Yusuf / Cat Stevens has today released a 2020 reimagination of his 70’s classic ecological anthem, ‘Where Do The Children Play?’ – A first glimpse into the forthcoming album Tea for the Tillerman², out 18th September.
“Looking at the world today and the message in this fifty-year-old song, it looks like the world never grew up” states Yusuf.
50 years later, ‘Where Do The Children Play?’ still depicts a chilling reality of modern man’s disregard for nature and it’s disastrous implications for our future on this precious planet. Its original release on Tea for the Tillerman made a giant imprint on the consciousness of the seventies generation and this time is accompanied by an allegorical and visually arresting animated video by director Chris Hopewell…
Speaking about the creation of the video, Chris Hopewell said: “The song has a strong environmental message, so we wanted to make a video that mirrored that. We decided to make the props and scenery from recycled materials wherever possible, to minimise the production impact on the environment.
We did a beach clean in South Wales to gather plastic debris and used it to make the ocean you see in the video. Our sea scenes were made from waste plastic washed up on our shores.
All of the sets and practically all props were made from recycled repurposed and up-cycled materials. I’d say that 90% of what you see on screen was made from recycled materials, even the rostrum the sets are built on were recycled scaffolding planks and sets painted with paints from a local charity store. All materials used were then re-purposed or recycled when the video was finished. It was a slightly longer process than usual, but fun!”
Although written more than half a century ago, ‘Where Do The Children Play?’ stands today as a song whose warning against global mismanagement, scientific and economic recklessness are both eerily prophetic and synchronistically in tune with the issues the world today faces. As building developments, contracting local council budgets and the COVID-19 lockdown have forced the closure of parks, community centres and now even school playgrounds, the lyrics remain as pertinent, thought provoking and yet, touching as the day they were written.
Whilst articulating his concerns, Yusuf / Cat has never been content to remain a back-seat observer, and has dedicated much of his life towards forging positive changes to embrace peace, sustainability and the betterment of humanity. Today that can be witnessed through his far-reaching Peace Train project, which focuses on delivering essential food relief and self-sustainable initiatives to impoverished communities; building solar-wells, children’s playgrounds, as well as peace-training, bridging divides and delivering hope to those who need it most.
‘Where Do The Children Play?’ is taken from Tea for the Tillerman², which is released on September 18th and sees Yusuf / Cat Stevens recast the original eleven songs for a new age with dramatic results. Half a century and an entire universe of experiences after the songs were originally laid down on tape, T4TT² is a beautiful reunion between the artist and the songs that helped define the melodious 70’s.