Van Morrison has doubled down on his opposition to restrictions to suppress the coronavirus with the announcement that he plans to release three new anti-lockdown songs.

The Belfast singer, who turned 75 last month, was recently condemned for statements railing against current measures to suppress Covid-19, denouncing what he described as the "pseudoscience" around coronavirus.

He has now accused the UK government of "taking our freedom" in his new songs.

In the lyrics of one of his new tracks, Morrison claims scientists are "making up crooked facts" to justify measures that "enslave" the population, reports the BBC.

"The new normal, is not normal," he sings. "We were born to be free".

The songs are reported to have been recorded in Belfast and England, with No More Lockdown the most outspoken of the three tracks.

"No more lockdown/No more government overreach," Morrison sings in the chorus. "No more fascist bullies/Disturbing our peace.

"No more taking of our freedom/And our God given rights/Pretending it's for our safety/When it's really to enslave."

The new songs will be released at two-week intervals with the first, Born to Be Free, arriving on September 25.

In a statement announcing the songs, the musician said: "I'm not telling people what to do or think, the government is doing a great job of that already," Morrison said.

"It's about freedom of choice, I believe people should have the right to think for themselves."

The singer has also launched a campaign to "save live music" and in a statement, he claimed that socially distanced gigs were not economically viable.

"I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this. Come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak up," he wrote.

Morrison has already played three socially-distanced gigs this month and has two shows at The London Palladium next week, but he says these types of concerts are unsustainable and he is worried about the future of live music.

"This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrum," he said.

The release of the new songs comes amid fresh alarm at how the Irish live music industry will survive after the Irish government announced new measures to keep Covid-19 at bay.

U2, Hozier, Andrea Corr, Christy Moore and Dara Ó Briain are among 600 signatures on an open letter calling for "appropriate and unprecedented support" for the live entertainment and events industry to survive.

The letter, which was released today, is part of National Awareness Week for the Live Entertainment & Event Industry in Ireland, is calling for an "immediate reinstatement of the EWSS and PUP payment at €350 per week until the sector is up and running again".

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