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Sparrow Gets U.S. Congressional Record

Posted by admin On July - 23 - 2010  Print  Email  

Mighty Sparrow Flies High in New York

Undisputed Calypso King of the World, the Mighty Sparrow celebrated his 75th birthday with much to sing about. Members of the Caribbean community joined in an honor ceremony and offered glowing tribute to the “Birdie” on July 9, 2010 at the Brooklyn Borough Hall, Brooklyn, New York. The bash was hosted by DeeVee International Productions, an entertainment company.

Undisputed Calypso King of the World, The Mighty Sparrow.

Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, daughter of Jamaican immigrants, conferred on him a memorable listing in the United States Congressional Record.

“It is important that the entire nation know what the Mighty Sparrow has done for us,” Clarke, representative for the 11th Congressional District said. “So we have entered him in the Congressional Record.”

But it was a sick Sparrow who performed for hundreds of fans at the NAPA auditorium in Trinidad on Saturday July 17, 2010. The show was titled Celebrating Calypso Monarchs 1939-1980. Stricken by diabetes, Sparrow sang sitting in a wheel chair, to the shock and concern of the crowd who remembered him for wining his waist and flitting around the stage.

Sparrow, whose real name is Slinger Francisco, was born to poor, working-class parents in Gran Roy, Grenada. When he was a year old, his family migrated to Trinidad when he grew up and became a calypsonian.  He attended the New Town Boys School and sang in the choir at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, where he became head choirboy. He has entertained audiences from the Caribbean to Asia, Canada, America and Europe.

Reading from the Record, Clark said he influenced singers Nat King Cole, Frankie Laine, Sarah Vaughn, Billy Eckstein, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Trinidadian calypso pioneers, Lord Melody, Lord Kitchener, Lord Christo, Lord Invader and the Mighty Spoiler.

The Record stated that his success kicked off with his early hit “Jean and Dinah” when he was just 20. “Not satisfied with early success, he followed up with a rapid succession of hits, including ‘Carnival Boycott’, ‘P.A.Y.E.’, ‘Russian Satellite’, ‘Theresa,’ ‘Good Citizen,’ ‘Salt Fish,’ and ‘Penny Commission,’ just to name a few.”

She noted that Sparrow’s songs covered a “broad range of socially conscious topics including education, tyranny, in Africa, animal cruelty and the welfare of his home of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Clarke called on all her colleagues to “join me in celebrating the birthday and extraordinary body of work that The Mighty Sparrow has contributed during his career as a lyricist, composer, singer, comedian and entertainer.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also honored him with a citation. In a statement read by Roy Hastick, the Grenadian born president and founder of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), Bloomberg noted that Sparrow “touched the lives of countless listeners. Today’s event is a terrific opportunity to commemorate all of your past accomplishments while looking forward to many more on the horizon.”

Sparrow’s accomplishments include eight-time Road March King, eight-time Calypso Monarch, an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies, a Bollywood Music Award, general contributions to music and society, with the then New York City Mayor Ed Koch, proclaiming March 18, 1986, “The Mighty Sparrow Day.”

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Hi. My name is Susan Gosine-Herrera. I live in Queens, New York. This news blog is my way of highlighting all the interesting things, people and events I come across in this part of New York. If you have an interesting immigrant story or know of one or of an interesting immigrant, I will be happy to feature that story in these pages. Just send an email and I will be in touch. Meanwhile, live like a tourist, enjoy all you can, before you move on.

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