The Birdie Soars

Thursday, January 01, 2015

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Calypso King of the World the Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) has been voted Express Individual of the Year 2014.
Sparrow has shown resilience, determination and a will to live after having been hospitalised for one month in September 2013. For five days while the world prayed "The Birdie" lay in a coma in a Queen’s County Hospital in New York.
After weeks of therapy, Sparrow started singing on stage again much to the delight of his many fans but also to the amazement of others.
Though not fully recovered in terms of his strength, Sparrow is a modern-day miracle. He has come out of a coma with a stronger voice and remembers the lyrics to all of his songs.
He has not stopped performing since his recovery. Sparrow goes on stage and performs for more than an hour with consummate ease. It seems like being on stage gives him added strength but all this is done under the watchful eyes of his wife Margaret.
When told about Sparrow’s latest award, his wife said, "That’s very good, I am very proud of my husband." Not one to give interviews she called her husband to the telephone.
The Birdie, as he is sometimes affectionately called, simply said "WOW", when told of his achievement.
"I am humbled but God is not my step-father, he is my Father and is always there when I call on him. I know my work is not done so I am on my best behaviour doing what my Father has sent me to do. The party now start," ended Sparrow.
Brother Superior (Andrew Marcano) the longest performing calypsonian said, "Anything Sparrow gets is barely good enough. He is a very gifted person and since his illness he has come out even better."
Another of Sparrow’s close associates Roderick Ward said, "That is well deserved...he literally came back from death without losing his voice. It is unbelievable but God just wasn’t ready for him yet."
President of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) Brother Resistance (Lutalo Masimba) said, "Congrats to Dr Slinger Francisco from all of us at Tuco. We are extremely proud of his achievements. This is a feel-good moment for all calypsonians and calypso lovers the world over."
Sparrow is seen as the quintessential calypsonian, the unrivalled Calypso King of the World having performed throughout the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America.
He has recorded over 600 songs on 70-plus albums; he is witty with his lyrics in humour, social, political and sexual innuendo. He is the holder of eight Road March and eight Calypso Monarch titles. In 1956, Sparrow at the age of 20, won the Road March and Calypso King competitions with Jean and Dinah" (aka "Yankees Gone", a song celebrating the departure of US troops from Trinidad).
Sparrow has been honoured in various ways, holding the nation’s highest award—The Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He also has a Chaconia Medal Gold, an honorary PhD from The University of the West Indies and has an honorary Yoruba title of Chief Omo Wale of Ikoyi given to him in 1977 when he toured West Africa.
-Trinidad Express

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