Musician Frankie McIntosh, Mighty Sparrow (center) & the late Scipio Sargeant
Insightful, engaging, entertaining and highly educational, was the symposium on the career of the incomparable Mighty Sparrow. The Trinidad and Tobago Folk Arts Institute can take a bow and relish in the fact that for three hours, the packed-to-capacity Mary Pinkett Lecture Hall on the Medgar Evers College Brooklyn campus was indeed the place to be. Led by the organization's chairman Les Slater, four presenters delivered their perspectives on the genius of Sparrow and his personal impact on them.
Indeed, while the forum was three hours long, it could have easily gone another three hours and still only scratch the surface of the career and brilliance of the man known as Sparrow, born Slinger Francisco. As the presenters approached Sparrow's incredible career and works in the Calypso art form from different vantage points, the intelligence and talent of Sparrow became even more abundantly clear.
The four presenters were Prof. Lawrence Waldron, who teaches art at City College of CUNY; Winthrop Holder, an educator who is also author of the Classroom Calypso: Giving Voice to the Voiceless; poet Mervyn Taylor, whose poetry continuously engages the Caribbean culture spectrum; and attorney Khalick Hewitt, whose avid interest and research in calypso and steel band date back to his youthful days in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
There were a series of memorable exchanges between the audience and the presenters as many reminisced and re-experienced the impact that Sparrow had on special moments in their lives with a clarity they were not cognizant of ever before. A greater and profound respect for the man known as Sparrow was clearly achieved by the attendees who were familiar with his works, and those encountering it for the first time.
The Trinidad and Tobago Folk Arts Institute
“Just Like That, Sparrow Turned 80,”
Lawrence Waldron, Winthrop Holder, Mervyn Taylor, Khalick Hewitt
Presentations at the Symposium on the Mighty Sparrow
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