Yusuf Islam Releases Tsunami Record
Islam sang his smash hit “wild world” during a charity concert to help tsunami-devastated Aceh.
LONDON, March 22, 2005 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) - Yusuf Islam, previously British pop star Cat Stevens who embraced Islam 30 years ago, released a new record on Tueday, March 22, in aid of tsunami-orphaned children in the Indonesian province of Aceh.
“The tsunami disaster has changed the world in an extraordinary way and it requires an extraordinary response from everyone,” said the 56-year-old Muslim activist, who sold 50 million records in the 1970s with hits such as Matthew and Son, Peace Train and Wild World, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
The “Indian Ocean” will be available only as a download
“I started writing it on holiday a year ago,” Islam said on his Web site. “Then I was moved to finish it by the tragedy of the tsunami.”
The song was recorded in London with Indian composer/producer A.R. Rahman, A-ha keyboard player Magne Furuholmen and Travis drummer Neil Primrose.
Islam’s own charity, Small Kindness, set up a regional office in Indonesia and will work on projects “to keep families together” by helping orphans in the predominantly-Muslim Aceh.
“We try to find other family members who would look after the orphans and then keep the family together in that way and then pay them subsistence every month,” Islam added.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, earlier said that the number of people dead or missing after the December 26 tsunami had went up to some 236,000 people.
The government estimated that 35,000 children have been made homeless, orphaned or separated from their parents in Aceh, where Muslims make up 98 percent of the population.
Islam said the “Indian Ocean” is the first of a batch of new songs for a potential album.
He also is developing a musical based on his old songs.
“I've come to realize that being a Muslim and an artist can exist side by side,” he says.
Islam became Muslim in 1977. Following a 17-year hiatus from the music business, he returned in 1995 and has since released three albums of Islamic-related songs.
He has become a prominent member of Britain 's Muslim community and devoted himself to charity work and peace campaigning.
Islam is head of the Islamia Schools trust and has met UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as well as Prince Charles and Home Secretary David Blunkett in his new role.
Apart from his schools work, Islam also has founded a charity raising money for orphans and families affected by war in areas such as Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq.
Last year he released a re-recording of his 1970s hit “Peace Train” to express his opposition to the invasion of Iraq.
In 2003, Yusuf Islam was awarded the “World Social Award” for his humanitarian relief work. Previous recipients of this award include Pope John Paul II, Steven Spielberg, and Sir Paul McCartney.
More recently, in November 2004, he was honoured with the “Man for Peace” award by a committee of Nobel peace laureates.