Date: August 4, 2003
Commentary : Gilman T. Figaro, Sr


Hallelujah! The Mighty Sparrow, The Supreme Calypso King of the World has done it once again. He has taken the beautiful and inspiring music of Gospel Calypso to new heights. His long awaited CD, Gospelypso Redemption is a wonderful gift to music lovers of all ages. The Mighty Sparrow’s rendition of the songs on this CD will certainly appeal to all listeners. Now the King of Calypso can rightfully claim a new musical kingdom – “The World of Gospelypso.”

With a voice, which seems to have only improved with age, Sparrow again uses his magnificent instrument to effortlessly caress the uplifting lyrics. His musical mastery gives each track its own special and unique appeal, and this CD is guaranteed to hold all listeners enthralled.

The selection of songs covers a range of biblical events, songs of praise, personal testimonials and social/political commentaries. These lyrics, however, go far beyond what we usually hear in songs of this nature. The songs are skillfully crafted, with meaningful lyrics, which will touch the listeners on several levels. Regardless of one’s spiritual or religious inclination or lack thereof, these songs cannot fail to inspire and uplift one’s spirits. Wheter they are speaking of “The Miracles of Christ” (Track6), or asking “Do You Believe” (Track7), in the power and glory of Christ, or reminding us of the profundity of “His Wisdom and Teachings” (Track12), each song is exhilarating as it’s beautifully performed by the songbird himself.

Apart from the beauty of the lyrics, perhaps it is also the ease and grace with which Sparrow delivers these soul-searching words, which make them so appealing. However, the musical arrangement of each track is definitely a contributing factor. The rhythmic calypso beat, woven with the gospel sound, makes for an exquisitely delightful and soul inspiring experience. An experience you will never forget. As we listen to the biblical stories “Rejoice In His Name”(Track 4), “A Traitor Among Us” (Track5), and “Nebuchenezar” (Track8) being retold in true calypso and soca style one cannot help but smile at the cleverness and skill of the lyricist. The songs give the listener pause to reflect and contemplate on the deeper meaning of the words being sung so beautifully and soulfully by the King of Calypso himself.

The wide range of subjects being addressed on Gospelypso REDEMPTION includes reference to the political struggle in the Middle East as Sparrow sings about “Isaac and Ishmael” (Track11), “…In your quest for peace/no effort must be spared/Let love abide, vengeance is mine said the Lord, because the blood of Isaac and Ishmael, Sara and Hagar should not be ignored in sibling rivalry. If this is allowed it can lead to the beginning of WW III.”

The songs are delivered with just the right amount of emotional of emotional intensity to connect with the listener without becoming too overpowering. A skill and experience which the Mighty Sparrow demonstrates on every track and which listeners can fully appreciate as they listen to the wonderful testimonial-type songs such as “He Saved Me” (Track1) showing his graduate for the blessings he has received and “I Used Too Be A Sinner” (Track3). He engages the listener with the song and it becomes almost a personal experience, which is a good measure of true gospel.

This is a CD which will have listeners being moved by the lyrics, being inspired by the Mighty Sparrow’s soulful rendition of the songs, while at the same time enjoying that rich rhythmic experience of the Caribbean fusion of gospel and calypso. This is an excellent production, with wonderful music and vocal clarity, which adds to the listening pleasure.

With a career spanning over fifty years, the Mighty Sparrow is universally acclaimed as the King of Calypso. This entertainer and calypsonian with the powerful yet sweet melodic voice continues to keep us amazed and entertained with his wide selection of calypsos. Gospelypso REDEMPTION is yet another level of accomplishment in his illustrious career. At the same time, it is not entirely surprising that he should finally come out with a CD of gospel music. His extraordinary talents as a singer first became apparent when, as a child, he sang tenor and baritone and became the lead choirboy in his church.

Once could say that with the production of Gospelypso REDEMPTION, his musical career has, in a sense, come full circle, from church to church – still counting. Thank you Mighty Sparrow for another job well done.