Mighty Sparrow celebrates 87th birthday Saturday

The Mighty Sparrow
The Mighty Sparrow.
Associated Press / Tim Larsen/File

The Calypso King of the World, the legendary Mighty Sparrow, feels “wonderful” about his 87th birthday on Saturday, according to the Trinidad Express.

The publication said Sparrow, whose real name is Slinger Francisco, was expected to spend his special day listening to a radio i95.5 FM tribute, dubbed “Sparrow Day.”

The Express said the musical buffet, hosted by presenters John Gill and John Wayne, featured “a slew of classics” like “Jean and Dinah,” “Sa Sa Yea,” “Both Of Them,” “Drunk and Disorderly,” “Survival, Capitalism Gone Mad” and “Education.”

“Sparrow assured his legions of international, regional and national fans he ‘will be singing something new for them,’” the Express said.

It said Grenada-born, and now New York-based, Sparrow also planned to spend the day with his daughter, Michelle, grandchildren and relatives.

“He boasted that the champagne was chilling on the ice,” said the Express, adding that Sparrow was also optimistic about returning to his Diego Martin, Trinidad home to spend quality time with his wife, Margaret, children and grandchildren before December.

“Upon arrival, he will be taking a drive along the scenic North Coast to Maracas Beach,” it said, stating that Sparrow also “cherishes hopes of having a tete-a-tete with newly elected Grenadian Prime Minister, attorney Dickon Mitchell, 44, who has been sworn in as Grenada’s ninth prime minister.”

“Mitchell is a bright man,” the Express quoted Sparrow of saying about the new Grenadian leader. “I haven’t met him yet. I am very excited about meeting him some day. I wish him all the best.”

In a telephone interview with the Express on Thursday, Sparrow said: “If I was in Trinidad, I would go to Maracas Beach. I will listen to the radio programs and the tributes.

“It’s a magnificent cornucopia,” he said. “I hope they choose songs like ‘Jean and Dinah’ and ‘Mr Walker’.

“I have a number of requests,” Sparrow, also called “The Birdie” added. “I miss my folks in Trinidad a lot, too. I have been Face-Timing my grand-kids here. I am hoping to visit once the doctors give the all clear, and I can come home. Then, they have to get organized in Trinidad for my return.

“I can’t dance like before. I can sing. I haven’t lost my voice,” he continued. “I want my fans to know I am going to sing something new for them. I have been working on it.

“I have been reading and watching the news,” Sparrow said. “The first chance I get I am going to sing something nice. When the virus is under control, maybe we can come out and do some performances.”

Reflecting upon his life and career, Sparrow told the Express: “Everybody gone (passed on) and left me. Winsford Devine (celebrated songwriter who wrote some of his megahits).

“I was just looking at a video with Kitch (Aldwyn Roberts) and I,” he added. “We were dancing and carrying on on stage. Now he’s gone.

“I spoke to Kitchener’s wife, Valerie Greene, a few days ago. I reminded her Kitch was reluctant to come to London. But I convinced him. Eventually he came to London,” Sparrow continued. “I was looking at another video, ‘We Are The World’. It has a host of performers like Shadow (Winston Bailey). Now he’s gone. Guitarist George Victory, and artistes like De Fosto, Rootsman, Brigo and Penguin passed on.

“Sugar Aloes and Cro Cro are in the video. They are still here,” he said. “It was a beautiful experience to work with all of them.”

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