Yusuf Islam, You Are Always Welcome Here

By Kabir Helminski - May 14, 2009

After more than thirty years away from musical performance, Yusuf Islam (previously known as Cat Stevens) returned to the stage in a small theater on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles for the launch of his first pop CD, Roadsinger. With a small band that included a keyboardist, a bassist, and two other guitarists, and in front of a small group of invited guests, this pop star from the sixties (and seventies) turned Muslim activist/educator, reappeared as his old, and new, self.

Against a backdrop that included a streetlight and an image of an old VW bus, his first song was about traveling a road and meeting various people in unlikely circumstances along the way, as each of them say, "You're welcome here." He seemed to be describing his own soul's journey; he also seemed to be welcoming these enamored guests, as well as himself, to a situation both strange and, strangely, very familiar.

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Approximately four hundred people from the L.A. music and entertainment community were invited by his record label, Universal. Most of them seemed to be devoted fans of all ages, a majority of whom were all too ready to whistle, hoot, and clap at the slightest provocation. Yusuf had been given a small number of tickets to share among his personal, mostly Muslim friends, and this writer was fortunate enough to be included in that group. We had a little time with him after the show, and he seemed honestly interested in how this was experienced from our perspective.

Yusuf Islam performs "Roadsinger."

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Yusuf - Roadsinger
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