This is the first installment of a series of blog posts I have planned. I want to publish one review a month as part of Art Davis Studios Blog. I will review a guitarist and provide links to some videos of their work.
This first installment features Daria Semikina. Daria is a Russian acoustic and electric guitarist that has an extensive catalog of videos (107 videos) on her YouTube Channel and on Facebook.
I’m not sure I remember exactly how I discovered Daria’s work. I think it was on YouTube. Her videos are top shelf. The audio recording is excellent and her video production is simple and elegant. Her biographical info on line is (intentionally I assume) sparse. She has a very broad and wide set of stylistic interests.
Her playing is very controlled and demonstrates a light touch that is very expressive. The recordings are first rate and her Ramirez 130 Años (spruce top) nylon string guitar is a good match for her sense of touch. She has very delicate tone. Her phrasing is very thoughtful and contemplative. I find her music mesmerizing.
One of the really delightful things about exploring her video catalog is her carefully curated list of composers and pieces that she chooses to record. She has a deep interest in the amazingly robust acoustic guitar scene in Japan. There are dozens of excellent composer/performers that have a unique style. These compositions are a great match for Daria’s style of playing. Many of these pieces she plays on her Taylor 314 CE steel string guitar. She also has recorded pieces on electric guitar that are very atmospheric in the ambient genre.
Daria is also an excellent composer and arranger. Many of her videos have links to Selfly where you can purchase and download lead sheet/TAB of her arrangements. She has also arranged many rock and popular tunes for solo fingerstyle guitar.
So let’s dive in to some of her videos.
I’d like to start with a video that is most likely her most popular video. It is of her arrangement for solo nylon string guitar of the Eric Clapton classic, “Wonderful Tonight”. It is a very simple rendering of this beautiful song and demonstrates her ability to get to the heart of a composition in the solo guitar context. She first posted the video on YouTube on May 4, 2014. It became very popular on YouTube garnering over 130K views. This year she re-recorded/videoed this solo nylon string guitar arrangement on March 11, 2017 in HD.
Guitar World Magazine featured her in a fantastic article: Five Killer Rock-Song Arrangements for Classical Guitar in March of this year.
Here is the link to the YouTube Video in HD:
Perhaps my favorite video of hers is “Big Sky” by Satoshi Gogo:
This is great piece that has a soaring drive of perpetual motion. I particularly like the chromatic descending sequence. Daria’s technical precision is a great match for this piece. It flows out of the guitar with effortless phrasing. It is also a great example of one of the premier Japanese guitarist and the acoustic guitar scene that is so popular in that country.
Next I’d like to feature another piece by a Japanese guitarist/composer, “Ka-re-n” by Hirokazu Sato:
This is another perfect match for Daria’s musical interpretation. There is a sense of carefulness and attention to each note that elevates her interpretation of this piece. There is very sweet element to Daria’s playing that shines through in this piece. Time seems to stand still and the piece unfolds in a universe all its own.
“Growing Up” by Masaaki Kishibe is a lively tune. Masaaki Kishibe has dozens of excellent compositions. This one is beautifully played by Daria.
A good number of Daria Semikina’s videos are of rock songs arranged for solo finger style guitar. This is a great example. U2’s “With Or Without You”.
I’ll leave you with one of Daria’s original compositions, “Stream”.
I hope you enjoyed this and I invite you to check out more of Daria Semikina’s videos on her YouTube Channel:
Watch for future reviews of guitarist I’ve discovered and admire at :
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