The Pop Culture Road Trip

The Pop Culture Road Trip


My discussion with Yusuf, aka Cat Stevens

posted by Chris Epting
   
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Four decades after recording his emblematic song “Peace Train,” Yusuf Islam (also known as Cat Stevens) released “My People,” a free download available on www.yusuf.ae and digital platforms worldwide.

The just-released single ‘My People’ also includes a unique chorus quilted together from the hundreds of voices sent in from across the globe by fans who participated through an open invitation on the artist’s Facebook page.

Stevens, who initially stopped performing after his conversion to Islam in the late 1970s, in recent years has taken to the stage once more performing new songs inspired by his faith along with his greatest hits from the 1960s-70s. He’s touring Europe this summer, and a video for ‘My People’ will soon be released.

Though Yusuf Islam has found himself occasionally embroiled in controversy over the years stemming from comments he’s made in regards to his faith, he has always clearly defined himself as a man of peace.

Immediately following the 9/11 attacks almost ten years ago, he stated: “I wish to express my heartfelt horror at the indiscriminate terrorist attacks committed against innocent people of the United States yesterday. While it is still not clear who carried out the attack, it must be stated that no right-thinking follower of Islam could possibly condone such an action. The Qur’an equates the murder of one innocent person with the murder of the whole of humanity. We pray for the families of all those who lost their lives in this unthinkable act of violence as well as all those injured; I hope to reflect the feelings of all Muslims and people around the world whose sympathies go out to the victims of this sorrowful moment.”

In a recent conversation I had with him, Yusuf discussed his newest creative effort, and also reflected on his career and faith. Good natured, funny and self-effacing, he’s fully comfortable once more with the “Cat Stevens” career that continues to touch millions of people around the world.

Here is the piece I wrote about it.

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