Presented by Music for Change, in association with Gulbenkian

Virtuoso Syrian qanun player from Damascus. Her innovative approach to playing the qanun has expanded her audiences to international platforms. She combines her extraordinary musical gifts with a generosity of outlook, warmth, humour and optimism.

The Qanun is a traditional Syrian 78 stringed plucked zither that sets the pitch for traditional Arabic ensembles, much as the piano does in western music.

Maya has performed widely around the world and is the winner of the Exceptional Talent award which enabled her to migrate to the UK in 2012. From 2007- 2012 she lived taught and performed in Dubai and Oman. She released her debut album “Syrian Dreams” in November 2017 (Harmonia Mundi).  Maya is a regular on BBC TV and radio, both as performer and speaker.

“The act of playing music is the opposite of death, it’s a life and hope affirming act. To me, music is my own healer and an antidote to what’s happening, not only in Syria, but in the whole world. I like to think that my music brings people back to humanity and to their heart centres, where no harm can be done to any form of life and where all can exist together in peace”

Part of Songbirds & Global Sounds series

Supported by POW!

Support Act: Natasha Rose Douglas. Support act in association with Beautiful Town Music

Hosted by Neelam Saredia-Brayley

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This event is part of

Songbirds Series

Wed 30 October - Wed 27 November 2019
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The Gulbenkian reviews

“An assured and exciting debut.”

Jane Cornwell, Evening Standard (UK)

“It’s an often exquisite, emotional set that constantly changes mood, from sorrow to hope...”


“tracks on Maya Youssef’s debut album,...are purely instrumental, yet the sorrow & anguish they convey are palpable”


“The queen of the qanun”

BBC Radio 3
Maya Youssef

Wed 27 November 2019

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