Some well-known Caribbean-American politicians in New York were among special invitees at an awards ceremony on July 9, 2010 to celebrate Slinger “Mighty Sparrow” Francisco’s 75th birthday. The event took place at The Rotunda, Brooklyn Borough Hall, at 11:30 a.m. and was attended by a number of elected officials.
Known as the “Calypso King of the World,” Francisco, who is also called “The Birdie, “ is one of the best-known and most successful calypsonians. He was born on July 9, 1935 in Grand Roy, a village on Grenada’s west coast, but grew up in Trinidad. With a career that spans over 40 years, this artiste par excellence has earned his rightful place as “King of the Calypso World”, having entertained audiences across the globe, including, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, and has served as a cultural ambassador for Grenada.
His singing began in the church, and other influences included listening to American street quartets, pop tunes by Nat King Cole and Frankie Laine, Sarah Vaughn, Billy Eckstein, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, with their jazz contributions, and the early calypsos of Lord Melody, Lord Kitchener, Lord Christo, Lord Invader and the Mighty Spoiler.
The Prime Minister of Grenada, the Hon. Tillman Thomas, marked the birthday with a message read at the ceremony in which he said that “Grenadians the world over can proudly claim as their own, a truly distinguished and accomplished Caribbean maestro in you, the Mighty Sparrow. From humble beginnings in Grand Roi, in the parish of St. John, you were destined to be the Grand Calypso King of the World and one of our nation’s finest Cultural Ambassadors.”