Lily Henley

When award-winning folk singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist 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, Turkish, and Persian elements spoken by less than 100,000 people in the world today.

What she didn’t expect was to find 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 are a reclamation and contribution, a living line between her roots in American and Celtic music traditions and the rich history and culture of her Sephardi ancestors. These old ballads carry the hopes and dreams, daily worries, and existential thoughts of the Sephardi 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, the Denver Botanical Gardens Summer Series, and the New York Sephardic Music Festival. For the past year she has toured as a front-woman with mystic-folk band Rising Appalachia and has collaborated with John Doyle, Brittany Haas, David Krakauer, Rushad Eggleston, The Duhks, and many more. Book Now

Videos

Alta Alta Va La Luna

Morena Me Llaman

Duermite Mi Alma

Press

"Carrying the voices of women through history. A fascinating and beautiful release."

The Guardian

“A new album like no other.”

Fretboard Journal

“A creative take on centuries-old songs that is both fresh and familiar.”

SONGLINES

"Henley has fleshed out the universal touches in these tunes."

No Depression

"It is not necessary to understand all the history to appreciate the great beauty of this album."

Acoustic Guitar

Photos

Press Photo

by Ally Schmaling

Press Photo

by Ally Schmaling

Press Photo

by Ally Schmaling

Press Photo

by Ally Schmaling

Press Photo

by Ally Schmaling

Press Photo

by Prey Public

Upcoming Dates

May 17-24, 2024

A conference on the mythopoetic imagination

July 12-14, 2024

Blissfest Petoskey, MI

Events

Performance Highlights

Folk

Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, CA Rockport Celtic Festival, Rockport, MA Caramoor American Roots Festival, Katonah, NY Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Oak Hill, NY Blissfest, Petoskey, MI

Performing Arts Centers

Spiegeltent at Bard College, Annandale-On-Hudson, NY Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek, CO Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge, CO Chautauqua Auditorium, Boulder, CO Irish Arts Center, New York, NY Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston, MA Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, New Bedford, MA Rockport Opera House, Rockport, ME Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY Neighborhood Center of the Arts, Grass Valley, CA Jefferson Theater, Charlottesville, VA Three Rivers Arts, Pittsburgh, PA Hanover Theatre, Worcester, NY

Other Notable Venues

Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO The Armory, Fort Collins, CO Mystic Theatre, Petaluma, CA Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA Grand Theatre, Frankfort, NY Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM City Winery Hudson Valley, Montgomery, NY Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, CO The Chapel, San Francisco, CA World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA