Legendary Singer-Songwriter, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and celebrated humanitarian Yusuf / Cat Stevens has teamed up with Playing For Change, the multimedia company responsible for the popular “Songs Around The World” video series, to produce “Peace Train'' around the world with more than 25 musicians from 12 countries. Featured musicians include five time Grammy Award winning blues/americana artist Keb’ Mo’, Grammy nominated Senegalese artist Baaba Maal, and Silkroad’s Rhiannon Giddens, also a Grammy Award winner. The video was released on September 21st in honor of the International Day of Peace.
“Peace Train” – Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ timeless anthem of hope and unity – was originally released on the classic album Teaser and the Firecat in 1971 and was Stevens’ first US Top 10 hit, reaching number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The Song Around The World version unites Yusuf / Cat Stevens, singing and playing a beautiful white piano in a tranquil open air setting in Istanbul, Turkey, with musicians such as Ghassan Birumi playing the oud in Ramallah, Palestine; musicians from the Silkroad Ensemble in Rhinebeck, New York; Pat Simmons (The Doobie Brothers) and James “Hutch” Hutchinson (bass player with Bonnie Raitt) performing in Maui, Hawaii; and bringing together conflict regions with Tushar Lall playing the harmonium in Delhi, India; and Joshua Amjad playing the Kartaal in Karachi, Pakistan.
“We are privileged to be able to create a glimpse of unity through music. However, if you want to make the Peace Train real, then you need two tracks: one track has to be Justice, and the other must be Well-being. Everybody should have access to these two things, then the Peace Train can really get going.” Yusuf / Cat Stevens
“We’re extremely honored to collaborate with Yusuf / Cat Stevens to create a global “Peace Train” with musicians from around the world. This song’s powerful message is as relevant today as the day it was written and as we celebrate the International Day of Peace, we hope that everyone will join us as we stand up for a more equitable and compassionate world,” says Mark Johnson, Playing For Change Co-Founder.
Artists on the song include Adrian Buono (Argentina), Avadhoot Phadke (India), Baaba Maal (Senegal), Colin Jacobsen - Silkroad (USA), Eric Appapoulay (UK), Eric Jacobsen - Silkroad (USA), Ghassan Birumi (Palestine), James “Hutch” Hutchinson (Hawaii), Joshua Amjad (Pakistan), Karen Ouzounian - Silkroad (USA), Keb’ Mo’ (USA), Kwame Yeboah (Ghana), Olodum (Brazil), Pat Simmons (Hawaii), Playing For Change Foundation (Mali and Argentina), Rahat Inayat Ali (Pakistan), Rhiannon Giddens (Ireland), Roots Gospel Voices of Mississippi (USA), Tushar Lall (India), William Barton (Australia), Yusuf/Cat Stevens (Turkey)
Playing For Change (PFC) is a Certified B Corp (Social Purpose Corporation) and multimedia company created to inspire and connect the world through music, born from the shared belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. PFC spreads their positive message for humanity to millions of people through inspiring multicultural music videos, a live global touring band and a 501c3 foundation supporting music education around the world.
Yusuf / Cat Stevens is one of the most influential singer-songwriters of all time with inductions into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is known worldwide for his many hits including “Peace Train,” “Wild World,” and “Father and Son”. He has sold over 60 million records and has over 2 billion streams. In the late 1970s he embraced Islam, left the music industry and dedicated himself to philanthropy and education. His charity work has seen him receive numerous prestigious international awards including the World Award for "humanitarian relief work helping children and victims of war” and the Man of Peace Award, voted for by The Nobel Peace Laureates. In 2006 he returned to mainstream music where he continues to use his music to build cross-cultural bridges and spread the message of peace.
Earlier this year the lyrics of Peace Train were turned into a NY Times best-selling children’s book with illustrations from the award winning Peter H Reynolds.