And while he may have drawn sympathy, shock and tears from the large crowd which turned out at NAPA on Saturday, when “Sparrow” performed on Sunday, he was greeted with cheers and from the crowd.
Affectionately dubbed, The Birdie, Sparrow, whose career spans 40 years and counting, was among other icons performing at NAPA Fest, in a show entitled Celebrating Our Calypso Monarchs 1939-1980 – TT History Through the Eyes of Claypso.
Marlon De Bique, NAPA Fest Programme manager said the event organisers were also surprised that Sparrow was so frail that he couldn’t perform but the Birdie himself insisted he wanted to be on stage for Sunday’s show and that “the show must go on!”
De Bique said Sparrow’s request was granted and there were no regrets in allowing the ailing calypsonian on stage for Sunday’s show. “Sparrow showed that he is a man of tremendous strength and experience. He had some limitations at both shows but he still wanted to be available to his fans.
He was still able to bring the audience to their feet and at the same time inspire the audience and the other young and upcoming cast memebrs. We were surprised to see him ailing and so weak but we were able to make certain accommodations for him,” De Bique said.
NAPA Fest Master of Ceremonies and Sparrow’s good friend, Alvin Daniel said that Sparrow was willing and he was monitored during his performance on Sunday. He said that organisers gave Sparrow the option to opt out of performing on Sunday, but he insisted on being part of the show. “I think that we have to appreciate that Sparrow wanted to be at the show. He might have been a little tired on the first night but his presence on stage was monitored on both days. We consulted with him at first for Sunday night’s show and and we got Chucky to sing a medley of his songs in tribute to him. It was a beautiful moment.
Sparrow is an entertainer of the highest standard and we are proud of him and the outpouring of love he received was nice,” Daniel said.
When Sparrow’s family was contacted yesterday, they declined to comment about the calypsonian’s ailing condition. Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston “Gypsy” Peters said the Ministry stands ready to assist him in anyway possible.
TUCO president Brother Resistance, echoed the same sentiments. The programme on Sunday, saw Players from the Creative Arts UWI, in a comical and entertaining theatrical presentation based on Sparrow’s 1960 hit, “Ten to One is Murder”.
After which, Sparrow was seen on stage, sitting on a chair, his head bowed, and looking sombre and accompanied by Calypso Rose, Kurt Allen, Duane O’Connor and other young and upcoming claypsoninas, who were also part of the NAPA Fest cast.
Calypsonian and Soca Entertainer, Roderick “Chucky” Gordon, moved the audience in a tribute to Sparrow. While Chucky enthralled the audience with classics like Congo Man, as if given a fresh burst of energy, the unmistakable voice of Sparrow resonated throughout NAPA, to resounding applause from the audience. Eventually, Sparrow attempted to stand, but had to be assisted by Calypso Rose and other calypsonians.