Gabriel Yacoub
The Simple Things He Said
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• Gabriel Yacoub: Part One
• Gabriel Yacoub: Part Two
• Gabriel Yacoub: Part Three
• Gabriel Yacoub: Part Four
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PK: You've been credited with being a major influence in what is now known as "World Music, but what do you really think of the term "World Music?"

GY: Well, to be honest I don't like it that much, but I don't like any words that tend to be restrictive. World Music, to me, doesn't mean a thing, because of course, it's the world, and there's music everywhere in the world. But, you know, this is the new way that people sound folklore or traditional music, but to me it doesn't mean a thing. I understand why people use it, because most of the time it means music from other parts of the world but you're always World Music to someone else.

PK: I find that in some of your songs the lyrics that you write are very spiritual, or the themes are spiritual. Does faith or religion influence any part of your life or songwriting?

GY: Well, probably, but I would say philosophy more than faith or religion, because I am very interested and very attracted by any kind of philosophy and religion, not being religious myself but having a deep feeling and a deep admiration for people with faith and I respect that a lot and I think it's a very strong thing, but I am more interested in the way people behave according to their faith than to their faith itself. I don't know if that's very clear, but for example, I am very, very interested in rituals and the way people worship because I think it's a very human feeling and I'm really interested in those things but I don't feel I'm religious myself at all.

PK: How would you describe how you have changed as an artist over the past 30 years?

GY: I don't think I've changed much. I come to my work as a whole, and an evolution. I started at a young age with traditional music as my passion and my inspiration and then slowly and very naturally I changed towards writing my own songs, but there was no break between those things. Now, of course, I am more interested in writing my own songs and performing them, but I still have a strong leaning towards traditional popular and it is still part of my life. I sing traditional songs much better every day [laughs]. So, I think it is a very slow and natural evolution but nothing really special in between except that now I am performing more of my own work than traditional songs.

PK: What musical goals are you still reaching for?

GY: I don't know . . . I don't have goals. Music is part of my life; playing music and writing songs is a part of my life as well as other things like dealing loving people, dealing with people, trying to make the world better, and little things like that, but I don't have a major artistic goal or musical goal. I'm not going to say, "I want be the greatest guitarist on the earth"-- I don't care a whole bunch about this kind of thing, so it's more being able to work, and work in this life surrounded with people I live with and just being myself as well as I can.

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