To add to his long list of accolades, Slinger “Mighty Sparrow” Francisco will now be immortalised at the Caribbean Wax Museum in Norman Centre, Bridgetown, Barbados.
The life-like depiction of the ‘Jean and Dinah’ singer will be unveiled tomorrow on the premises of The Commercial Credit Division of Consolidated Finance Co. Ltd, Barbados.
The unveiling is a merged effort of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Barbados, Corporate & Commercial Credit Division of Consolidated Finance Co. Ltd and the Caribbean Wax Museum.
The Grenadian-born Francisco gained the title “Calypso King” of the world through his music. Since 1956, he has remained the only calypsonian to have won the T&T Calypso Monarch title more than anyone else—eight times. He also took the Road March title on several occasions. Fransisco also took his music to the US, Europe and even Africa.
For his contribution to the cultural and musical landscape of T&T and taking the art form to the world, the 85-year-old was bestowed several honours, including an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies in 1987, the honourary title of Chief of the Yorubas, Chaconia Gold Medal, Order of the Republic of T&T and the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Of this latest honour, Francisco yesterday told Guardian Media it was a very nice thing for the Caribbean Wax Museum to honour him in such a way. He said he was made aware of this five months ago and had no objection to it.
“I have been doing my thing for a very long time. It is good to see this…I wish I could be there to see it,” he said through laughter via a telephone conversation from his US-based home.
Asked whether more needed to be done in T&T honour its creatives, Francisco answered, “I think we should continue doing these things.”
Meanwhile, Trinbago Unified Calypsonian Organisation (TUCO) president Lutalo “Brother” Resistance” Masimba labelled the unveiling as “timely.”
Masimba said given that the honour has come during the celebration of Calypso History Month adds a certain “quality” to the celebration and fitted in nicely with its theme—Calypso Beyond Boundaries and Borders. He said TUCO was very pleased with the recognition of one of the Caribbean’s greatest calypsonians of all times.
In an email interview, directors at the Caribbean Wax Museum said, “As with everywhere else in the world where Caribbean people have settled, the Mighty Sparrow set the standard against which all calypsonians are judged. Barbados’s Mighty Gabby is in many ways a protegee.”
The wax figure of Fransico will join other regional artistes in the soca arena like Barbados’ Alison Hinds and Lil Rick, Barbadian-born US-based R&B singer Rihanna, as well as historical revolutionaries like Che Guevera and Fidel Castro.