BBC Sessions: Yusuf Islam


yusuf.jpgDid anyone see this last night on TV?

Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam since his conversion to Islam, was playing live and it really was a breathe of fresh, gentle air. 

The music of Cat Stevens got me through a bad time in my life a while ago and I still love to play his music when I’m feeling mellow or chilled.  I never appreciated him as a girl.  With his beard he always seemed old to me.  But looking at old pictures of him now with my woman eyes, I can see that he was totally gorgeous.  And he still has his very good looks.  Oh, he’s a touch older and a touch more grey.  But still – those lovely deep chocolate coloured eyes and those sweet lips. 

Yusuf hasn’t played or sang publicly for a number of years and although he sang some of his oldies last night, he played more new stuff that reflected his religious beliefs.  Not preachy as such and very much in keeping with the traditional Cat Stevens sound.    

In response to many prior requests, he sang a slightly altered version of Wild World.  It occurred to me while listening to this that perhaps he rightly refuses to compromise his beliefs by going back to some of the more “worldy” lyrics of his past.  That’s fair enough.  He looks at the world and beyond with very different eyes now and his music is bound to reflect that.  And I know there’s some conflicting thoughts among Muslims regarding song & music. 

He sang Father and Son most beautifully and I smiled with tearful eyes all the way through.

He was accompanied by a set of wonderful musicians who complimented his singing fittingly.  His voice and his guitar talents have not diminished by time.  Far from it.  I’m so glad he has once again, picked up his guitar and played. 

He’s a gentle delight.

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9 responses to this post.

  1. I missed that programme.
    So will have to dig out my Cat Stevens CD.

    My favourites will always be
    “Peace Train” and “Morning has Broken”.

    Reply

  2. ‘Where do the Children Play’ & ‘Father and Son’ are stunning pieces of lyrical poetry. I’ve never heard any other artist sing about a father & son relationship. It’s probably why the world’s so fucked up!

    I have seen him sing recently, on The Later show I think. I have to say I didn’t take to his new music but agree that it is never the less great to see him singing in public again.

    Reply

  3. Ronan Keating did an OK cover of ‘Father and Son’ although no-one will ever sing it the way Cat sang it….

    Reply

  4. I love his music too! was sad when he stopped.

    Reply

  5. Little Indian, I love Peace Train. He included that in his set and it was so lovely. Can’t argue with the lyrics there either.

    MissyL, youngest daughter loves Lady D’Arbanville too.

    Matty, great choices there. I can’t think of a single song that he did before his Islamic conversion that I don’t like. You should see me do my mad dancing when I put on “Here Comes My Baby”. 😀 I’m not madly keen on his new stuff, too much religion in it, but he still has the voice.

    Bindi, it’s strange but I only became really aware of his in recent years. I remember him from when I was a little girl but I didn’t take much interest.

    Reply

  6. Wish I could join you in your enthusiasm, unfortunately He is not so much appreciated here. I must, however, try and find his music.

    Thanks for the info.

    Reply

  7. Jose, you can hear a taster of his old music on this website. If you click SING, then click the old music player you will get a choice of some of his old stuff to listen to:

    http://www.yusufislam.com/

    Reply

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    The Muslim Education Convert Center of America also known as M.E.C.C.A. based in White Plains, New York is helping to make a Muslim-convert’s (revert) transition to Islam a pleasant and memorable experience. This is so important particularly in t…

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