BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – A life-sized wax figure of Slinger “The Mighty Sparrow” Francisco was unveiled before a gathering of artists and calypso and cultural aficionados in Barbados recently.
The figure, sculpted by Frances Ross and Art Edwards of the Caribbean Wax Museum, joins those of other calypsonians on display, such as the Mighty Gabby, the Mighty Grynner and Mac Fingall.
During the event sponsored by Consolidated Corporate and Commercial Credit, a subsidiary of Ansa Merchant Bank, Prime Minister Mia Mottley shared anecdotes of her favourite Sparrow numbers.
“It would be impossible for me to be Prime Minister of Barbados and an event taking place for the Mighty Sparrow for me not to be associated with it. Anyone who came from Mars and did not know anything about the Caribbean could literally pick up the body of work of the Mighty Sparrow and understand what happened along the way. Those who did not know about the withdrawal of the American bases could immediately understand it in Jean and Dinah…the Yankees gone, Sparrow take over now,” she remarked.
The Prime Minister said the Mighty Sparrow never lost touch with the community. However, she noted that after independence, calypso was “pigeonholed” as seasonal music and “associated at best with carnival, while reggae was a way of life and was all year”.
“I hope that we can turn the corner. There is nothing that says that our music must only be limited to a season.”
She said Caribbean people owed a debt of gratitude to the Mighty Sparrow because he represented the aspirations of the people, and ranked high globally.
At the event, the Prime Minister spoke with the Mighty Sparrow via phone and paid glowing tribute to him.