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27 juillet 2007

Womad 2007 : Festival of music legends

The WOMAD Festival is a celebration of the best in world music, but the highlight of this year's event may well be an ageing British rocker. Peter Gabriel, who is the co-founder of the event, made his name fronting Genesis between 1967 and 1975, before enjoying a successful solo career.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the World of Music, Arts and Dance, the 57-year-old will take to the stage on Friday night for a special performance. Although the famous festival is closely connected with Mr Gabriel, whose Real World studios are based in Box, it is rare to see him as one of the performing artists. However, with this being a special year, he said he was delighted to come back. "It has been wonderful to see what has happened with WOMAD over the last 25 years," he said."It is different from any other festival I have ever been to and, although I usually get to enjoy it from the audience rather than the stage, I am delighted to come back as a performer for this 25th anniversary."

One of the festival's biggest attractions is its diversity. With more than 100 artists, stretching over five continents, due to perform, there is almost certain to be something to suit everyone's taste. Many of the names will be new to a lot of the revellers, especially those visiting for the first time, although there are also a number of stars famous across the globe. Isaac Hayes will be bringing his own unique brand of super-cool funk and soul to the festival's open-air stage on Saturday night.

The American artist is perhaps best known for composing the soundtrack to the hit 1970s film Shaft, for which he earned an Academy Award. A winner of multiple Grammy awards, Mr Hayes also spent nine years voicing the character of Chef in the animated comedy South Park, before finishing in 2006. A spokesman said: "Isaac not only put plenty of colour on the funk blueprint, but his trademark spoken-word monologues inadvertently made him one of rap's forefathers." American gospel singer Candi Staton is also likely to be a major crowd puller on Saturday night. The 67-year-old hit the charts in 1976 with her single Young Hearts Run Free. After her performance, she will also be running a workshop in the Woodland Tent, giving people a chance to learn from her first-hand.

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