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Caribbean mourns another giant: King Swallow Dead at 78
Legendary Calypsonian Sir Rupert ‘King Swallow’ Philo is dead at age 78.
King Swallow, one of Antigua and Barbuda’s greatest gifts, passed away on September 11th, 2020, after a prolonged battle with kidney disease.
King Swallow was born on February 14, 1942, in the historic village of Willikies, in the Parish of St. Phillip, Antigua and Barbuda.
With an illustrious career spanning six decades, King Swallow’s music focused on social and political commentary. He was credited by former Prime Minister, Hon. Lester Bryant Bird, as marking “the birth of the political calypso in Antigua.”
King Swallow was a four-time Calypso Monarch and five-time Road March winner in Antigua and Barbuda. His classics songs Fire in the Backseat, Subway Jam, Party In Space and Satan Coming Down were international hits.
Listen to King Swallow’s classic tune “Fire in the Backseat” below:
Sir Rupert ‘King Swallow’ Philo was knighted by his country for his outstanding contribution to culture and to calypso.
King Swallow was awarded the Order of Merit (Gold), and the Grand Cross of Princely Heritage during terms of governance under the Labour Party. Each award was conferred in recognition of his sterling contribution to the calypso art form.