PM leads tribute to veteran calypsonian

Prime Minister Gaston Browne, Sir McLean “Short Shirt” Emmanuel, Khan Cordice (Director of Culture), and others paid a visit to Sir Rupert “King Swallow” Philo in July, 2020

Prime Minister Gaston Browne: “A national icon, King Swallow, Sir Rupert Philo has passed.

Sincerest condolences to the family members of Sir Rupert and we thank you for sharing him with us.

We know that this is a difficult period for the family however, you should take comfort in his sterling contribution to nation building, especially in the creative arts.

May his soul Rest In Peace and rise in glory.”

The popular Antigua and Barbudan calypso star passed away on Friday. Sept. 11 after a prolonged illness.

He was surrounded by his family.

Over his illustrious career, Philo was known for his social and political commentary, as well as his many hits which include Fire in the Backseat, Subway Jam, Party In Space and Satan Coming Down.

He earned several calypso crowns over his career and won Antigua’s road march titles five times.

Sir Rupert was knighted by his country for his outstanding contribution to culture and to calypso.



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  1. This article stated that Swallow was “Known for his social and Political Commentary” Swallow was known for his Party songs first and foremost. songs like Subway jam, Fire in the back seat, Don’t stop the Party, Party in space, Town mash down, Satan coming down. That was his main body of work. He has several great Social commentary songs, Man to man, Arise Antigua rise, Dawn of a new day. He was not big on Political commentary. I clearly remembers a few lines from one of his songs–
    I will never sing anti goverment song
    nor cuss the country where I belong
    It is my country first and then Man.
    Great calypsonian and great person. RIP Swallow

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