Antigua and Barbuda Kaiso Legends

It is indeed fitting as the calypso monarch competition 2017 approaches to take a few moments to pay homage to our sons of the soil, whose contributions to Calypso music artform has left a lasting impression here with us and abroad.  Today we salute Paul “Obstinate” Richards who won his first crown in 1958 in the calypso monarch competition.

Mclean “Short Shirt” Emmanuel won his first crown in 1964 in the calypso monarch competition.

Rupert “Swallow” Philo won his first crown in 1973 in the calypso monarch competition

known to many as Antigua and Barbuda kaiso legends.  Our legends hail from humble beginnings and throughout the years as their career evolved internationally and at home, they remained true to their roots.  And as we know, kaiso music originated in West Africa deep in the Kongo, these legends perfected the kaiso artform and became highly respected in the calypso arena during their tenure on the stage.  They were instrumental in rebranding kaiso music to Calypso music which is now an integral part of our culture here in Antigua and Barbuda, Leeward and Windward Islands.

When you think of being a dedicated calypsonian it is indeed a challenge, your back and shoulders must be broad, skin thick and be prepared to enter the boxing ring.  Calypso music is a social commentary that highlights the economic situation.  Calypso music is also lively and captures the atmosphere, making participants of this festivity burn, adrenal on a high, heart pump up a notch, plenti-ar-food” and “whole ton ar rum fo arwe powda”, this is carnival time.

Calypso monarch competition is serious business, no bars hold.  Calypsonians slug each other when competing.  A true calypsonian knows how to attack and counter-attack and must “knock Back Harder”.  As true to King Short Shirt

And King Swallow

The harder the counterattack the livelier the competition, getting the full participation of the crowd as they spur on their favourite contender to win the crown.

We love you king Obstinate, King Short Shirt and king Swallow