Oscar Lopez (guitarist)

Oscar Lopez (born 1953) is a Chilean-Canadian guitarist,[1] whose signature style blends Latin and jazz styles.[2]

Oscar Lopez
Born1953 (age 66–67)
Santiago, Chile
OriginCalgary, Alberta, Canada
GenresNew Flamenco, Instrumental, Latin, Jazz, Folk, World
Occupation(s)Musician, guitarist, composer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1989–present
LabelsFantasy of Latin Strings, Jericho Beach Music, Narada, Centino Music, P.R.O.
Associated actsJames Keelaghan, Pavlo, Rik Emmett


Lopez was born in Santiago, Chile, studying music through the University of Chile's youth music program.[3] He moved to Canada in 1978, initially settling in Winnipeg, Manitoba before moving to Calgary, Alberta in 1981.[3] He began pursuing music as a career, initially as an electric guitarist in a rock cover band[4] before starting to perform as a Latin-style acoustic guitarist.[5]

He was a regional finalist for Western Canada in the Montreal International Jazz Festival's national Concours de Jazz in 1987.[6]

Music careerEdit

He released his debut album Hola in 1989.[7]

At the 1990 Northern Lights Festival Boréal, Lopez and singer-songwriter James Keelaghan met for the first time and began to explore the fusion of Celtic and Latin music.[8] The duo undertook a number of tours together,[9] and contributed as guest musicians on each other's solo albums[10] before recording two Juno Award-nominated albums, Compadres (1997)[11] and ¿Buddy Where You Been? (2007) as a duo.[8]

At the Juno Awards of 1995, Lopez garnered his first nomination for Best Global Recording, for the album Dancing on the Moon Contigo.[12]

He signed to Narada Records in 1997.[13]

In 1998, Lopez co-produced Volcán: Tributo a José José, a tribute album dedicated to the iconic Mexican singer José José. He received a nomination for Best Instrumental Artist at the Juno Awards of 1998, the same year in which the album Compadres was nominated for Best Roots & Traditional Album – Group.[14]

At the Juno Awards of 2002, