Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 25th 2014 Contents A10
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, February 25, 2014
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for FEBRUARY 24th 2014
Many honours and titles have been
conferred upon the undisputed King of
Calypso, the Mighty Sparrow (Slinger
Fransico), but last Wednesday night in
San Fernando, delivering one of the "If
Sparrow Say So" series of lectures,
calypsonian David Rudder added a new
Back in the days, Rudder told the
Naparima Bowl audience, which included
Minister of Culture Dr Lincoln Douglas
and legendary South African trumpeter
Hugh Masekela, "Sparrow was our Inter-
net, our Twitter, our Facebook."
Rudder, the guest speaker at the Can-
boulay Productions Sparrow lecture series,
said before the information highway made
worldwide data-sharing possible, the
moment something happened, Sparrow
was the man who chronicled local, regional
and international events in such a crafty
package that all who heard could under-
stand the message. He alluded to two such
songs as Philip, My Dear and Federation.
Federation, he said, made him a student
"Had it not been for this calypso, I may
not have known that piece of history or
understood why we never achieved that
unity to this day."
Growing up in Belmont, Rudder said,
he knew people from his district, but Spar-
row introduced him to a whole world of
people through his songs and made con-
nections with people in society by iden-
tifying someone as the relative of a well
"That is why I say Sparrow was the
Internet of his time, he was Facebook and
everything else. He was our Apple. You
hit the Sparrow screen and he tell you
something, he teach you something," Rud-
der noted to tumultuous applause as the
Unfortunately, Sparrow, who only
recently recovered from a diabetic coma,
was not in the audience to hear this tribute
from his friend of many years, as an earlier
trip to Penal had left him tired. At that
function, prime minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar announced that the government
would bestow the country s highest hon-
our, the Order of the Republic of Trinidad
and Tobago, on Sparrow and also take
care of his medical bills.
Douglas said the medical bills amounted
Many fans who had travelled from as
far the east and deep south, to see the
living legend were somewhat disappoint-
ed.Rudder, who titled his talk "The Uni-
versity of Sparrow", recalled as a child,
to him Sparrow was the mystical man
coming from his neighbour s gramophone.
He said he had an old speaker box in his
house, for which he paid a $2 rent for
two radio stations at that time, Rediffusion
and Radio Trinidad.
He said from his first encounter with
Sparrow, he knew he wanted to be just
like him. His education in life, he revealed,
began with Sparrow.
"Sparrow taught me all kinds of things.
He taught me about love, romance, pol-
itics, tabanca. All kind of things, and I
was a willing student."
Together with the husband-and-wife
duo of Carl and Carol Jacobs, Rudder pro-
vided background vocals for Sparrow. Of
this experience, he described Sparrow as
a perfectionist. He recalled that they
referred to Sparrow and his contemporary
the late Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts),
as the trouble men.
"They were the same."
On reflection, he reminisced, giving
trouble was really their way of driving
the supporting singers to perform to their
"They were saying no to anything half-
way. They felt we could go beyond that,
and I am thankful for that."
He even compared Sparrow with Amer-
ican crooner Frank Sinatra.
"When people say, You ever heard
about Sinatra? I ask them, You ever hear
"I look back and think if not for this
man, this international chantwell, our
voice, where would we be today? In terms
of boy days, this was our life.
"Being in the presence of someone who
could dead so much time and come back,
and Sparrow have more bookings than
Machel and Bunji put together for this
season," he said, overcome by emotion.
"I am so flooded with memories, I just
feel to sing some Sparrow songs," which
he did, delving into some of the classics,
first as a soloist and then as a duet with
the evergreen David Bereaux for the
humorous Queen s Canary.
One of the things Rudder said he loved
about Sparrow, apart from him singing
the songs and telling the stories, was his
theatrics on stage.
"There was that magic Sparrow wielded
on stage. Seeing that man on stage, doing
that song called the Queen s Canary, was
pure theatre. Singing background vocals
for him, I said I had to learn to do that
too," some of which he demonstrated in
his duet with the other David.
"I say to the Mighty Sparrow, teacher,
elder, big brother, friend and the man
who called me King David, thank you for
all you have given and keep on giving and
The National Carnival Commission s Kings
and Queens Junior preliminary competition
went off without a hitch on Sunday at Adam
Smith Square in Woodbrook.
Woodbrook residents had raised strong
objections to the event claiming excessive
noise and congestion.
The residents met with Port-of-Spain mayor
Raymond Tim Kee last week Tuesday to com-
They are also planning to stage a protest
against four large Carnival bands that plan to
parade through several streets en route to the
Jean Pierre Complex, Port-of-Spain, next Car-
The complex will be transformed into "the
Socadrome," the venue for the country s newest
Carnival Parade of the Bands showplace.
In an interview at Kiddies Carnival on Sun-
day, National Carnival Bands Association pres-
ident David Lopez refused to comment on the
Woodbrook resident, Janice Audain, said
she came to allow her grandson to experience
the Carnival celebrations.
"I don t mind it, once it comes to Carnival
we need to accommodate but not to the
extreme. It is our festival and if we don t want
it someone else will take it," she said.
June Rampersad, another spectator, said
Carnival was part of our culture that needed
"It is a park and where do they want it to
happen? It is not night time, its a children s
and community event. I lived in Woodbrook
years and loud noise will happen no matter
where you are. I am enjoying it," she said.
A total of 120 girls and 66 boys took part
in the competition with a colourful and lively
display of the bands.
Colour my culture, D Mistique Garden,
Africa, Africa, Wonders of the Ocean, the
Serengeti, Under the Sea and Raise your stan-
dards were some of the bands that took part.
They were judged in historical, creative trop-
ical, fantasy, original and creative categories
in various age groups.
During the competition, one of the moko
jumbies participating in the Queens individual
competition fell while leaving the stage so to
did one of the Kings as strong winds blew
him off the stage.
The judges later announced that this would
not affect his score for the competition.
Kiddies make mas
SEE PAGES 29, 31, 34, 35 AND 38 FOR MORE CARNIVAL COVERAGE
Sparrow the social media of his time---Rudder
may you live many more years and maybe die a
few more times."
Rudder shared with the audience conversations
he had with Sparrow shortly after he came out
of his coma.
"He said, I just want to shake them. They start
to forget me, David. So I shake them and I coming
"Another time I called and asked to speak to
Sparrow and he said, You talking to him . I said
your voice sounding so young and he said, I com-
ing back for them. If you hear Sparrow sing today,
you will be shocked to know that is the same
The final lecture in the five part series takes
place tomorrow (Wednesday) at Daaga Auditorium,
University of the West Indies, St Augustine fea-
turing Prof Patricia Mohammed and calypsonian
Sandra Des Vignes-Millington (Singing Sandra)
who will speak on the topic-Who taking advantage
A cross-section of fans of the Mighty Sparrow who filled Naparima Bowl, San Fernando,
last Wednesday to hear David Rudder's performance during the tribute concert and
lecture series in honour of the Mighty Sparrow.
Calypsonian David Rudder pays tribute to the Mighty
Sparrow during a lecture series at the Naparima Bowl
last Wednesday. PHOTOS:TONY HOWELL
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