Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) announces first tour in over 30 years


After quite an extraordinary break of 33 years, Yusuf, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, strolls back on the stage. It’s been a long wait, and fans are about to see why. As one would expect from such an innovative and unpredictable artist it�s not a tour in the usual sense. The legendary singer/songwriter is expected to offer audiences a taste of his timeless hits, like Wild World, Father & Son and First Cut Is The Deepest, as well as music from his highly acclaimed new albums, An Other Cup and Roadsinger. Expanding the music concert with his return to the acoustic guitar, Yusuf will present a preview of the latest step on his lifelong voyage. Incorporating an exciting mix of concert and musical Continue reading →

Yusuf Islam plays first LA show in 33 years

yusufislam2With a wry nod to his problems with American immigration authorities, British folk singer Yusuf Islam performed his second U.S. concert in 33 years on Monday, treating 400 fans to classics from his youthful days when he was known as Cat Stevens. The 60-year-old musician treated the invitation-only crowd to an hourlong set that included such hits as “Peace Train,” “Wild World” and “Where Do the Children Play?” as well as a selection of tunes from his new album, “Roadsinger.” Looking professorial with his full gray beard, checkered shirt and sleeveless jacket, the bespectacled singer sprinkled his performance with lighthearted banter. “I bet you thought we’d never make it,” he said at the outset, later explaining that he was referring to his 2004 deportation from the United States after his name appeared on a “no-fly” watch list designed to weed out suspected terrorists.  Islam, who became a Muslim in 1977 and abandoned his pop star life, ran afoul of authorities who alleged he supports charities that ultimately funnel money to terrorist groups. Islam denied the allegations and has frequently spoken out against terrorism. He has since returned to the United States on several occasions.

But he encountered bureaucratic difficulties on his current visit. An unspecified work-visa issue forced him to cancel a planned May 3 show in New York, where he played a similar promotional show in 2006. This left Los Angeles as his sole American date. He has said he plans to perform a handful of shows around the world to promote “Roadsinger,” only his second mainstream pop release in three decades. But no dates have been announced beyond the American pair. It was not known if the New York show would be rescheduled. Islam last toured the United States in early 1976, by which time he was becoming disenchanted with his pop career amid declining sales. After a London show in 1979, he focused solely on his family and faith. He made a tentative return to the pop world in 2006 with the album “An Other Cup,” and promoted it with an intimate London show that was filmed for a DVD. Monday’s show at the El Rey Theater, which was organized by the record label, was also filmed. Accompanied by a four-man band, Islam sang and played his acoustic guitar. A number of celebrities attended the show, including Irish actor Colin Farrell and singers Josh Groban, Chris Isaak, and Michelle Branch. Many songs were greeted with standing ovations. During the two-song encore, they cheered the line “Look at me, I am old but I’m happy” from “Father and Son,” and clapped along to “Peace Train.”

More about Will And The People

will-and-the-peopleAt Will and The People gigs everyone gets involved in the party, even notoriously uptight London crowds find themselves letting go when faced with their infectious, genre-blending ska-rock-pop. “We are on a mission to bring the pogo back!” says Will Rendle, their 22 year old frontman. “I can’t understand bands that don’t engage the audience. At our gigs they become part of the show.” Support slots with their musical heroes The Police at Hyde Park Calling and with The Hoosiers on theirrecent tour prove that Will and The People retain their ability to connect when playing a bigger stage. Following their three dates on The Hoosiers tour the band’s myspace page received over 19,000 plays in6 days – an incredible strike rate. Growing up in a sleepy town on the south coast, the smart but easily bored Will was in and out of trouble until he found an outlet for his wayward energy. Inspired by his love of Bob Marley & TheWailers, The Specials, and Californian ska-punk pioneers Sublime (“My favourite band ever”), Will started playing the guitar and writing songs. “It immediately became everything to me,” says Will. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since.” At 18 Will blew out a place at will-and-the-people1University and moved to Brighton, throwing himself into the local live music scene. The next couple of years were spent in local bands until, frustrated by their lack of focus, Will decided to put his own band together. But it wasn’t easy. “I wanted to live with my band and do everything with them,” he says now, “but I found it impossible to find people who were up for it as much as me, who wanted it as much as me.” Nevertheless, with persistence The People were found – Dan Lundholm (bass), Simon Hanson (drums), John Tilley (keyboards), and Alison Brown (backing vocals) – an incredibly loose and fluid unit that crosses over indie, ska, reggae, blues and rock.  Their ability to turn their gigs into happenings soon got the band noticed. As the buzz about them spread, Will & The People landed themselves a recording deal within a few months of trying. After signing to RCA Label Group the band relocated to London where they are currently working on their debut album with producer Johnny Douglas.  “I get so angry when I listen to albums and there are only three or four great songs and the rest is filler,” says Will, his eyes ablaze. “Even one bad song is too much filler. I want every song on our record to be brilliant so people want the whole album.” Few who know Will would bet against him realising this ambition. Will & The People’s debut album will be released in Summer 2009. Will And The People are playing tons of London and regional dates. Check myspace for more details. Debut single ‘Knocking’ out May 4th (as in ‘be with you’)

Want your photo in the Will and The People album artwork?

