(Trinidad Express) The Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) is toying with the possibility of new music for the next Carnival season.
The news came from “The Birdie” himself on Wednesday night, shortly after he accepted the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (ORTT) from President Anthony Carmona at the National Academy of the Performing Arts (NAPA), in Port of Spain.
In an interview with the media after the ceremony, Sparrow was asked what might be in store for him and he replied that returning to the arena “would be good”.
Recovering after a prolonged illness last year that saw him bedridden in a New York, USA, hospital for months, Sparrow said he has come a long way, having graduated from being confined to a wheelchair to using a walking cane, which he is ready to “throw aside”.
On the possibility of a re-entry to the calypso scene next year, Sparrow said:
“I don’t want to make any promises but I will be around, God willing.”
He had earlier said:
“I will give it a chance. I have one or two ideas already.”
Sparrow said he was happy and felt “special” to be presented with the nation’s highest award but he could not help but think of his late peers and friends who were also deserving of such an honour, particularly Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) and Lord Melody (Fitzroy Alexander).
On his own award, Sparrow said:
“Nothing comes before its time.”
Sparrow said he was also happy to be an exemplar to the young people and aspiring calypsonians that “hard work” pays off and he said one of his secrets was prayer.
“Work hard, don’t ever give up,” Sparrow said.
“You see what happens when people work hard and dedicate themselves,” he added.
Wednesday night offered an unexpected treat for the scores of family, friends from the calypso fraternity, pupils and others who packed into the Lord Kitchener Auditorium at NAPA to witness Sparrow being bestowed with the ORTT by Carmona, which was also done in the presence onstage of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, her husband Dr Gregory Bissessar and Chief Justice Ivor Archie and his wife, Denise.
Sparrow ditched his walking cane to make his way towards the President, giving the audience, who were on their feet as soon as he appeared, reason to shout out as he ‘bounced’ across the stage.
As one audience member remarked later on, Sparrow had ‘swag’ long before the term was born.
As the legendary back-up band Len Cummings and the Wailers were introduced at the end of the entertainment segment, it became clear that the Mighty Sparrow was about to take the stage.
He followed an entertainment line-up of the Bishop Anstey High School Choir; Warrant Officer Class I, Robert Tobit, on the tenor pan; calypsonian David Bereaux, performing Sparrow and the Vikash School of Dance, who later joined The Birdie onstage for his “Marajhin”.
As he did for his first performance since returning home, Sparrow opened with the “Our Father”, hushing the awed crowd, and proceeded to perform a series of his hits.
The cry of the “Congo Man” rang out as powerfully as it ever did, with some audience so beside themselves with joy that they too had to shout out.
Sparrow at one point sat on a stool, basked in the spotlight and in a truly intimate show, treated the audience to his rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”.
In the mingling that followed the ceremony, Sparrow greeted and posed for photographs with a long line of fans and peers.
Included in the audience were Government ministers, calypso stalwarts and soca stars. Also spotted in the crowd was legendary mas man Peter Minshall.
Many were overheard commenting on Sparrow’s resilience and hoping that he does, indeed, make his way to the stage next year.
Sparrow said he was “happy” and felt “special” to be presented with the nation’s highest award but he could not help but think of his late peers and friends who were also deserving of such an honour, particularly Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) and Lord Melody (Fitzroy Alexander).