Video Pick of the Week: Gohar Vardanyan Plays Manolo Sanlúcar’s ‘Colombiana de Bajo Guia’

Every video I’ve watched by Armenian-born guitarist Gohar Vardanyan has been sensational! It’s not surprising, then, to learn that she studied guitar with the likes of Antigoni Goni, Sharon Isbin, and Manuel Barrueco. In turn, she’s become a fine teacher herself, has written several books for Mel Bay, and offered lessons/tips through Strings By Mail on YouTube. (Check out her new, extensive Guitar Etudes series on YouTube!) She shared the cover of the May 2014 issue of CG with Matt Palmer.

I chose this particular video because I thought it was interesting and fun to hear a really talented classical guitarist playing a fairly well-known flamenco piece on a classical guitar (made by Canadian luthier Jean Rompré). Sanlucar was described by CG writer Jason Webster in our Spring 2016 issue as “a contemporary of Paco de Lucía and co-instigator of the late-20th-century revolution in flamenco. . . Like many of his contemporaries, Sanlúcar started to experiment with his chosen art form, pushing flamenco in new directions, and extending its boundaries. As he later commented, ‘We realized that the guitar needed to be harmonically enriched; flamenco guitar [at the time] was harmonically impoverished.’ Sanlúcar’s original recording of the tune dates back to the 1971 album Mundo y Formas de la Guitarra Flamenca Vol. 1.  he retired from performing several years ago.


I’ll leave it to others to decide whether this passes some nebulous flamenco “authenticity” test. I just like it!—Blair Jackson