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MUSIC > Muslim rock star Sami Yusuf in Turkey to promote his latest album

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency

Britain’s Sami Yusuf, one of the best-known musical stars in the Islamic world, is in Turkey to promote his new album, ‘Salaam.’ He will give a concert in Antalya as part of the Holy Birth Week

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British singer-songwriter of Azeri origin Sami Yusuf was warmly welcomed by his Turkish fans at the airport when he arrived in the country. He will give a concert in Antalya on April 6. AA photo

British singer-songwriter of Azeri origin Sami Yusuf was warmly welcomed by his Turkish fans at the airport when he arrived in the country. He will give a concert in Antalya on April 6. AA photo

The Muslim world’s biggest musical superstar, Sami Yusuf, has dropped into Istanbul to promote his latest work, “Salaam,” which features 16 songs.

“It is a generous album. It gives message of peace, solidarity, love and, most of all, hope. These are eternal and permanent truths, values,” Yusuf said after landing in Istanbul on March 31, adding that the album had gained greater meaning in the wake of the changes in the Arab world.

Yusuf, a British singer-songwriter of Azeri origin, said humanity was being forced to deal with big problems.

“I don’t have a political personality; I consider problems in a humanistic matter. We have gone through the changes brought by the Arab Spring all together. In my opinion, this album gains meaning in this context because it talks about overcoming problems and difficulties,” he said, adding that “art should be pure.”

He said he had composed the song “I am your hope” after the revolution in Egypt and that the song was related to youth but not a specific party or group.

Yusuf said his music was considered as divine, rock or pop in the world but he preferred the definition “Spiritique.”

“This is a word I have invented. The goal of my own music, which I define with this word, is to draw listeners to the spiritual world. No one can monopolize the spiritual world,” he said.

‘I don’t deserve all these things’

The music star said his album had been appreciated. “It is true that we are welcomed and gain appreciation. But I have to say that I don’t think that I deserve all these things. Do not take this as false modesty. This love is the not the result of my abilities. We are poor in this world. God is the one which is rich. What we earn is the kindness of God. Otherwise, superficial factors like my music cannot bring this love. There is a holy tie between me and my audiences that I cannot explain.”

The artist said he had received concert proposals from various parts of Turkey, from İzmir in the west to Şanlıurfa in the east, adding that he was honored by such offers. “But I am not a commercial artist. I don’t appear on stage and release songs too often. I am selective. We can organize these concerts when we find the right people, the right organizers and the appropriate conditions. I don’t want to organize a concert just to appear on stage.”

“One of the main purposes of my music is to make people from all faiths, religions and pasts come close to each other,” Yusuf said. “I was in Lebanon a while ago. Seventy percent of the listeners were Christians. This somewhat makes me feels that I make a difference in the world. What makes me happy is not the sales figures of the album but seeing people from different faiths and different pasts interacting with each other in my concerts. This is what makes me wake up in the morning and compose music. Spiritique music is the reason behind it.”

Yusuf, who performs around the world, said the reactions he receives at his concerts can change from country to country.

“For example, people dance in Egypt but in Singapore, they are more temperate. This is culture and style. But I can say that spirituality is generally dominant in my concerts. My concerts are not a show that people come to dance at, but they do not come to listen to a sermon. I have a position between the two. Maybe this is why I get a different pleasure appearing on stage in Europe because the audience is extremely heterogenic and different cultures are together,” he said.

Yusuf will hold a press conference today to give detailed information about “Salaam” and appear on stage in the Mediterranean province of Antalya on April 6 as part of the festivities for Holy Birth Week in honor of the Prophet Muhammad.

April/02/2013

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