It’s easy to make things sound complex. What’s much harder is to make complexity sound easy. Los Angeles-based guitarist and composer Vahagni weaves in both, his playing and his compositions, strands from several styles and traditions — flamenco and classical music, Armenian music and jazz.
Born Vahagn Turgutyan in Yerevan, Armenia, then part of the Soviet Union, Vahagni (pronounced Va-HOGG-nee), is the son of Sarkis Turgutyan, a guitar soloist for the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Armenia, and Satenik Shahnazaryan, a theatrical actress. In September 1991, just weeks before the official dissolution of the Soviet Union, the family moved to Los Angeles, where they had friends and relatives. Vahagni was only six, but by then, his musical foundation had been established.
He recorded Short Stories, his first album under his own name, in 2008, and in 2012 released Solitude, an album that featured 11 original tracks and an arrangement of an Armenian folk song.
In 2014, his work caught the attention of Afro-Spanish singer Buika who was looking for an exceptional guitarist, versed in flamenco but with a modern global sound, to accompany on her world tour. After the long tour, Vahagni began work on his next album Imagined Frequencies, released in 2015 and followed by concerts in Japan, US and Canada.
Imagined Frequencies, which features a program of original compositions and one strikingly fresh arrangement of the Armenian traditional song “Hov Arek Sarer Jan” interpreted by Afro-Spanish singer Buika, who also appears in the video, covers a broad musical ground, subtly and elegantly. It is his third album as a leader and, says Vahagni, it’s a true snapshot of himself as composer, player and producer.
In 2016 Vahagni joined the multi platinum selling electro rock group Capital Cities for a nation wide tour as lead guitarist. Commencing the tour in 2017, Vahagni finished the year with a sold out show in Los Angeles with his group. Since then, Vahagni has been in Los Angeles writing and recording his next full length album “Portraits & Poems” and three EP’s, all scheduled for a 2019 releases.