Email with photos of yourself and your mates and Will himself will look through the entries and decide which lucky soldiers will be included in the actual album artwork! Take the photos of you and your mates at Will gigs or at home or wherever and send them to the above email.

The lucky soldiers/weirdos/fans who are picked will be notified by email and asked to agree to the terms and conditions. ick2music_new/datagen_v2/pages /terms/WATP_photo.doc

This could be your chance to go down in history!!

Plaats: London
Woonplaats: Brighton
Land: Verenigd Koninkrijk
Beroep: Music
Bandleden Vocals/Guitar/Toons – Will E-Rendle
Beats/BV’s/amusement – Max Tempo
BV’s/ Micro keys/balance – Noddy
Keys/BV’s/Sounds/In house doctor – Jonathan Tilldred
Bass – The Guru
We play our own instruments which we bought/stole/borrowed so na na nana na x For management or a simple steer in the right direction contact:-  Invloeden Can’t Stand Losing You, Sublime, BOB MARLEY, Cat Stevens, Muse, Crowded House, Talking Heads, Rage Against The Machine, Bob Dylan, DREAMING

19.apr.2009 20:00
 Vicars Secret Tea Party @ Nottinghill Arts Club London
29.apr.2009 20:00
 Little Civic Wolverhampton
06.mei.2009 20:00
 Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes London
09.mei.2009 20:00
 Glasgow SECC W/Girls Aloud Glasgow
10.mei.2009 20:00
 Manchester – Ruby Lounge Manchester
11.mei.2009 20:00
 Nottingham Trent Arena w/ Girls Aloud Nottingham, Midlands
12.mei.2009 19:00
 Nottingham Trent w/ Girls Aloud Nottingham, Midlands
13.mei.2009 20:00
 Sheffield Arena W/Girls Aloud Sheffield, Midlands
15.mei.2009 20:00
 Sheffield Arena W/Girls Aloud Sheffield, Midlands

Island Records 50th anniversary book

chris-blackwell2009 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Island Records, arguably the most prestigious record label in the history of British music. To mark this milestone the label is entering into the world of book publishing.  May 21st ’09 will see the publication of ‘KEEP ON RUNNING – THE STORY OF ISLAND RECORDS’ edited by Chris Salewicz (acclaimed author of recent best-selling Joe Strummer biog ‘Redemption Song’ as well as books on The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and many others) and produced by Universal Island Ltd. and The Island Trading Company Ltd.

‘KEEP ON RUNNING’ is a 226-page full-colour hard-cover commemoration of Island Records, started by Jamaican Chris Blackwell in 1959, the most illustrious record label that the British music business has ever known. Illustrated by copious rare images, including original artwork and photographs from the Island Records archives, ‘KEEP ON RUNNING’ will tell the story of this extraordinary label, its art and its artists, in a series of twelve essays by celebrated writers such as Paul Morley, Jon Savage, Sean O’Hagan, Vivien Goldman, Lloyd Bradley, David Katz, Robin Denselow, Sylvia Patterson, Richard Williams and Joe Boyd. Chapter headings include Out of Jamaica, The Pink Label, Season of the Witch, Glitterball, Roots-Rock Reggae, Singular Voices, The Tuff Gong, Globalisation, From Africa & Beyond, Re-birth Of The Cool and The New Millennium. Photographers include Anton Corbijn, Adrian Boot, Gered Mankowitz, Keith Morris, Andy Earl, Lawrence Watson, Maria Mochnacz, Jean-Paul Goude and Neville Garrick.

The book will be published to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations of Island Records in May ’09: these include a large-scale, month-long exhibition of Island artwork and memorabilia in London’s Soho; a week of concerts by key artists at Shepherds Bush Empire; a 90 minute TV documentary about the label; a Radio 2 documentary; and deluxe re-releases of many iconic Island albums, which will continue throughout 2009.

