POSTED: 04/15/14 1:28 AM

St. Maarten – After a bout of illness, the Mighty Sparrow – real name Francisco Slinger – is not as active as he once was, but after his superb performance under the tent at the Princess Port de Plaisance last Friday, most would agree that the Calypso King of the world still has the ability to captivate the audience even when he is sitting.

The promoters of the concert, and M&M Production knew that the “Birdie,” as he was  popularly known, would attract a mature audience and with that in mind, they catered for 40 elderly clients from the St Maarten Home who did not have to pay.

Yet the elderly group of men and women only represented just over five percent of the 700 seating capacity. Birdie, now 79, is the man that brought out tunes like Sparrow Come Back Home,  Congo Man, Dan is the Man, Bang Bang Lulu, and Only a Fool, just to name a few.

It was expected that the mature audience would have been able to relate to his music, but before he made his presence felt on stage, The Jolly Boys provided back up for Lil Blossom and King T-Mo. And in between the short breaks comedian Fernando Clark took the opportunity to inject huge doses of humor.

When Sparrow finally made his grand entrance he received a standing ovation. The chance to see him perform live was an opportunity of a life time for most in the audience, but from their reactions it was evident that they were all extremely appreciative.

Dressed in a two piece dark brown suit, Sparrow strolled gracefully but slowly through the human gauntlet pausing for a few seconds to shake a hand while baring an appreciative smile. Seconds after reaching the stage, Sparrow took a seat, but the crowd was still standing.

Zhaira ‘Zee’ Richardson and Clark had the distinct honor of doing a melodramatic duet’ Die With My Dignity’ to welcome Sparrow. But before that the man of the moment brought back some old sweet memories of some of his hit tunes.

The Mighty Sparrow got in touch with his spiritual side when he invited his daughter, Ginalorain Francisco to join him on stage for the tune, Our Father. After that, for the better part of 45 minutes, he serenaded the audience with his distinct clear and melodious voice.

So invigorating was his singing that he caused several persons to get up from their seats and dance at the front of the stage. Sparrow knew exactly how to get the crowd going and the Jolly Boys were equal to the musical tasks at hand for the night.

On behalf of the Collectivité of Saint Martin, Vice President Aline Hanson had the pleasure of presenting the Mighty Sparrow with a gift, which he happily accepted. Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson was also afforded the same opportunity to hand over a gift on behalf of the people of St Maarten.

In a surprise move, The Calypso King caused the Clark to get real emotional when he presented him with a prize, much to the delight of the audience. “This is the first time, I am actually crying on stage,” Clark said, but it’s a moment he will never forget for as long as he lives. Sparrow was also presented with several Bachata CDs.


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