Toronto's Caribbean Tales International Film Festival kicked-off its ninth annual season last night at the Royal Theatre with a world premier screening of a new documentary about the Mighty Sparrow (Dr. Slinger Francisco) and Lord Superior (Andrew Marcano). Once dubbed the Calypso King of the World, an obviously failing Mighty Sparrow appeared on stage after the first showing of the Glamour Boyz Again: The Mighty Sparrow and Lord Superior on the Hilton Rooftop.
Written and directed by American author/filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn, the feature length movie follows a very simple format: two famous aging Calypsonians on a roof with one guitar and a bucket of Caribe ale. The two men are on top of Trinidad's swankiest hotel drinking beer and fruity cocktails while they sing and swap memories of the emergence of Calypso music in Trinidad back in the 1950s.
While the movie might has a basic premise its message gives deep deep insights into the maturation of Calypso, Carnival and the cultural independence of Trinidad and Tobago. Dunn filmed the Mighty Sparrow and his long-time friend and accompanest as they joyfully sing songs they had written while Trinidad was starting to come out from under strict British Colonial Rule.
"The Glamour Boyz," Dunn recently told the Trinidad Express Newspaper, "presents this single acoustic performance by these two giants of the art form. It's an absolutely brilliant performance. I still can't get enough of it! The energy between the two of them -- their friendship now goes back nearly 60 years -- is lively and dynamic."
The concert was was filmed in Port Of Spain during Trinidad's 2002 carnival. The two men are seen in excellent health, fine voice and high spirits. A dozen years later, both men face serious health challenges. Lord Superior was not well enough to travel to Toronto, the Mighty Sparrow did make an appearance but needed considerable help to make it into the theatre and onto the stage.
Macomere Fifi (Tara Woods), Canada's ruling Soca Monarch joined Sparrow on stage last night following the screening of the Glamour Boyz Again. Often with her arm around a seated Franciso Fifi performed the song she sang to win her 6th Calypso Monarch title during Toronto's Carnival this summer. The song? "Before Yuh Gone" - a tribute to the Mighty Sparrow. In that song she prophetically says she wants to tell the Mighty Sparrow before he dies how great he really. She got that wish, and the Mighty Sparrow seemed to enjoy her singing about his impending doom!
Geoffrey Dunn is a Santa Cruz, California award-winning author and documentary filmmaker with more than three decades experience as an investigative reporter. His books include the American bestseller "The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power". His documentary films include the award-winning "Calypso Dreams," "Miss...or Myth?," "Chinese Gold," and "Dollar a Day, 10¢ a Dance."