Traditional hymn was played by a current Muslim

Across the street from my home is a Presbyterian church. I don’t go to that church but instead attend a Lutheran church down the street.

A couple times a day, every day, the church plays a hymn or two on their carillon system. Some of the hymns I recognize as traditional Christian hymns, and some I don’t recognize at all.

This afternoon I heard the tune from “” made popular by . I was talking with my neighbor at the time (we were complaining about the lack of rainfall we were experiencing) and he started to laugh saying that it was funny that a Presbyterian Church was playing a song by a Muslim (referring to the fact that is now a declared Muslim and goes by the name, ). Cat’s original name is Steve Georgiou.

I had to break it to my neighbor that Cat didn’t write the song. The song was originally a hymn and was first published in 1931. It has words by English author Eleanor Farjeon and is set to a traditional Gaelic tune known as “Bunessan” (no, I didn’t know that last sentence off the top of my head – I had to look it up to confirm it).

To the best of my knowledge, Cat was not a Muslim at the time of the recording.

Below is an embedded video of the hymn (sung by Cat Stevens aka Steve Georgiou aka Yusef Islam). An interesting tidbit, Rick Wakeman (of YES fame) does the piano opening for the song but never was paid for his studio efforts and never acknowledged on the credits of the original album.

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