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He's our soul man

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 19, 2013

Soul sensation Lemar headlines Greenbelt festival in Cheltenham this summer

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SOUL survivor Lemar is to headline this summer's Greenbelt festival.

He joins the 40th anniversary line-up at Cheltenham racecourse with Grammy Award-winning superstars Amadou and Mariam.

Lemar has come a long way since singing into his hairbrush at his north London home, pretending to be The Jacksons.

He burst on to the music scene in 2002 on the BBC's reality TV show Fame Academy.

He came third, behind winner David Sneddon, but Lemar's definitely had the last laugh.

Now an acclaimed singer/songwriter, he's picked up a Mobo and two coveted Brit Awards, as well as notching up seven top 10 hits in the UK charts.

This year's festival, which takes place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, is an eclectic mix of music, performance and workshops.

Rooted within a Christian tradition, it's a family-friendly festival which the Huffington Post bills as "Britain's greatest".

This summer, mainstage headliners Amadou and Mariam promise to mix traditional music from their native Mali with a host of international influences.

They have seven albums under their belts, and have supported Irish rockers U2 on tour.

The groundbreaking Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company is on the bill – taking the Bard's lines and going all Jay-Z on us with Mobo Award-winning artistic director Akala at the helm.

Eliza Carthy – veteran of Cheltenham's Folk Festival – joins fellow folk legend Jim Moray.

And festival-goers will be treated to the dramatic orchestral folk of The Moulettes, plus swamp rock from Mama Rosin and beatboxing from The Boxettes.

Expect appearances from speakers like American evangelist Barbara Brown Taylor, effervescent artist Bill Drummond and prize- winning author Jon McGregor.

There are family events too.

"Greenbelt is a festival like no other – both in terms of the breadth and depth of its content and also its vibe," said a festival spokesman.

"The thread that has run throughout our journey so far is that the arts, faith and justice make for a heady mix of creativity and challenge."

The 40th anniversary Greenbelt runs from August 23 to 26.

Weekend tickets cost £109 until April 30, and £129 thereafter. Visit www.greenbelt.org.uk

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