I am very glad that you dropped in.
What happens when the performance of a
person becomes the trademark of a personality?
Felipe Rose - is he a puzzle, an urban myth
or a Disco Icon?
Felipe Rose is best known as the Native American
Indian attired vocalist in the world famous group
VILLAGE PEOPLE. After 34 years of being involved
in one of the most visible professions VILLAGE PEOPLE
are often imitated, but ever duplicated, and they
are still touring the globe. Now, in the beginning
of their third decade as the Ambassadors of Disco,
world-wide, VILLAGE PEOPLE have been included in
special events as well as sporting events and ultra-
mega birthday parties around the globe.
Felipe is a native New Yorker with roots in Brooklyn.
His Puerto Rican mother and Native American father
are reflected in the clothing and accessories that he
dons to perform which depict his blood lines and which
he has been wearing long before the birth of the mega
group, VILLAGE PEOPLE.
This is not just a costume. It is also his public
statement of where he comes from and his long association
with Native American groups across the country.
Felipe has been called a “Shadow Walker” - a native
name for one who walks in two worlds. Throughout his
childhood he displayed an intense interest in the
creative arts with his mother a source of tremendous
encouragement. She was, in fact, a Copacabana dancer
in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, so music and show business
were a constant influence in his home life and beyond.
Felipe’s talent manifested itself at an early age
and by 16 he had secured a scholarship with the Ballet
de Puerto Rico under the instruction of Pasqual Guzman.
During his tenure with the ballet company he had the
opportunity of performing at New York’s Lincoln Center
in a choreographed dance drama recital of “Julia de Burgos”
a poetess whose life was possibly cut short by committing
suicide. The New York Post called his performance “poignant
and compelling”. This review is what got Felipe fired
up and he knew that dance would be his destiny. To learn
more about his mother’s cultural island background please
visit Puerto Rico’s website http://seepuertorico.com/
Felipe’s Native American aunt later introduced him to
the different influences in dance. Honoring his father’s
heritage he dresses in his tribal regalia using dance
as his journey through his native culture.
While dancing at a New York nightclub in his full
native American regalia he was approached by French
music producers Henri Belolo and the late Jacques Morali.
Felipe’s performance that fateful night at the Anvil
led to what has become the worldwide phenomenon that
is VILLAGE PEOPLE. While the producers were busy
auditioning the new members of the group Felipe was
sent to Paris where he choreographed a native dance
number for the famous “Crazy Horse Saloon” performers.
As VILLAGE PEOPLE’s founding member, Felipe is much
credited with being the inspiration of putting together
a group of individuals who represent male stereotypes of
New York’s Greenwich Village. His keen visual sense and
performance experience led to input and direction for the
entire concept of the group, representing a true sense
of tribal unity. Needless to say, Felipe regards the members
of the group as brothers…his family! VILLAGE PEOPLE have
become and remain a pop culture mainstay of the music scene
touring the world and becoming a family of performers with
Felipe’s camaraderie and consistency of life. To the world,
they remind people of a simpler time and fond memories
on the dance floor in clubs around the world - and what
a journey it became selling more than 100 million recordings,
to this date!
The VILLAGE PEOPLE were an instant phenomenon with hits…
“Y.M.C.A.” (Mega Hit around the world)
“IN THE NAVY”
“GO WEST” and many more!
With more than 30 Gold and Platinum records from around
the world it was clear that the Disco Era was in full swing!
Madonna and Joan Rivers are among the artists who have
appeared as opening acts for VILLAGE PEOPLE in cities
such as Las Vegas and Miami. Even the late Michael Jackson
worked with VILLAGE PEOPLE when they performed in Los
Angeles for a fundraiser for JANE FONDA!
Additionally, the group has won numerous worldwide awards
including the American Music Award, “Favorite Musical Group
1979”, AFVA’S AWARD for Music Excellence, Brazil’s 1981
Award for Best Act and the Gold Loin Award, which is Germany’s
Grammy! VILLAGE PEOPLE even starred in their own 1980 major
feature movie ~ “Can’t Stop the Music”, co-starring Valerie
Perrine, Bruce Jenner, Steve Guttenburg, Paul Sand, June Havoc
and Tammy Grimes. The movie was directed by Nancy Walker.
It remains a popular cult film around the world.