Chris Blackwell founded the Island label in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959 with capital of just £1000. Relocating to London in the early 60s Blackwell built the most diverse and enviable back catalogue of any independent record label in history. From Island’s early Jamaican roots in ska and rock-steady, through the label’s expansion to become the cutting edge of progressive rock in the late 60s, and then on to the signing of such international superstars as Bob Marley and U2, Blackwell brought to Island a unique vision and passion which still informs the label’s approach to this day.

The Island label has been responsible for the careers of some of the biggest stars in music including U2, Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Traffic, Free, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Toots & The Maytals, John Martyn, Marianne Faithfull, Aswad, Tom Waits, King Sunny Ade, Third World, Roxy Music, Robert Palmer, the B52s, Sly & Robbie, Melissa Etheridge, The Slits, Steel Pulse, Grace Jones, Tom Tom Club, Pulp, Baaba Maal, Tricky, Talvin Singh, and latterly Amy Winehouse, PJ Harvey, DJ Shadow, Sugababes, Keane, The Fratellis, Scott Matthews, Paul Weller, The Feeling, Portishead and Florence & The Machine.

James Morrison New German shows announced

james-morrison231James Morrison – Broken Strings on RTV Channel

Following his recent sold out show in Frankfurt and following his 5 week run at No1 in the charts with Broken Strings (now on RTV Channel), James has announced the following German shows:
June 13 Papenburg / NDR 2 Papenburg Festival
Online ticketing: and and
Ticket hotline: +49 (0)1805-570 000 (0,14 Euro / cent per minute, cell phone tariffs may vary)
+49 (0)1805-11 77 50  (0,14 Euro / cent per minute, cell phone tariffs may vary)
+49 (0)511 – 44 40 66

July 14 Köln / E-Werk
Online ticketing:         
Ticket hotline:  +49 (0)1805-570 000 (0,14 Euro / cent per minute, cell phone tariffs may vary)

July 15 Hamburg / Grosse Freiheit
Online ticketing:         
Ticket hotlines: +49 (0)1805-570 000 (0,14 Euro / cent per minute, cell phone tariffs may vary)
+49 (0)1805-62 62 80 (0,14 Euro / cent per minute, cell phone tariffs may vary)
+49 (0)40 – 413 22 60
+49 (0)40 – 34 30 44

July 16 Berlin / Huxleys
Online ticketing: and
Ticket hotlines:  +49 (0)1805-570 000  (0,14 Euro / cent per minute, cell phone tariffs may vary)
 +40 (0)30 – 780 99 810

July 22 Lörrach / Festival Of The Voices
Online ticketing: and
Ticket hotline: +49 (0)1805-570 000 (0,14 Euro / cent per minute, cell phone tariffs may vary)
+49 (0)7621 – 94089 – 11
+49 (0)7621 – 94089 – 12

About James Morrison
A testimony to the strength of the songs on James Morrison’s debut album Undiscovered is that it yielded no fewer than five singles – You Give Me Something, Wonderful World, The Pieces Don’t Fit Anymore, Undiscovered and One Last Chance. The songs were simple yet beautifully written, each giving James’s raw, bluesy voice a platform to work its powerful magic. There was no bullshit, no clichés, no schmaltz. And a lot of people liked that.

Undiscovered went to No 1 in Britain, Top 20 in America and won him the 2007 Brit Award for Best Male (he was also nominated for Best Single and Best Newcomer). James’s debut sold over two million copies worldwide and he became the biggest selling British male solo artist of 2006. He was just 21 – but had already accumulated enough life experience to give his candid folk-soul songs genuine emotional content. By many people’s standards he’d had a tough, itinerant childhood, a broken family and endless house moves – although he’d be the first to shrug and say it was no big deal. But he’d also admit that most of the emotion in his singing has come from his upbringing.

James’s reputation as a must-see live performer soared. Following his jaw dropping, first ever TV performance on Later With Jools Holland he went on to play amazing shows to adoring crowds: including the V festival twice in one day – in 2006 so many people came to see him in one of the smaller tents that he was invited to give an impromptu performance on the main stage; last year he played a full set on the main stage. Then there was the Royal Variety Performance, the Concert for Diana and the more traditional 3 sold-out UK tours. He did the Peace One Day concert at the Royal Albert Hall – and had one of those moments where he suddenly realised that his life had changed forever. “Just before I went on I was watching Yusuf Islam and I thought, I’m on after Cat Stevens! I remember being at home with my dad listening to his albums during the darkest times, the best of times…” James has subsequently provided vocals on Yusuf’s new album.

