Mighty Sparrow is a living legend of Trinidadian Calypso. He is the James Brown of Trinidad.
Mighty Sparrow plays Joe’s Pub
Saturday, July 6, 2019 ~ Mighty Sparrow plays Joe’s Pub in NoHo, NYC at 7pm. $25
Mighty Sparrow plays SummerStage
Friday, July 5, 2019 ~ Mighty Sparrow and CASYM Steel Orchestra play Trinidadian Calypso for SummerStage at Springfield Park in Springfield Gardens, Queens on Friday, July 5, 2019 at 7pm. FREE
CASYM Steel Orchestra is (Caribbean American Sports and Cultural Youth Movement). The group from East Flatbush, Brooklyn teaches steel pan culture.
The SummerStage stage is along Springfield Blvd between 147th & 146th Ave.
Slinger Francisco was born in Grand Roy, Grenada on July 9, 1935. His family moved to Port of Spain, Trinidad when he was an infant.
Francisco started playing in calypso bands in high school. There he was nicknamed “Little Sparrow” for his energetic performances. He later changed his name to “Mighty Sparrow”.
The youngster began winning calypso competitions in Trinidad Carnival. His first hits were “Jean and Dinah” in 1956 and “Carnival Boycott” in 1957. He wrote “Carnival Boycott” to express his frustration that calypso musicians were not well paid, and actually organized a boycott.
Calypso music broke out into the world in the 1950s. Sparrow rode that wave to England and even New York City. His success internationally peaked in the 1970s and Mighty Sparrow became the “Calpyso King of the World.”
Sparrow has bounced back a couple of times from health issues. Now in his 80s, he continues to write and perform. Mighty Sparrow truly is a living legend of Trinidadian calypso.
Calypso is Political and Naughty Too
Sparrow is known for the political commentary in his lyrics. Who knew that calypso was political? Perhaps all folk musics are, in the tradition of the Cuban trova. In times and places where speaking directly might get you murdered, the poetry of music provides an outlet for the people.
Being from the Caribbean, Sparrow’s lyrics are often naughty. He has even had songs banned from the radio. Yet that is how we speak in the Caribbean. When you are poor and live in the countryside, your body may be the only thing you have, and there is nothing else to do. So sexuality is more on the surface than in some other cultures and situations.
With full respect for the #MeToo era, nobody should be offended by the naughty lyrics of the Caribbean.
A Mighty Sparrow concert is a chance to relive the days before life was reduced to Starbucks everywhere and an Instagram selfie. God bless Mighty Sparrow, the Calypso King of the World.