VILLAGE PEOPLE hit the cover of Rolling Stone and have been
featured in other publications like...
“Guiness Book of Hits”,
World Book Encyclopedia, Dick Clark’s 25 Years of Rock’n Rol,
and hundreds more. The group’s television appearances include
The Love Boat, Bob Hope Show, twice on 20/20, 17 times on
Merv Griffin, Solid Gold, Soul Train, Midnight Special, numerous
times on American Bandstand as well as dozens of television
shows in more than 30 countries.
Never content just being one thing and ride on the group’s
fame, Felipe was - and, still is, constantly re-inventing
himself, bringing his talents to other ventures.
In the 1980’s, he sang and danced with the late Latin music
maestro Tito Puente and starred in a regional theater
production of Arthur Laurent’s West Side Story, in the
role of Bernardo. What initially started off as a joke -
a friend convinced Felipe to join the cast of “The Rocky
Horror Show”, in the role of Dr. Frankenfurter, while they
toured in The Phillipines. After VILLAGE PEOPLE left the
country Felipe stayed behind and performed the role for an
In 1996, he started the Tomahawk Group, an innovative
entertainment company that encompasses song writing and
recording development and becoming the production company
that handled VILLAGE PEOPLE releases and songs that
represent the making of the group’s show. He produced
various artists and now has turned his focus on himself.
In 2001, Felipe “Swift Arrow” Rose began to work on his
first solo endeavor reflecting his experiences and dreams.
Simultaneously, he was also fulfilling a long-standing
goal of recording songs that he had written and produced
with his longtime composer-arranger, Forrest “Frosty”
Lawson for Frostbite Productions. His first single ....
“Trail of Tears”,
Was nominated for three NAMMYS- the Native American Music
Awards for “Best Historical Recording” and “Song/ Single
Of the Year”. The song also took “Best Producer”, under
Forrest Lawson and Tomahawk Records.
Felipe was also awarded the honor of opening the 5th
Annual Native American Music Awards at the Marcus
Amphitheater in Milwaukee, WI, and brought the crowd
to it’s feet!
To view that performance go to: http://www.youtube.com/feliperose/trailoftears
That evening Felipe took home the NAMMY for 2002.
“Best Historical Recording”.
In 2003, Felipe released his follow up EP with
“We’re Still Here - The Virginia Indians Tell Their Story”.
That year, after being nominated for five NAMMYS, Rose
and Lawson brought home “SONG/SINGLE of the YEAR”
In a third attempt, in 2005, to keep his fellow Native
Artist on their toes Rose, Lawson and Ric Morris produced
a labor of love - a tribute album/Cd of the late
Thomasina E. Jordan, composed of song, spoken word,
Hip-Hop and poetry. They received ten nominations
and won three Nammys for ..“Songwriters of the Year”,
“Best Hip-Hop for Native Rapper – Shadowyze” and
“Spoken Word” for Chief Anne Richardson of the Rapponhonck Tribe.
For his 51st birthday in January 2005, Felipe donated a
gold single of the group’s 1978 hit and signature song…
”Y.M.C.A.” to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the
American Indian in Washington, D. C. This event was
covered by Smithsonian Magazine and received international
media attention. It was also covered by NPR Radio. Prior
to the presentation Felipe sat down for an interview with
NPR’s Scott Simon to discuss his life, music, and multiple
charitable affiliations “I want to leave something for my
indigenous heritage and bi-racial roots, “said Rose”.
“The gold record represents the diversity of the Native
heritage in music and entertainment; it transcends ancient
culture into pop culture.”
In February 2006, in Hollywood, Florida, Felipe donated
from his personal collection the VILLAGE PEOPLE’S first
gold record, a feathered Headdress and tour jacket to the
Seminole Tribe of Florida and their Seminole Hard Rock
Casino, two days after VILLAGE PEOPLE’s private performance.
A much sought after personality, Felipe is constantly
approached to appear at, and host, charitable events.
Needless to say, all requests can not be granted. However,
in February 2007, Felipe joined the Hospice and Palliative
Care of Greater Louisville, Kentucky, to host their first
annual Disco Ball Fundraiser.
At the event Felipe was presented with the state’s highest
award “The Honorary Kentucky Colonel”. The Governor of
Kentucky declared February 3rd, 2007 “Disco Day in Louisville,
Kentucky”.( Kentucky Colonel Award) ~ Kentucky Colonels are
ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world.
