"UPDATED 7:50pm. Friday September 11, 2020 ABAT Toronto
Legendary Antiguan calypsonian Sir Rupert ‘King Swallow’ Philo dies
Antigua and Barbuda and the calypso universe have this evening lost one of its most revered icons. Sir Rupert ‘The Mighty Swallow’ Philo died peacefully surrounded by family at his home in Willikies at the age of 78 after suffering from a prolongued illness. From since introducing himself to the calypso world with a social and political commentary called Raphael Trujillo, the veteran of the artform never looked back.
His many songs have not only earned him calypso crowns and road march titles, but the respect of generations and some of the toughest critics of the artform the world over.
In Trinidad, known to be the land of steelband and calypso, Swallow was a favourite winning over audiences with a string of consistent hits including Fire in the Backseat, Subway Jam, Party In Space and Satan Coming Down.
Swallow won his first calypso crown in Antigua in 1973 with March for Freedom and Push Ya Push Dey and then again in 1978, 1979 and 1985. He was a dominant force on the soca scene, winning the road march title in Antigua five times and dominating airwaves with many more of his endearing party songs.
Sir Rupert was knighted by his country for his outstanding contribution to culture and the artform of calypso. The tributes are expected to pour in from every corner of the calypso universe and ABS will endeavour to honour his memory and his towering legacy in our programming over the next few days until his burial.