Leading artists unite in musical tribute to Van Morrison

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By Cate McCurry, PA

Dozens of Ireland's leading singers and artists have created a musical tribute to Sir Van Morrison to mark his 75th birthday.

Seventy-five musicians including Hozier, Imelda May and Bob Geldof have paid homage to the Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter by recording and performing songs he wrote.

The musical tributes will be broadcast on YouTube in August and September.

Rave On, Van Morrison has been created by Ireland's Hot Press magazine and will mark the singer's birthday on August 31.

Sir Van, who was born in Belfast in 1945, is widely recognised as one of the finest songwriters in the world, having produced and released music over six decades, including more than 40 original albums.

Among those who have recorded tracks for broadcast is Irish President Michael D Higgins, who performed the spoken word Rave On, John Donne.

Mr Higgins said: "Van Morrison is one of the outstanding songwriters and performers of the past 60 years and has been a powerful inspiration to successive generations of musicians and artists all over the island of Ireland, and abroad.

"It is a great privilege to be part of this extraordinary celebration of Van's work, on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Long may he continue. Rave on, Van Morrison."

Other stars taking part include at least two of the four Irish artists who have achieved US number one albums, Hozier and Sinead O'Connor.

Also performing Sir Van's songs are Sinead O'Connor, Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, Andrea Corr of The Corrs, Glen Hansard, Paul Brady, Una Healy from The Saturdays, Damien Rice, Gavin James, The Academic, Moya Ni Bhraonain of Clannad, Loah, Mick Flannery, Mary Stokes, Altan, Eleanor McEvoy, David Keenan, and the rising young Dublin rapper Malaki.

Mobo-nominated drummer and composer David Lyttle, from Belfast, has recorded On Hyndford Street, featuring the voice of Irish actor Liam Neeson.

Fiddler Martin Hayes of The Gloaming delivers an interpretation of Moondance on fiddle.

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