“A new album like no other.” —FRETBOARD JOURNAL
"A beautiful fusion of Sephardic and American folk tunes." —ACOUSTIC GUITAR MAGAZINE
When singer, fiddler and songwriter Lily Henley set out to make an album of Sephardic Jewish ballads set to new melodies, she was looking for her own way to interpret a critically endangered tradition. On Oras Dezaoradas (out on Lior Éditions Records), Henley highlights the Ladino language, a threatened tongue that fuses old Spanish with Hebrew, Arabic, and Turkish elements that is spoken by less than 100,000 people in the world today. She found herself directly connected to centuries of women spread across a forced global diaspora. The album is not a reinterpretation project—Henley’s newly-penned songs and melodies are a reclamation and contribution, a living line between her musical roots in American and Celtic traditions and the rich history and culture of her Sephardi ancestors..
These songs carry the hopes and dreams, daily worries, and existential thoughts of the Sephardic people. They tell stories of everyday life, loss, exile, lovers quarrels and advice-seeking daughters. Known for her expressive songwriting, gifted fiddling, and bell-like vocals, Henley brings new life to these songs and the independent female characters in them—drawing from a well so deep that disparate listeners all feel a connection to their own heritage.
With a repertoire encompassing both her Sephardi musical lineage & and a broad expanse of influences from across the folk world, in concert Henley weaves ancient and modern languages, cultures and styles to reveal their interconnectedness, and ours.
Henley is a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright award and was an Artist-in-Residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Caramoor American Roots Festival, and the New York Sephardic Music Festival. She’s currently touring with mystic-folk band Rising Appalachia and has played with Irish guitar virtuoso John Doyle, Americana Instrumentalist of the Year Brittany Haas, and Grammy winners David Krakauer, Rushad Eggleston, The Duhks and many more.
"Carrying the voices of women through history, and Henley’s work in American roots music, it’s a fascinating and beautiful release." —THE GUARDIAN