Calypso legend Sir Rupert ‘King Swallow’ Philo dies

Sir Rupert “Swallow” Philo

One of Antigua and Barbuda’s best-known calypsonians, Sir Rupert Philo, known widely as King Swallow, has died at the age of 78.

King Swallow died last Friday at his home in Antigua after a prolonged illness.

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.

From Left: Machel Montano, Rawlston Charles of Charlie’s Records and Sir Rupert “Swallow” Philo.

Gaston Browne announced on Saturday, while paying tribute to King Swallow’s contributions. “Let me make it abundantly clear that Sir Rupert will be afforded an official funeral in keeping with his status as a Knight. He has earned it as a consequence of being Knighted,” Browne explained.

He was awarded the Order of Merit (Gold) and the Grand Cross of Princely Heritage, and was knighted by his country for his outstanding contribution to culture and to calypso.

King Swallow, who found fame with fans in Trinidad and Tobago, has received condolence messages from the likes of Trinidad soca star, Machel Montano, and CEO of Spektakula Promotions in Trinidad, Frank Martineau.