Writer of the Popular ‘Day-O’ and the Barbados National Anthem Dies at 95

Irving Burgie

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday December 2, 2019 – A day before Barbados celebrated its 53rd anniversary of independence from British rule, the man who wrote the national anthem and also helped singer Harry Belafonte popularize calypso, died at the age of 95.

US media reports say Irving Burgie died last Friday in Brooklyn as a result of complications from heart failure.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley confirmed his passing at the start of her speech at the annual Independence parade on Saturday and called for a moment of silence.

Burgie, who was born in the United States but had a Barbadian mother, wrote about 35 songs for singer Harry Belafonte, including the classic tune, ‘Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)’.

He was also a singer and performed under the moniker ‘Lord Burgess’ at venues such as the famed Village Vanguard in Manhattan.

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