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Local heroes celebrating Van Morrison's 75th birthday with cover songs

Van Morrison

On August 31, Northern Irish music royalty Van Morrison celebrates his 75th birthday.

In a move fitting for the milestone, music magazine Hot Press has announced a two-month celebration that will see a host of stars from both sides of the border performing covers of his songs.

Every night at 7pm on their YouTube channel ( an act interprets a song from Van the Man's back catalogue - and it's all available to watch and re-watch for free.

"So many of these performances are so brilliant that it doesn't seem right to single people out," said Hot Press editor Niall Stokes.

"It really has been a joy seeing the videos arrive in and to sense the extraordinary inspiration which Van Morrison has provided to so many artists."

Homegrown heroes taking part in the festivities include Gary Lightbody with Iain Archer and Miriam Kaufmann, Therapy?, Tim Wheeler, Duke Special, Bronagh Gallagher, Soak, Liam Neeson, Gemma Bradley, Conor Marcus, Ciara Lavery, Reevah, Brian Kennedy and many more.

"In hugely diverse ways, Van has shown singers, songwriters and performers that the only creative limits are to do with your imagination," added Stokes.

"He has forged a musical language all of his own and he has written songs that are immortal and will still be sang and played in a hundred years' time.

"We wanted to honour that and invited 75 brilliant artists to join us."

Alongside Lightbody, Therapy? and co, acts representing the Republic include Hozier, Andrea Corr, Una Healy, Imelda May, Irish President Michael D Higgins and Glen Hansard.

"It promises to be a thrilling series that I think will really capture the imagination of people all over the world and hopefully turn them on afresh to the genius of Van Morrison, but also, as a result of the extraordinary reach of YouTube, to the fantastic talent here as well," Stokes said.

Belfast Telegraph