A TALENTED musician and composer will be visiting the Swansea Valley later this month.

Maya Youssef is a globally renowned and award-winning qanun player and composer from Syria who will be bringing her talent to Ystradgynlais next week for her only Welsh show.

The Damascus-born musician arrived in the UK in 2012 under the UK Government’s Tier 1 visa scheme due to the war in Syria. She was endorsed by the Arts Council England as an exceptional talent.

She has since shown the world her talent on the qanun, a 78 stringed plucked zither which is traditionally played by men, and has performed all around the world and at the likes of South Bank, BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall, The Barbican, Shakespeare’s Globe and WOMAD Festival.

Maya has been playing musical instruments from as young as nine, when she was learning the violin in Damascus.

On her way to the music institute in her home town, she heard a beautiful sound from the qanun coming from a taxi. The taxi driver laughed at her when she told him she was going to play the instrument, saying that ‘girls don’t play qanun.’

Maya didn’t let that stop her and now her intense and thoughtful music is rooted in the classical Arabic tradition but also forges pathways into jazz, classical Western and Latin styles.

She explores the emotional and healing qualities of music, with the act of playing music being a life- and hope-affirming act and an antidote to what is happening in her home country and around the world.

Maya Youssef will be at the Welfare in Ystradgynlais on Thursday, June 22. Tickets cost £10 and are available from the Welfare Box Office at www.thewelfare.co.uk or by calling 01639 843163.