Cat Stevens, aka Yusuf Islam, is on NRP tonight singing old and new songs and I am a little shocked by the whole thing. I had no idea he was recording new music.
Last I heard he had denounced his own work as trivial and not in keeping with what Mohammed wanted him to do. He asked the record company that sold his music to stop, which they didn’t, of course, being very non-Mohammedian capitalists.
Listening to him sing tonight really hits me deep down somewhere. His music was and is very beautiful and positive, and he is an underrated talent from a time when musical talents were falling out of every tree.
There is something very interesting about him “coming back” at this time too, when most Americans consider Muslims to be the devil incarnate. Kind of like the way the Japanese were characterized during World War II. Godless heathens drinking the blood of good Christian babies.
I’m not soft-headed enough to think Yusef Islam making a record is going to change everyone’s mind about Muslims, but I’ll bet it changes someone’s mind. And musicians can shake things up and actually change people’s lives, so I am glad to hear Cat Stevens singing out of my radio as I type this. I can feel his contagious hope surrounding me, and I’ll wear it happily. For now.