Mighty Sparrow

After near-death fright, Sparrow sees the light

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Veteran calypsonian Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) was baptised at Far Rockaway Beach in Queens, New York on 4 September, causing something of a stir among fans when video of the ceremony was posted to social media. He is now a member of the Linden Seventh Day Adventist Church in New York.

The 87-year-old singer’s baptism was conducted by Vincentian pastor Claudius Morgan, who himself had been a calypsonian performing under the sobriquet Samaritan. Pastor Morgan had been evangelising in a large tent (not a calypso tent) as part of a five-week evangelical crusade.

Quoted by Searchlight, Pastor Morgan remarked: “God could use anybody. When it comes to God and salvation, nobody is unreachable, nobody is too hard for God to save.” Sparrow’s motivation, Morgan said, was the salvation of his soul. The pastor stated that Sparrow had been in a coma and had a near-death experience before he was baptised.

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Sparrow – or Brother Francisco, as he is now known – is reported to have said that he may now stop singing some of his more risqué calypsos.

Morgan said he now hopes to baptise fellow calypsonians Crazy (Edwin Ayoung) and Calypso Rose (McCartha Sandy-Lewis). He has already baptised one of Sparrow’s daughters.

Newsday reported Rose as saying: “Long time he [Sparrow] wanted to be baptised. His mother was a Spiritual Baptist.”

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