Muslim Popular Western Musicians

  • Cat Stevens (aka Yusuf Islam) Do you ever wonder what happened to Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam) and what he has been singing since his conversion (reversion) to Islam? If you have Real Player, listen to God is the Light (Link fixed, 24 April 2002.) And while you're at it, it certainly wouldn't hurt to bring the spirit of 1971 into the present and listen to him urging us to get on the Peace Train (fixed 22 April 2002) and/or you can hear Yusuf's A Capella Peace Train, which he performed before the New York City benefit concert on October 20, 2001.

  • Richard Thompson Regarded by one recent reviewer as "the most adventurous and downright frightening guitarist since Jimi Hendrix," Richard was a central element in the 60's folk-rock group "Fairport Convention." Muslim Rock Musician Richard Thompson (link fixed 20 August, 2005) See stills from the video documentary on Richard, "Man on the Edge." (Link fixed, March 23, 2005.) A short article In Defence of Islam (by Mark Worden) briefly gives Richard's perspective of Sufism and Islam. The following excerpt from an interview with Keith Phipps of the Onion A.V. club gives another glimpse of Richard's view of Sufism:
    O(nion): One topic I noticed that rarely surfaces in interviews is your conversion to Sufism. Is that because people are uncomfortable talking about Islam, or do you prefer to keep private about it?
    RT: It's a subject that people approach with a lot of preconceptions. In the space of an interview, I don't have time to get through the preconceptions to get onto the subject, so if it's avoidable or if I can gloss over it, almost, in a few sentences, I'm happy to do that.
    O: From what I know of it [i.e. Sufism], it seems like it could have a special appeal to musicians because of the way it emphasizes aspects of worship that are like performance.
    RT: There's a very strong spiritual aspect to music, and a lot of musicians I know are very spiritual people, really. Even the ones who might be alcoholics, or might have a terrible drug problem or something, they're still basically very spiritual people. And they know that element is in music, perhaps because music is such an elusive thing. It's such a door sometimes to something mystical, if you like. I think audiences are very aware of that, as well.

  • Danny Thompson Regarded as one of the world's best acoustic bass players. Of the many groups he has been in, one of them was the 60's band "Pentangle." See the following link for an article, written by John Hillarby, on Danny Thompson's Career On occasion Danny plays with Richard.

  • Ian Whiteman Another versatile Muslim musician (one who has at times played with Richard Thompson) is Ian Whiteman (Abdullateef). A recent production (of Islamic music, however) in which he was involved is the CD (with music by contemporary Moroccan musicians) and book of the Burda (The Cloak), the classical Islamic poem of devotion to the Prophet Muhammad.

    Hip Hop

    Islam has a major influence on Hip Hop music. Listen here to a fascinating interview with Minister Louis Farrakhan about Hip Hop music.
  • Everlast Originally a Hip Hop artist, Everlast has moved into Rock music as well. An Interview with Everlast, (Grammy winning -- for "Put Your Lights On" on Santana's Supernatural CD -- Euro-American Rapp artist) concerning his embrace of Islam. More detail about Everlast's view of Islam is in this March, 2001, interview with Everlast, translated from German. Additional information on Everlast and Islam can be found in "Being Muslim One Day at a Time," an interview with Everlast by Adisa Banjoko. Everlast was also interviewed by Jim DeRogatis in Penthouse (March, 2001) in Whitey Sings the Blues (abridged here).
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