There are artists who have left us masterpieces, great songs, that we enjoy over and over again without ceasing. But there are also many who, from their position, try to give the world something more than letters to repeat endlessly. Peter Gabriel is one of them, since he is not only one of the great artists of the last decades, but he has also been one of the greatest promoters of inclusion.
Peter Gabriel has 56 years of artistic career, since he founded the progressive rock band Genesis in 1967, and a decade later he began his solo adventure. Inclusion, seen from the fusion of different musical elements from different cultures, was always present in his creative process, and in 1982 he took his concept of inclusion one step further and created the World of Music, Arts & Dance festival ( Womad).
“Sheer enthusiasm for music from all over the world led us to the concept of Womad in 1980, and hence the first festival in 1982 (….). Music is a universal language and it demonstrates, as much as anything else, the stupidity of racism,” Gabriel declared regarding the festival.
Gabriel has always been clear that not only a good artist can be born anywhere and under any condition, but also appreciates the value and influence they can give to others. “Our dream was not to spread world music around a rock festival, but to show that these great artists could be headliners in their own right,” Gabriel said last year on the sidelines of Womad’s 40th anniversary.
A brief review of his discography stumbles upon pieces like Shock The Monkey either Biko heavily influenced by African percussion, both reached the top 15 on the UK charts upon release.
Peter Gabriel has shown us, as well as other artists, how valuable the inclusion and diversification of ideas can be; and even more importantly the importance of respecting them and that there is always a stage to expose them, hence the creation of a festival that has had a presence in 8 countries with artists from hundreds of nations.
In a world where segregationist and racist ideas seem to emerge in certain places, where instead of building bridges it seems they want to build walls, the legacy of artists like Peter Gabriel is more valuable than ever.
And his work is not just a social work. His success has given him his own place in music. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 for his solo career, and also in 2010 for being part of Genesis, he has sold more than 40 million copies as a solo artist. In addition, he has charted over 15 top 20 hits in the UK and US.
He is one of those artists that is not only a pleasure to listen to, but also fills us with seeing his legacy offstage.
Happy birthday to Peter Gabriel who celebrated 72 springs yesterday.
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