Virtuoso Syrian qanun player Maya Youssef was born in Demascus but moved to London in 2012. Since then she has gone on to play some of the world's most prestigious venues sharing her moving musical journey through her feelings of loss and sadness for her war-torn homeland. Here she shares a beautiful and diverse playlist of her most loved music. Sample the tracks individually below or enjoy the full playlist to the right.

Maya will be performing for OCM this Saturday the 24 February at Oxford's historic Holywell Music Room (NOW SOLD OUT).

  • Elhob by Toufic Farroukh Ft. Rima Khcheich from the album Tootya  LISTEN
  • Pulcherrima Rosa by The Hilliard Ensemble and Jan Garbarek LISTEN
  • Godspeed by Morten Schantz  LISTEN
  • Desafinado by Joao Gilberto  LISTEN
  • Gathering of ancient tribes by Goat  LISTEN
  • A step by Manu Delagu and Pete Josef  LISTEN
  • Nov 22 by Kinan Azmeh  LISTEN
  • Ma’ htiyali by Souad Mohammad  LISTEN

The war started in my homeland in 2011. From that point on making music was no longer a choice, it was a crucial means to express and come to terms with intense feelings of loss and sadness from seeing my people suffer and my homeland destroyed. On a hot summer's afternoon in London in 2012 I was watching the news. At the time I felt overwhelmed, as if I was going to explode, so I held my qanun and 'Syrian dreams' came out of me. That was the very first piece of music I wrote. 

Maya Youssef