Virtuoso Syrian qanun player Maya Youssef premieres her new album ‘Syrian Dreams’ (Latitudes/Harmonia Mundi).
November 20th 2017
Doors open: 7pm
Combining her extraordinary talent and dexterity, Maya Youssef has crafted a unique and innovative approach to playing the qanun, a traditional Syrian 78 stringed plucked zither famed for its penetrating and illustrious sound. To Maya, the act of playing music is a life and hope-affirming act; a space and musical solace where harm and pain is not only hindered, but reversed. Her latest album, produced by Jerry Boys, the Grammy-winning engineer of the Buena Vista Social Club series, and overseen by renowned record producer Joe Boyd, reveals an unparalleled work of musical ingenuity, agility and finesse, firmly placing her amongst some of the most skilled qanun players of her generation.
Presented with double bass and percussion, ‘Syrian Dreams’ is Maya Youssef’s personal journey through the 6 years of war in Syria, a translation of her memories of home and an expression of a deeply rooted connected to her music. Her journey with the qanun spans back to her youth in Damascus, where she was nationally recognised by the age of 12 and went on to graduate from the High Institute of Music and Dramatic Arts in Damascus. After having taught qanun at Oman’s Sultan Qaboos University, she was endorsed by the Arts Council England to move to London as part of their ‘Exceptional Talent Scheme’, where she now teaches, plays and researches. Currently undertaking a PhD at SOAS, she is examining the significance and adaptability of music as a healing tool, with a focus on Syrian refugee children at camps in Lebanon and Europe.
Debuting her highly anticipated first album, Maya will be supported by Basel Saleh of the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, renowned Syrian oud player, conductor and choir leader whose stunning work has resonated far beyond his native Homs to be featured throughout prestigious festivals in the Middle East and Europe.
Delicious Syrian food will available from Aleppo House during the album signing.