Other well known awarded Kentucky Colonels, to name a few,
are President Lyndon B. Johnson and the English Prime
Minister Winston Churchill, John Glenn- America’s first man
in space, Carol Channing, Ann-Margret, Tiger Woods, Dwight
Yoakam, Muhammad Ali, Jeff Foxworthy and Whoopie Goldberg.
Just when Felipe thought that things could not get any bette
r VILLAGE PEOPLE received their very own star on Hollywood’s
Walk of Fame.
The following month Felipe was inducted into the Native
American Music Hall of Fame. It was during a extended break
in his winter schedule that Felipe was once again contacted
by The Trustees and Staff of the Iroquois Indian Museum
to be part of “NATIVE AMERICAN IN THE PERFORMING ARTS:
From Ballet to Rock & Roll”. Felipe graciously sent on
loan the plaque awarded to him for receiving The Star on
The Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was on loan for exactly
one year, in Hanks Gallery from April 4th, 2009 to April 4th, 2010.
On November 20, 2009, Felipe presented his motivational
program at the Hispanic and American Indian Luncheon in
Gibbs Hall at Fort Monmouth, NJ.
In the program, which he’s titled “Ethnic Diversity and
Empowerment”, incorporates his life’s teachings and
lessons learned asa private individuals as well as a
celebrated personality In the music industry.
In the Spring of 2010, Felipe was chosen by Subaru of
America to be the National Spokesperson for “DINING OUT
FOR LIFE”, in which restaurants around the country
contribute proceeds going to HIV/AIDS charities their
respective cities and other centers around the country.
Felipe attributes VILLAGE PEOPLE to being the reason why,
he gives back for freely.
Currently, he has a remixed version of his award winning
single “We’re Still Here”, which is also on I-Tunes and CDbaby.
The promotions are being handled by Sobel Productions and
you may listen to the single at http://www.sobelpromotions
In the fall of October 2010, Felipe along with Blondie’s
Deborah Harry, T.M. Stevens and Sioban Fallon-Hogan were
honored by The Monmouth County Arts Council for their
dedication to music, inspiration to young artists and
charitable work on behalf of the community.That evening
one of Felipe’s triptych paintings was sold and 100 percent
of the money went to the Monmouth
He is currently finishing up his new reality/culinary/music
TV pilot, which will be pitched to television networks
Also in its final stage is his very own comic book…
”The Adventures of Swift Arrow -
A True Native American Hero”.
Drawings and illustrations are done by Morgan Lawson
and text collaboration with celebrated Native published writer,
Felipe was an active contributor with the Pink Shawl
Organization in Pine Ridge Reservation sending coats
and clothing for the Natives during one of the coldest
winters in history!
Mardi Gras would not be complete without a king!!!
Felipe was selected to be The Newark Bears First Annual
Mardi Gras Ball, as the first King of the Ball.
The Newark Eagles, now the Newark Bears, are New
Jersey’s minor baseball league. http://www.newarkbears.com
Together with his music colleague and friend, Lori
Michaels - his Queen at the Ball, they will be working
with The Newark Care Bears Foundation for kids,
throughout the year, involved in their workshop program.
Felipe just returned from the International Pizza
Expo, with Chef Lou Petrozza from Hell’s Kitchen,
in Las Vegas in March of 2011. The sponsor was
Valley Sun Dry Tomatoes. It is there were they
unveiled 10 minutes of their TV pilot which is called,
“Rose & Petrozza - The Art of Food and Music”.
This show will be a part reality/culinary/music show.
Felipe will continue to tour with VILLAGE PEOPLE
for during the summer of 2011 and 2012, for now.
Although he’s extremely gracious and humbled to still
be doing what he loves, he owes it all to the strong
foundation and business relationship with his touring partners!
For more information:
I would like to honor all our brothers
sisters who have fought the battles in
this Country. I have included something
that touches my Heart and Spirit.
Please join me in silent prayer for all our
Please click on the picture below to honor
one of our brothers trip back home.
I hope you will follow me on this journey..
Thank you ..Aho..
Felipe Rose/ Swift Arrow..
Music is not my only passion, I love to Paint
and take pictures of all of the Great Spirit's
creations. Join me if you will to my Art Gallary.
Just follow with the button below..