Since May this year we've been on the hunt for the best Acoustic Guitarist of the Year 2019 - powered by Takamine - and we can now reveal our three finalists will be Alan Shikoh, Christie Lenée and Daniel Padim.
We invited entrants to submit a video of their playing by 3 July, before consulting with the editors of Guitarist, Guitar Techniques and Total Guitar and drawing up a shortlist of 10 promising players.
This was then reviewed by our star judges Andy McKee, John Jorgeson and Molly Tuttle, who rated the entrants on technicality, originality, musicality and feel. The highest-rated players have now been invited to perform at our live final at the UK Guitar Show on 22 September.
The winner will be dubbed Acoustic Guitarist of the Year 2019 and take home a beautiful Takamine EF341SC dreadnought.
Now, in alphabetical order, let us introduce you to this year’s finalists...
Alan Shikoh is a classically-trained guitarist based in the US. He says he was inspired at age 12 by the virtuosity and personality of Roland Dyens and there’s something of that jazz-minded classical technique in Alan’s own playing.
“It’s certainly an honour,” says Alan of making the final. “And very encouraging to have your work formally recognised, of course. But even more meaningful to me is simply that others have taken the time to thoughtfully listen and give attention to my music and playing, which is not so easy in today’s climate!”
Christie Lenée is an American fingerstyle guitarist who’s remarkable playing developed after an encounter with the song Sunburst, by modern classical player Andrew York. She has some form in competitions, having won the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship in 2017.
“I am am deeply honoured to be a part of this extraordinary event,” says Christie. “The video of Alexandr Misko from last year completely blew my mind and inspired me to get back in the wood shed and try out some new things. To be somewhere in the field of where he stands in this community sure feels incredible and inspires me to work harder. I plan to show up with an open mind and know that I’ll learn a lot from the experience!”
Our final three is completed by Brazilian guitarist Daniel Padim. He got his start on piano before picking up classical guitar. It was a 2010 appearance in Brazil by Tommy Emmanuel that made him aware of the possibilities of the instrument and he’s since been honing a style that melds technical prowess and Brazilian rhythmic elements.
“I’m always looking for something that hasn’t been explored on the guitar yet,” Daniel says. “At least it’s what I try to do... Creating new ways to make music on a six-stringed guitar. I try to take the challenge of dealing with the limitations of the instrument.”
Want to watch the live final?
The Acoustic Guitarist of the Year 2019 final - powered by Takamine - will take place on Sunday 22 September at the UK Guitar Show, held at The Business Design Centre, London. Visit the UK Guitar Show website for tickets.