Thursday, 9 July 2009

Cat at Croppers

Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) announced on BBC Radio 5 Live that he will guest at Fairport's Cropredy Convention 2009, a rare chance to see him perform in a festival setting. Speaking on the Simon Mayo show on Tuesday (7 July 2009), Yusuf said: "I'm going to do Fairport's Cropredy, I'm going to try to pop in." He expects to perform several of his songs backed by members of Fairport Convention. Fairport Convention founder-member Simon Nicol says: "As Cat Stevens, Yusuf has penned many classic songs and richly deserves his stature as one of popular music's greats. Nothing has been nailed down yet but it would be marvellous to share a stage with him." Gareth Williams, Fairport's Cropredy Convention festival director, said: "Yusuf and Fairport go back a long way - they were stablemates on Island Records, Fairport's drummer, Gerry Conway, played in Yusuf's band for many years, and Simon Nicol joined him in the studio for the 'Numbers' album. We usually keep our special guests under wraps because we love to surprise our Cropredy audience. But now that the 'Cat' is out of the bag we can confirm we've been talking to Yusuf about a guest appearance at Cropredy." After a long career break, Yusuf returned to the musical fold two years ago. "I've gone back to music because I love it," he says. His new work has been critically acclaimed and his most recent album, Roadsinger (released in May 2009), has been extremely well received. Rolling Stone lauded the album's "classic sound in tight, sweet ballads" and BBC Music found it "as mellow and meditative an experience as you would expect" citing "the album’s stand-out track, the ravishingly beautiful instrumental miniature Shamsia."

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