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Glamour Boyz Mesmerises Caribbean Audience in Toronto

Glamour Boyz Mesmerises Caribbean Audience in Toronto

Posted by Shanelle Weir on September 20, 2014

There was a world premiere of an amazing film at the CaribbeanTales Film Festival in Toronto last week, and at the end of the show the star made an appearance and brought the house down.

And no, it wasn’t some big Hollywood celebrity.

But for Toronto’s Caribbean community, particularly those from T&T, it doesn’t get much bigger than seeing Dr Slinger Francisco, better known as the Mighty Sparrow, in person.

The Birdie is the star, along with fellow calypso legend Lord Superior, of the new documentary The Glamour Boyz Again, which, according to the producers, will be staging its premiere in Trinidad in mid-November.

Written and directed by Geoffrey Dunn, Glamour Boyz is the follow-up to the acclaimed Calypso Dreams, released a few years ago and widely heralded as the best film ever made about the art form.

The new movie focuses entirely on Sparrow and Superior, and captures a rare acoustic appearance/ performance as the pair converse, reminisce and jam together on the rooftop terrace of the Hilton Trinidad Hotel & Conference Centre in Port-of-Spain.

The effect is mesmerising as the two old buddies swap stories, sing each other’s songs and “bash” each other in an impromptu rap, or extempo, that would put many of today’s extempo artistes to shame.

The film has no narrator, save for Sparrow and Superior themselves, but works beautifully with historical vignettes of Trinidad and its world-famous carnival as the two legends of Caribbean music simply talk about their lives and their craft.

There are plenty of laughs, but some serious notes, too. Calypso began as the music of the people, and as such is the soundtrack of the Colonial era during which Trinidadians were treated as second-class citizens in their own country. 

Sparrow and Superior both speak about the struggles they endured as young calypsonians striving to make a name for themselves and their art form.

After the screening, Sparrow took to the stage at the Royal Theatre on College Street to regale the audience with even more stories and songs and to answer questions. 

The love for their hero was palpable as those in attendance sat in rapt attention one moment and burst out laughing in another as Sparrow spun one salty tale after another (most of which cannot be told in a family newspaper!).

It’s hard to describe how important Sparrow is to Torontonians of Caribbean descent, but his appearance here, and the reaction of the audience, is akin to, say, the entire 1972 Team Canada hockey contingent showing up for a meet-and-greet at Maple Leaf Gardens.

As the evening ended, the crowd rushed the stage—men lining up to shake Sparrow’s hand or to pose for a photograph; women squeezing in for a hug and a kiss, which Sparrow happily provided.

Lord Superior, who serves as executive producer of Glamour Boyz, said he was thrilled by the response and is looking forward to bringing the film to Trinidad in November. 

“This film exposes the beautiful, rich and colourful heritage of calypso music to a broader audience,” Superior noted from Trinidad. “We’re taking this show to a worldwide stage.”

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