Maya Youseff to play the qanun at Saffron Hall on March 9

PUBLISHED: 15:04 27 February 2019

Maya Youseff is playing at Saffron Hall

Maya Youseff is playing at Saffron Hall

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Aged nine, Maya Youssef, a little girl learning the violin in Syria was on her way to her lesson when the taxi driver played a recording of an instrument which really impressed her. It was the qanun, the traditional Syrian 78-stringed plucked zither.

When she told him she was determined to learn it, he told her girls didn’t play the ganum, it was a man’s instrument, played by men. He laughed at her.

Aged nine, Maya Youssef, a little girl learning the violin in Syria was on her way to the music institute when the taxi driver was playing a recording of an instrument which really impressed her. It was the qanun, the traditional Syrian 78-stringed plucked zither.

When she told him she was determined to learn it, he told her girls didn’t play the ganum, it was a man’s instrument, played by men. He laughed at her.

Now an award-winning virtuoso on the instrument, she will be playing at Saffron Hall on Saturday, March 9.

Born in Damascus and now living in the UK, she says the act of playing music is the opposite of death. “It’s a life and hope affirming act.”

She has played at the Proms and alongside Damon Albarn. When the war started in Syria, she said writing music was “no longer a choice”.

7.30pm. Tickets, £20 or £15 for adults, £10 or £7.50 for people under 18. WWW.saffronhall.com or 0845 548 7650.


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