Yusuf/Cat Stevens has re-recorded his landmark 1970 LP Tea For the Tillerman in honor of its 50th anniversary. It comes out on September 18th, but he’s just released a video for his new take on “Where Do the Children Play?”
The video, which uses stop-motion animations, shows two children living in a world wrecked by pollution and corporate greed. “The song has a strong environmental message, so we wanted to make a video that mirrored that,” director Chris Hopewell says in a statement. “We decided to make the props and scenery from recycled materials wherever possible to minimize 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,” he continues. “All of the sets and practically all props were made from recycled repurposed and upcycled 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 repurposed or recycled when the video was finished. It was a slightly longer process than usual, but fun!”
The new version of Tea for the Tillerman, which Yusuf/Cat Stevens has dubbed Tea for the Tillerman², was largely recorded in the South of France with original producer Paul Samwell-Smith and original guitarist Alun Davies. Some of the songs stick close to the classic arrangements, while others veer off in new, unexpected directions. The new “Wild World,” for example, now has a waltz-like sound and rapper Brother Ali added a part to “Longer Boats.”
“And I got to sing a duet with myself after 50 years, which is incredible,” Yusuf/Cat Stevens told Rolling Stone in May. ‘In ‘Father and Son,’ the voice of the son was taken from a recording of me in 1970 at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. And now here’s me at 70 singing with myself when I was about 22. It’s amazing. It’s virtual reality for you.”
He originally planned on playing the album straight through on tour this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic made that impossible. He’s hoping to launch the tour sometime next year.