One of Sir Paul McCartney’s songwriting partners, Nitin Sawhney, will be among the headliners at this year’s WOMAD festival.

Sawhney, described by WOMAD organisers as “a genre-straddling polymath”, wrote and recorded the haunting ballad My Soul with Sir Paul for his hit album London Undersound.

A WOMAD spokesman said of Sawhney: “Whether it’s his brilliantly conceived and executed albums, his film scores, his collaborations with stone-cold A-list musicians, his production work, his remixing commissions, his radio broadcasting, his DJ sets or his ventures into the worlds of television, theatre, dance and video games, this polymath has always sought, and achieved, artistic excellence.

"The awarding of a CBE, an Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award and no fewer than seven honorary doctorates is testament to this.”

The music festival, which was founded by superstar Peter Gabriel, who owns the Real World studios in Box, will be held at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury, on July 28-31.

This year’s event, the 40th year of the festival, will also feature the return of Gilberto Gil & Family, a godfather figure within Brazilian music, and British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas, who will make her WOMAD debut.

Also making their first appearance at the festival will be Folknery, the Ukrainian folk band founded by Volodymyr Mulyar and Yaryna Kvitka, who are renowned for travelling around Ukraine and the world on bicycles, collecting authentic songs and reinventing them.

Other first-timers will be Comorian, bringing with them the acoustic sounds from the Indian Ocean archipelago of Comoros, one of the smallest nations in the world. Kanda Bongo Man will bring back to WOMAD the invigorating sound of Congolese rumba, and Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwals, the world’s foremost qawwali group, will make a return to the WOMAD stage.

Other artists joining the line-up include: Abel Selaocoe, a South African genre-bending cellist who, say festival organisers, “is on a mission to take his instrument to places it’s never travelled before through collaborating with jazzers, beatboxers and world musicians”,  and Ásgeir, who will play songs from his highly successful debut album, of which one in ten Icelanders own a copy.

DJ Kobayashi will bring his unique style which he curates from all four corners of world music, which varies from global funk to Middle Eastern grooves incorporated with electronic beats, and Cheng Yu & Silk Breeze will bring the delicate and timeless sound of rural China from Cheng Yu and her quartet.