He toured Europe, Australia and Japan, did three separate tours of America, gigging coast to coast. He also supported John Mayer on his large outdoor ‘sheds’ tour in the US. He gave an acoustic rendition of You Give Me Something on national TV on NBC today as well as Jimmy Kimmel and performed on Jay Leno’s show twice at the host’s invitation. James loved the musical appreciation in the American South, in particular. “People were awesome in Alabama – really friendly, loud and lairy. Even if you play a quiet song, afterwards they just go YEAH!!!”

It was an amazing time. But sometimes, when he wasn’t onstage, or with the band, he’d feel an acute sense of being increasingly cut off from the people who mattered: his friends and family back in Cornwall – where his mother had finally settled with James, his brother Laurie and sister Hayley when James was 11, and where James had refined his self-taught singing and guitar-playing by busking in Newquay. Most importantly of all, he missed his long-term girlfriend Gill, who had inspired You Give Me Something and, during a rocky patch in their relationship, The Pieces Don’t Fit.

The further James Morrison travelled, both physically and career-wise, the more he craved the people he loved. “Everything I’d felt close to just disappeared,” he says. “You do lose your mind a bit; you haven’t got any routines. And sometimes all I’d think about on the road would be Gill – but we’d lose contact. So when I got home it’d feel like we were starting again.”

He finally stopped in August 2007. For two weeks. And then he sat down to write and record the Notoriously Difficult Second Album. And at first it did prove difficult. He tried to write rockier, harder tunes – as glimpsed on Undiscovered’s CallThe Police, which touched on the subject of domestic violence. “I went for something with a bit more electric guitar but in the end it just sounded contrived.”

The pressure was on and it was making him try too hard, too self-consciously. “As soon as I’d get something good I’d think about it and screw it up.” And then the penny dropped: “Just go for what you’re feeling at the time. That’s how I worked on the first album, and in a way I think that’s some of the reason why people liked it. It wasn’t trying too hard.”

And so the people who really made him feel, the ones who became the subjects of his songs on Undiscovered – his family and friends – his relationship with each of them, and the new chapters in all their lives, became central to the new album. James went with whatever and whoever was on his mind, and took it from there. The songs began to flow.

“I’ve called the album Songs for You, Truths for Me because that’s what I feel it is. It’s songs for Gill and everyone else. But for me they’re truths. They’re how I feel. I’ve got a song called Love is Hard. In fact, there are three songs with ‘love’ in the title – and I never thought I’d do that, but that’s the way it went. Love is Hard is about when you’re deep in it and it hurts a lot of the time. You’re fighting, or not always agreeing, you might be away from each other and you’ve still got to be strong. So the album’s a collection of truths I’d learnt in the previous year. It just turned out that way: I knew I didn’t want to write about being on the road. I can only write about what I feel.”

In the end, James enlisted many of the same collaborators from Undiscovered to work with him on Songs for You,Truths For Me hooking up once more with co-writers Martin Brammer, Steve Robson and Eg White.He also added a new fan, One Republic’s Ryan Tedder to that list. The Nashville string quartet feature once again. “I know we work well together now – it’ll take a lot for me to work with someone new.”

There is also a notable collaboration on this record, one of the only things his debut album didn’t have, a fantastic duet with Nelly Furtado on the epic Broken Strings (now playing on RTV Channel).

Songs for You, Truths For Me is a classic James Morrison record that once again showcases his distinctive, raw, soulful style – but takes it to the next level. “It’s less playful, more to the point,” he says. “But I haven’t consciously gone for a different sound. With me, it always comes down to the lyric, the melody, and the rest flows from that. But I’ve definitely tapped into my feelings about life more on this album, rather than writing about characters on the bus (Wonderful World), or whatever. I was just letting stuff flow through me.”

James Morrison’s big, unashamedly romantic heart and generous spirit shines through like a beacon. Songs For You, Truths For Me sees the wide eyed soul-boy become a wiser man. With this he shines once more on a brilliant new collection of songs and cathartic truths.

Paul Weller joins Island 50 festival

paul-weller2009 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Island Records, arguably the most prestigious record label in the history of British music. 

To mark this milestone the label is collaborating with Island founder Chris Blackwell to arrange the Island 50 festival. The Island 50 festival will kick off in May 2009 with ‘ISLAND LIFE’ – a week of live shows by Island artists past and present, which will take place at London’s Shepherds Bush Empire week commencing 25th May ’09.

The line-up confirmed so far is as follows:

28th May – CAT STEVENS/YUSUF and friends, BAABA MAAL

Fans who sign up to the mailing list at will be able to take part in the exclusive ticket pre-sale from 9am on Thursday 12th March. Tickets go on general sale on and other agents from 9am on Friday 13th March.

Last minute news