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President Michael D Higgins records spoken word track as part of musical tributes for rockstar Van Morrison’s 75th birthday

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Van Morrison (David Jensen/PA)

Van Morrison (David Jensen/PA)

Van Morrison (David Jensen/PA)

President Michael D Higgins has recorded a spoken word track as part of a special musical tribute for rockstar Van Morrison’s 75th birthday.

75 legendary artists from all over the globe will pay a Van Morrison musical tribute to mark his birthday, including Ireland’s own Hozier and Sinead O’Connor.

The Rave On, Van Morrison musical bonanza is organised by Hot Press magazine and will be broadcast on Youtube in August and September to mark the Belfast singer’s 75th birthday on August 31.

For his contribution, President Higgins performed spoken word track Rave On, John Donne especially for the broadcast, a track which first appeared on the rockstar’s 14th album Inarticulate Speech of the Heart (1983).

He is joined on the track by Riverdance creator Bill Whelan, who compiled music to accompany the spoken words.

In a statement, Mr Higgins said that Van Morrison is a “powerful inspiration”.

“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,” he said.

“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 Irish artists which will pay their own musical tributes include Imelda May, Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats, Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, Andrea Corr of The Corrs, Glen Hansard, Paul Brady, Una Healy of The Saturdays, Damien Rice, Gavin James and The Academic.

Hot Press will also publish a special Van Morrison tribute issue of the magazine in August to mark the occasion.

“Putting 'Rave On, Van Morrison' together has been an amazing adventure,” editor of the magazine Niall Stokes said.

“We started out on this journey just as Covid-19 began to have an impact, but from the first phone call, it was clear that the artists wanted to get involved, as a way of expressing their gratitude to and appreciation of Van – and of hailing his outstanding genius,” he added.

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