Lily Afshar

Tehran-born Lily Afshar is a whoosh of fresh air in the sometimes fusty classical guitar world, playing her cedar-topped instrument in unconventional tunings and with palpable passion. On Hemispheres, she nods to her Middle Eastern heritage with a fresh, buoyant arrangement of a Turkish folk song and a hypnotic piece based on traditional Persian modal music. But she also plays new works by European, North American, and Latin American composers and arrangers, and the result is a panglobal, consistently gorgeous recording whose appeal will extend beyond the conservatory crowd to many fans of ethnic and acoustic music. By the time she picks up a traditional Persian instrument, the Sehtar, to deliver the entrancing “Morgh-eh-Sahar” (“Bird of Dawn”), listeners may have a new guitar heroine.


Keith Goetzman