Cat Stevens chan­nels Sufi poet for new folk al­bum

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Cat Stevens has chan­neled the Sufi poet Yunus Emre for a song about divine love as he an­nounced his lat­est al­bum since his re­turn to Western folk pop. "See What Love Did To Me," re­leased on Thurs­day, is the first sin­gle off "The Laugh­ing Ap­ple," which will come out Septem­ber 15 and mark Stevens's fourth al­bum since he ended a three-decade re­treat from mu­sic fol­low­ing his con­ver­sion to Is­lam. The song is dom­i­nated by the gen­tle and joy­ous folk gui­tar that char­ac­ter­ized the English artist's hits in the 1970s such as "Wild World," "Fa­ther and Son" and "Peace Train."

Yet Stevens, who also goes by the name Yusuf, adds in global in­flu­ences. An African lute sub­tly ac­com­pa­nies his gui­tar around the cho­rus, while a bridge half­way through the song reaches into the syn­the­sized string or­ches­tra­tions of Bol­ly­wood. Stevens sings of love as he looks at the mir­a­cles of na­ture and the force of the divine. "I was a blind­folded bum­ble-bee / And now I see what God did for me / He made me see life flow­ery," Stevens sings.

In a state­ment, Stevens said the lyrics were in­spired by verses from Yunus Emre, one of the clas­sic po­ets from Is­lam's mys­ti­cal move­ment of Su­fism. Emre, who was born in the 13th cen­tury, had a for­ma­tive in­flu­ence on the de­vel­op­ment of Turk­ish, choos­ing to write in the lan­guage rather than in Farsi or Ara­bic, which were more com­mon for Su­fis. Born in Lon­don to a Greek Cypriot fa­ther and Swedish mother, Stevens won a wide in­ter­na­tional fol­low­ing in the early 1970s but said he felt a need for a greater spir­i­tual path. Stevens, who turns 69 on Fri­day, con­verted in 1977 and changed his name to Yusuf Is­lam. He gave few con­certs for the next three decades be­fore re­turn­ing with an al­bum in 2006.

— AFP

This file photo shows Yusuf Is­lam/ Cat Stevens per­form­ing at the 2016 Global Ci­ti­zen Fes­ti­val in Cen­tral Park to end ex­treme poverty by 2030 at Cen­tral Park in New York City.

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