Monday, March 16, 1998; 4:27 p.m. EST
LONDON (AP) -- More than 20 years after hanging up his guitar, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens surfaced Monday to promote an album he helped record for victims of the Bosnian conflict.
Yusuf Islam, as he is now known, wrote two songs on the charity album but sings only one -- ``The Little Ones.''
``It's a reminder of the place that music plays in the life of a Muslim, and, indeed, in everyone's life,'' he said, flanked by politicians at the House of Commons. ``Nobody can stop songs from emanating from the human soul.''
The creator of such songs as ``Wild World,'' ``Morning has Broken'' and ``Peace Train'' abandoned his career in 1977 and dedicated his life to spreading the Muslim faith.
In 1995, Bosnia Foreign Minister Irfan Ljubijankic gave him a cassette of a song he had written and recorded, ``I Have No Cannons that Roar.'' Ljubijankic was killed soon after, when rebel Serbs shot down his helicopter, and his death prompted Islam to create the album.
Islam plays no guitar on the album.
``I personally don't want to pick up a guitar again,'' he said. ``I don't feel like it. I'm much more of a poet.''
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press
08:47 a.m. Mar 16, 1998 Eastern
LONDON, March 16 (Reuters) - Former pop idol Cat Stevens, who took the name Yusuf Islam when he became a Moslem 21 years ago, returned to the business on Monday to launch a compact disc inspired by the Bosnian civil war.
Islam launched the CD at a news conference in a marquee on the terrace of Britain's parliament overlooking the River Thames. He had no illusions the 11-track CD, ``I have no cannons that roar,'' would return him to superstardom.
``This is not an album, I think, that is destined to hit the top of the charts,'' he said.''I do believe it has an important message for those who hear it and understand it.'' The CD was recorded with other artists, many of them Bosnian Moslems and its aim is to direct public attention back to Bosnia and raise money for charities working there.
The title track was written by late Bosnian foreign minister Irfan Ljubijankic.
Ljubijankic recorded it a few months before he was killed in 1995 when his helicopter was shot down by a Serb rocket. He handed the cassette to Islam in the hope that he could use it to help the country.
The track, including the words, ``I'll surrender you to no one else, my mother Bosnia, my love'' is sung by Dino Merlin, a popular Bosnian singer who was his country's first Eurovision Song Contest entrant in 1992.
The album also includes one track recorded by Islam. Simply called ``The Little Ones,'' it is a tribute to the suffering of young children both in Bosnia and in Scotland's Dunblane tragedy.
Sixteen children and their teacher died in Dunblane two years ago when a man walked into their primary school gymnasium with a handgun and opened fire.
Islam knew a return to his guitar-playing days, which made him famous for albums such as ``T for the Tillerman,'' would have offended many of his co-religionists.
``There is a place for music in our lives, but it has to have a cause, it has to have a noble objective,'' Islam, soberly and traditionally dressed in Moslem clothes, said.
© Copyright 1998, Reuters News Service