The King Of Woodbee

    The King Of Woodbee

    One of the privileges of being an artist is to express what seems unimaginable, and then hang it up there for people to ponder; we can say things that others cant. Sure, I know full well music cant necessarily solve the worlds problems, but it can help to direct the narrative. There are a few aspirations in my song, King of a Land”, that I hope resonate with His Majesty.

    With the release of King of a Land serendipitously coinciding with the coronation of King Charles III, Yusuf / Cat Stevens has taken the opportunity to share ‘A Manifesto for a Good King’, in which he lists 10 essentials that he believes all leaders should consider.

    The major message of the song – and this applies to all those in positions of leadership – is, don’t forget that theres One above you, and be careful to look out for those who are below you.”

    The fantastic new song is classic Cat Stevens, accurately identifying the obstacles that the world faces and offering a compassionate and hopeful alternative rooted in peace, faith and compassion, “While politicians bicker and scrum in the basement quarters, somebody upstairs should be watching where those political party goers are taking us. Frankly, democracy needs a bit of dusting. 

    The magical video for King of a Land, also the title of Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ forthcoming new album, retells the story found in Peter H. Reynolds’ beautiful illustration bedecking the album’s cover, of a small boy who imagines what he would do if he were king of a land called “Woodbee”. Childlike faith and dreams are brought back into touching distance as Yusuf takes us on a new journey. His voice, words and stunning melodies lead the listener to the gates of a much nicer, optimistic world than the one we presently inhabit.

    “Yusuf / Cat Stevens has created a vivid world of the possible. How wonderful to imagine if children ruled the world, how peaceful and just it would be. The lyrics immediately conjured a small boy with a paper crown. His kingdom: a little train set with a miniature village. His mission: to ensure that every inhabitant of this little kingdom was free, educated, fed and able to celebrate the possible… of all that should be, could be, would be. The “Land of Woodbee” welcomes everyone to hop on the “Peace Train” and move forward – together – to a better world.” Peter H. Reynolds

    Yusuf has long used music as a tool to engage with current affairs and to open up conversations with leaders and political figures. In 2016, he performed in a rare live concert by the Houses of Parliament to coincide with the release of his single He Was Alone, which draws attention to the plight of lone child refugees. To honour 2021’s International Day of Peace, he recorded a new version of his 1971 hit Peace Train in collaboration with over 25 musicians from 12 countries, raising money for Playing for Change, an initiative that builds music and art schools for children. Alongside his musical endeavours, he also heads his international Peace Train charity, which provides food, safe water and playgrounds across the world. Early last year, the organisation supplied widowed families in Sindh, Pakistan with livestock, tools and seeds; in October, he performed in Istanbul and Ankara to raise money for the charity. Explaining the motivation behind his music and art Yusuf explains, “I have agencies saying to me: ‘We can get you so many millions [to do a tour],’ but I am not interested in that. I am more interested in the cause and in bridge-building.”

    Learn more about Yusuf’s commitment to bringing us closer to the “Land of Woodbee” in this article in the Guardian: Read Here

    King of a Land is released via BMG / Dark Horse Records on 16th June 2023. The album is available for pre-order on coloured vinyl in a gatefold format with a 36 page booklet featuring illustrations by Peter Reynolds. The CD also features a booklet illustrated by Peter Reynolds.

    Pre-order King Of A Land:
    Limited Edition white vinyl pressing of King Of A Land as well as exclusive merchandise available in the official online store: