In the liner notes to his stunning new album, Iranian kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor takes the side of his homeland’s ordinary citizens rather than its ruling class, embracing music as an instrument of hope. He’s vague about what event crystallized this sentiment, though: “During the early period of unrest in my country, I felt very isolated. This was one of the most difficult stages in my life, where darkness and violence seemed to be taking over.” Kalhor left Iran at the start of the Islamic revolution in the late 70s—he studied and worked in Italy, Canada, and New York before returning home in the past decade—so it’s hard to say if he’s referring to that long-ago upheaval or to the recent Green Revolution. But either way, his central point is the same, and gives the album its title: I Will Not Stand Alone (World Village).