Maya Youssef performs on the Lemon Tree Trust Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Celebrated Syrian born musician Maya Youssef performed tracks from her debut album on the Lemon Tree Trust Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on Monday 21 May.

Maya is a virtuoso of the qānūn, a traditional Syrian stringed zither. Her album, ‘Syrian Dreams’, represents her personal journey through the six years of war in Syria.

Maya says:

“Gardens and music are symbols of life. Both help us connect with our hearts and instill hope, a sense of peace and beauty. As a musician committed to using music as a tool for social change, the work of the Lemon Tree Trust is very close to my heart. I am honoured to perform in their garden at the Chelsea Flower Show 2018.”

Maya grew up determined to be a musician and began studying music in Damascus at the age of seven. She went on to study at the High Institute of Music and Dramatic Arts in Damascus, specialising in the qānūn, breaking gender stereotypes to become a rare female master of the instrument.

She continues:

“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 land 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 qānūn and ‘Syrian dreams’ came out of me. That was the very first piece of music I wrote.”

Maya is also undertaking a PhD at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), looking at how music can be used as a healing tool, working with Syrian refugee children at camps in Lebanon and Europe.

To find out more about the Lemon Tree Trust Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show click here.


 

 

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