ENGLAND (CelebrityAccess) Alan James, 61, British promoter of world music and British folk music, plus other genres and a longtime organizer of WOMAD alongside Peter Gabriel, died of a stroke April 7.
James began his career at the first Womad in 1982 as tour manager for the 15-piece African band the Drummers of Burundi and began helping program the festival in 1983. He was credited with introducing Pakistani qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan to a western audience at the 1985 festival.
“Alan understood putting diverse musical styles together,” Gabrial told The Guardian.
James was also associated with The Big Chill festival and played key roles with the Artists Council and the English Folk Dance and Song Society. For years he was the announcer on the main Womad stage.
“He had a compelling presence,” folk singer Shirley Collins told the paper. “And you could trust everything he said.”
“So sad to learn we have lost Alan James,” Gabriel said in a statement. “He has been a part of our lives and a key ally for more years than I can remember. Since early days of WOMAD he has been working with us or alongside us, on the management production or creative side of things. So many in the field of World, contemporary or Welsh music owe Alan a great debt for the endless lengths he would go to in order to promote music and artists he believed in. His intelligence, warmth and kindness were self-evident. We will always remember his passion for all the music he touched and all the love and support he showed for those that made it.”