a sense of wow! I’m from there.”
She has written songs about Blanchisseuse, Le Wengo in Maracas St Joseph, Gonzales in Belmont, and is currently working songs about Mon Repos Morvant and St. Barbs in Laventille. Thus far, Le Wengo has gotten some airplay on the radio and Belgrove got the opportunity quite recently to launch the song about Blanchisseuse at the I am Woman concert. The song about Gonzales was also launched at the Hilton a month ago and she hopes to launch her other songs by August this year. If her name sounds a bit familiar to you, maybe it was from the World Music Festival in Washington where she performed two years ago. Or maybe it was as Tabla Girl on Synergy Soca Star five years ago. Her inspiration comes from the work she is part of as the Business Development Executive of the Rose Foundation. Through her community development work, Belgrove has seen what the plight of these communities up-close and personal. She and other members of the Foundation go into these distressed communities and help residents to form businesses and guide them in the registration of these businesses, help them to understand laws, show them what the board of directors is supposed to do, and guide them in holding meetings. These businesses in turn are supposed to give back to their communities. They have done that in Gonzales and are currently doing it in St Barbs, Mon Repos, Soogrim Trace. The Foundation also help NGOs and CBOs get themselves together professionally.
She also draws inspiration from God. Music in every form is spiritual, she says, “when we listen to music it touches our spirit first, even when we listen to a song in a different language, we don’t understand what the person is saying but we can feel the emotion. So to me everything in life is more spiritual than it is physical.” She takes her music and charitable work very seriously. “I just think it’s important to give back not just through monetary means, but through service, through touching someone, through music, through going out there and helping someone empower themselves,” she continues. “I intend to make good music and to touch people through music, to have fun, to look at serious issues. I intend to always give back to communities.” Although giving back is high on her list of priorities, she believes it is what is sadly is lacking in the world. A lot of artistes get the fame and the glory, she says, and then they forget where they came from.” To such people, Belgrove admonishes, “to whom much is given much is expected.”