Cat Stevens (stage name for Steven Demetre Georgiou) was a British folk rock singer popular in the late 1960s into the 1970s. His wrote many songs with values for the heart–compassion, peace, and good relationships such as evidenced by his hit “Father and Son.” “Peace Train” was a solid hit to land him in this festival, a song covered by many musicians including country music star Dolly Parton who worked with Yusuf on a number of projects.
In 1977 he converted to Islam and shortly after changed his name to Yusuf Islam. He left his music career to pursue educational and philanthropic causes within the Muslim community.
In 2006 he relaunched his music career using just the mononym Yusuf for his stage name. One song, “I Have No Cannons that Roar” was written by a friend, Irfan Ljubijankic. Ljubijankic was the former Foreign Minister of Bosnia who was shot down on a helicopter flying a mission of mercy during the Bosnian war. He participated in various benefits including in Sarajevo and for Adopt-a-Minefield.
Here Yusuf performs “Peace Train” at the Nobel Peace Prize concert honoring Muhammad Yunus.
“The Little Ones” is about the young victims in wars. Originally written about the war in Bosnia, in 2016 Yusuf said, “It’s so humanly contemptible that the song is as relevant today in Aleppo and the Arab lands as it was ten years ago, when I wrote it for the child victims of Dunblane and Bosnia.”