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On The Occasion of the 50th Anniversary
of Rupert Philo, King Swallow
July 9, 2011
| Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters Address |
It is an honour, a privilege and a pleasure, to extend my congratulations today to a very special entertainer and friend as he celebrates the Golden Jubilee of a distinguished career.
On behalf of the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism - and on my own behalf - I take this opportunity to recognize the artistic contribution of a Caribbean man, a famed Antiguan composer and recording artiste, Rupert Philo, King Swallow.
Swallow has represented the Caribbean for most of his life and continues to do so with distinction and dignity. He has performed at many of the major venues in North America, including Madison Square Garden, and at many of the major Carnivals worldwide over these many years.
As any lover of Brooklyn’s Labour Day Carnival will attest, Swallow was the voice and the music that transformed the annual event from a community street parade, to become the largest outdoor festival in the United States.
His many Labor Day road marches include, ‘Party in Space,’ Subway Jam,’ ‘Fire in D Backseat,’ and ‘Borokeete Woman’ - which celebrated one of the premiere Brooklyn mas bands of the 1980s and 1990s.
His immortal, 'Trinidad: The Caribbean Godfather', recorded in 1981, still stands as a testimony to the calibre and commitment of a Caribbean exemplar.
It should also be remembered that this artiste, some years later during a crucial recession period, prophesied, 'Trinidad Will Rise Again'. And just as Swallow prophesied, Trinidad and Tobago did in fact rise again.
On behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago, I salute Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo for the glowing tributes he has paid to our twin-island Republic.
It is also an interesting twist that Swallow's landmark 50th anniversary concert was postponed to today. I say so because July 9th is the birthday of the undisputed Calypso King of World, Dr. Slinger Francisco, the Mighty Sparrow.
There could hardly be a more fitting to have a tribute to this “Swallow” - also the name of a graceful songbird - taking place on the birthday of the Calypso King of the World who, as we all know, is fondly called “Birdie”.
Tonight's cast is bursting at the seams with Calypso royalty: Black Stalin, Cro Cro, Chalkdust, Singing Sandra and I have all won National Calypso Monarch titles in Trinidad and Tobago. Baron, “The Sweet Soca Man” is a monarch with a unique difference - he is the International Monarch of the ladies and pleases them immensely whenever he mounts a stage.
However, with Calypso’s royalty present, tonight's focus must be on King Swallow, a devoted and dynamic entertainer who has flown the Caribbean Calypso and Soca flag with distinction. The nation of Antigua and Barbuda has every right to be proud of this distinguished son of the soil.
The Calypso community of Trinidad and Tobago - and by extension calypso lovers and supporters the world over - extend the warmest and most deserving congratulations to Rupert Philo on this momentous occasion.
On behalf of the Ministry of The Arts and Multiculturalism and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, I want to end by saying I salute tonight true Calypso royalty, King Swallow.
May God continue to bless and enrich you so that you may be around for many more seasons to come. I want to wish you good health so that you can continue to “jam” not just on the “subway” but also on many more stages around the world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I thank you.
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