VARIOUS/FILE: Yusuf formerly Cat Stevens launches first series of concerts in more than 30 yearsRecord ID: 384895
- Title: VARIOUS/FILE: Yusuf formerly Cat Stevens launches first series of concerts in more than 30 years
- Date: 14th May 2009
- Summary: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (MAY 12, 2009) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) YUSUF, ABOUT HIS POSITION AS A MUSLIM, SAYING: "I've been given a position, perhaps a unique position, to know both worlds very clearly. And to be able to speak on a platform that reflects both points of view."
- Reuters ID: LVA3I162ZLZMF6DK9ZOAUZK040EW
- Duration: 00:00:13
- Story Text: With a wry nod to his problems with American immigration authorities, British folk singer Yusuf Islam performed his second U.S. concert in 33 years on Monday (May 11), treating 400 fans to classics from his youthful days when he was known as Cat Stevens.
The 60-year-old musician treated the invitation-only crowd to an hourlong set that included such hits as "Peace Train," "Wild World" and "Where Do the Children Play?" as well as a selection of tunes from his new album, "Roadsinger."
Looking professorial with his full gray beard, checkered shirt and sleeveless jacket, the bespectacled singer sprinkled his performance with lighthearted banter.
Islam feels honored to be welcomed back by his fans with such open arms.
"I do want to reconnect with my old audience because the way in which I left music was a little abrupt. And that was partly because of the way I was being treated by the media at the time because they weren't kind of happy necessarily with my new direction," said Islam. "So therefore it was sort of tit for tat thing. And the audience were in the middle."
Islam, who became a Muslim in 1977 and abandoned his pop star life, ran afoul of authorities who alleged he supports charities that ultimately funnel money to terrorist groups.
Islam denied the allegations and has frequently spoken out against terrorism. He has since returned to the United States on several occasions.
In an interview with Reuters, Islam said that he finds himself in a unique position.
"I've been given a position, perhaps a unique position, to know both worlds very clearly," said Islam. "And to be able to speak on a platform that reflects both points of view."
But he encountered bureaucratic difficulties on his current visit. An unspecified work-visa issue forced him to cancel a planned May 3 show in New York, where he played a similar promotional show in 2006. This left Los Angeles as his sole American date.
He has said he plans to perform a handful of shows around the world to promote "Roadsinger," only his second mainstream pop release in three decades. But no dates have been announced beyond the American pair. It was not known if the New York show would be rescheduled.
There has also been some controversy surrounding accusations of copying by British band Coldplay. Islam isn't worried about it but definitely noticed similarities. "You know, they've done a great song, Satriani did a great song and I did a great song. So we happen to share the same chords. It's not a big thing. I'm not going to pursue it. But they do sound similar."
Yusuf Islam last toured the United States in early 1976, when he was still known as Cat Stevens, but by which time he was becoming disenchanted with his pop career amid declining sales. After a London show in 1979, he focused solely on his family and faith.
He made a tentative return to the pop world in 2006 with the album "An Other Cup," and promoted it with an intimate London show that was filmed for a DVD.
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