Slinger Francisco, also known as Mighty Sparrow, was born on the island of Grenada in 1935. He earned his nickname thanks to his high energy performances, where he would rush around the stage engaging with the audience.
Francisco pioneered a musical style that came to be known as ‘soca’, which fused soul music and traditional Indian folk music with calypso and other musical styles. These musical genres all link to the Atlantic slave trade, whereby enslaved peoples brought music with them as they were transported to work on plantations. Soca is particularly important in Trinidad and Tobago, where it forms an integral part of the island’s largest carnival celebrations.
Mighty Sparrow has had a musical career spanning more than six decades, bringing calypso and soca to audiences all over the world. His lyrics often form social commentaries, using tales of relationships, communities and interracial politics as a way of commenting on current events. The history of the British empire, as well as contemporary independence movements gave Mighty Sparrow’s music a relevance that has stood the test of time. He has been called the “Calypso King of the World” thanks to his many achievements and dedication to Afro-Caribbean music and culture.
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