Newspaper: Guardian
Date: August 30, 2003
Page#: Page 12
News Editor: Donna Pierre


Insurance executive NEIL JONES, lesft, and Hilton Trinidad general manager ALI KHAN, right dance as SPARROW sings one of his gospel songs from hia album Redemption. The album was launched at the ST Anns's, Port of Spain hotel on Thursday. Photo: David Wears

The other side of Sparrow

DAVID RUDDER'S 1998 offering of "High Mas" has reconnected the Mighty.Sparrow to his gospel roots. Launching his first gospelypso album titled Redemption at the Hilton Trinidad on Thursday night, Sparrow said: "David inspired me to move in this direction."
Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) added that before Rudder’s recording he tested the people some years before with "Salvation."
But it was the sight of people dancing, singing and enjoying "High Mas" that confirmed Sparrow's belief that they were ready for gospelypso.
He said very few people knew of his humble beginnings.
“My family migrated from Grenada to Trinidad for a better life, better education,” he said. As a child he sang hymns at school, he added.
A few hours before the launch, Sparrow was at the Port of Spain Mayor Murchison Brown’s office singing the first hymns he leaned in Latin while attending Newtown Boys’ RC School.
He and Calypso Rose paid a courtesy call on the mayor as part of the promotion for tonight’s Icons in Concert.
For 46 years Sparrow has been known for his witty and skillfully – written kaisos like “Jean and Dinah,” “Mae Mae,” “Ten to One,” and “Drunk and Disorderly.”
In response to remarks MC of the album launch Alvin Daniel made about wanting to know who the real Sparrow was, the Calypso King replied: “This is the real Sparrow here.”
He said as he wrote the gospel songs the inspirations simply kept coming.
“Let’s hope this inspiration continues and does not change. I did enough of that already,” he added.
At the end of the formalities Sparrow performed two tracks.
He also announced while taking center stage at the Humming Bird Room that he has a new dance. It was simply Sparrow trying to control his already trained wining waistline.
Sparrow said prayers have worked for him for a long time and he was willing to see how far his newfound career would take him. He said he was working on another album.
The reception was attended by close friends and family members including his wife Margaret, son Sancho, Neil Jones, a friend of 43 years, producer Earl Crosby, Carib public relations manager Colin Murray, promoter Frank Martineau and the Rev Cyril Paul.