Front Page







World Summary

On Air


Talking Point


Text Only


Site Map

Sunday, November 16, 1997 Published at 22:00 GMT


Cat Stevens back after 20 years to sing for Bosnian Muslims

Cat Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam

The former pop star, Cat Stevens, has given his first concert since converting to Islam 20 years ago.

The British singer - now known as Yusuf Islam - performed in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. He took part in a concert celebrating the survival of Bosnia's Muslim community during the country's conflict.

He sang his songs of the deprivation and loss of war with passion, but without instruments. He threw them away 20 years ago after converting to Islam and renouncing everything he saw as un-Islamic.

On the evidence of his Sarajevo appearance, his voice has lost none of its simple melodious charm or power. The city's concert arena was packed with thousands of spectators.

He first heard about Bosnian music towards the end of the war from Dr Irfan Lubiankic, a Bosnian minister visiting Britain. Dr Lubiankic handed over a cassette of a song called "I have no cannon that roars". Dr Lubiankic died shortly after, when his helicopter was shot down by Serb gunners.

That song has become the singer's new theme and he has given notice that his life in music may not, after all, be a thing of the past.

He said music helped strengthen the spirit of survival among Bosnian Muslims and has given him a new lease of life.

"It awakened in me some kind of feeling of inspiration to do something again. I don't think that means necessarily that I'm coming back, because I'm not going back, I'm sort of going forward, you know."

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage

In this section

From Business
Microsoft trial mediator appointed

Violence greets Clinton visit

From Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

Bush calls for 'American internationalism'

Hurricane Lenny abates

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Russian forces pound Grozny

Senate passes US budget

Boy held after US school shooting

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

Sudan power struggle denied

Sharif: I'm innocent

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

India's malnutrition 'crisis'

Next steps for peace

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

DiCaprio film trial begins

Memorial for bonfire dead

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tamil rebels consolidate gains

New constitution for Venezuela

Hurricane pounds Caribbean

Millennium sect heads for the hills

South African gays take centre stage

Lockerbie trial judges named

World Contents

Middle East
South Asia
From Our Own Correspondent
Letter From America