Sir Rupert Philo, the iconic calypsonian known as King Swallow became an ambassador for his country, Antigua and stalwart of the art form, who carried the banner far and wide as he titillated audiences around the world with his peppery compositions.
He died at his home in the town of Willikies, Antigua on September 11, surrounded by relatives and friends.
The man who became known as the Dean of Calypso, contributed a laundry list of memorable hits in the over 50 years that he remained on the circuit, dominating the scene at home where he was a four-time Calypso Monarch and five-time Road March winner and world-wide favorite.
His talent, swagger and grace endeared him to calypso lovers and audiences around the world especially in Trinidad and Tobago where he plied his trade for the half a century that he has been scene. He was a perennial favorite for audiences at the Calypso Revue Tent.
Party-goers in the late 1970s and early 1980s cannot forget his massive hit, “Don’t Stop The Party,” which continues to entice generations of calypso lovers the world over, making people “wine” and jump up when ever they hear it.
His repertoire of hits also included: ‘Fire in the Backseat’, ‘Subway Jam’, ‘Party In Space,’ ‘Satan Coming Down’ and “Man To Man.”
King Swallow still holds the distinction of being the first calypsonian to perform at the at Radio City Music Hall, New York City. And has received national honors in Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada for his achievements and contributions to calypso.
Over the years he has received three Sunshine Awards in New York City.
In Antigua where he established and managed the country’s oldest calypso tent, the Calypso Pepper Pot (known as the University of Calypso) he holds some of the nation’s highest awards including the Order of Merit (Gold), and the Grand Cross of Princely Heritage.