Tag Archives: Trinidad-Tobago

The Mighty Sparrow

The wonderfully picaresque Mighty Sparrow.

The Mighty Sparrow of Trinidad in a dazzling performance.

The Mighty Sparrow
, along with several other Trinidadian immortals, laid the cultural and stylistic ground for the Calypso “Movement” that seemed to take firm root during the late 1950’s. This musical art form, however, evolved from a much earlier tradition as we have seen in my previous post.

Slinger Francisco, better known as “The Mighty Sparrow,” and less popularly known as, The Birdie, was and continues to be the unrivaled “Calypso King of the World.” The Mighty Sparrow, as well as many other Calypsonians, had a strong influence over the Westindian community in Panama reflected in the style and compositions of their own Panamanian Calypsonians. We will soon discuss our native Calypsonians in more depth. Continue reading

Calypso and Its Roots

Roaring Lion, Raphael Arlus Kairiyama De Leon aka Hubert Raphael Charles,
got his name from a resigned calypsonian called “Poetic Harris” who,
on hearing the power of De Leon’s singing, jumped up, threw his

hat in the air and shouted “He roars like a lion”.

Harry Belafonte and his million copy plus selling Calypso album from 1956

While thousands of Westindians from Grand and Small Island alike streamed into Panama to labor at building Panama’s Great Waterway and continue its smooth running operation, a new musical genre had been evolving and gaining much popularity in the Caribbean. Calypso would eventually lighten and stir the hearts of many and reach the comfortable homes of Americans and Europeans alike through the magic of Hollywood and the small screen. The tale of Panama’s “Silver People” would not be at all complete without the story of Calypso and the Calypsonians who helped shape Panama’s culture and history. Continue reading