Veteran calypsonian in Antigua celebrates fifty years in the business and his seventieth birthday

King Short Shirt and Fans

St. John’s Antigua-By Brenton Henry – Thursday, March 1st, 2012. Described as one of the region’s leading entertainers, Sir McLean “King Short Shirt” Emanuel, was late Tuesday honoured at a tribute concert to celebrate his 50th anniversary in the entertainment business.

The occasion coincided with his 70th birthday. Among those paying tribute to veteran Antiguan calypsonian were his regional colleagues, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, family, friends, fans, and well-wishers.

“Who can deny therefore, that King Short Shirt is one of the few calypsonians who can belt out a song that was relevant 20 years ago and remains relevant today,” Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, one of only three speakers, said.

The remainder of the night was filled with performances by local and regional celebrities that included calypsonians Deryck “King Hunter” St Rose of Dominica, Sylvester “King Socrates” Hodge of St Kitts and Barry “Scorpion” Edwards, an Antiguan who now resides in St Croix.

King Socrates of St. Kitts

Meanwhile, a cultural enthusiast and long-time friend of King Short Shirt has appealed to the relevant authorities to put a pension plan in place for local musical icons.

“I think when people would have put out this amount of work, the country should look to putting in place something in the form of a pension or some kind of monetary compensation,” Johnson Browne said.

He added, “Short Shirt has done tremendous work not only for himself but for Antigua & Barbuda as a nation.”

Over the past 50 years, Sir McLean has flown the flag of Antigua & Barbuda high by taking its name far and wide with his musical talent. He won the local calypso crown 15 times, has seven road march titles to his name and seven regional calypso crowns.

Other activities to observe the 50th anniversary celebrations will include concerts, discussions and publications.

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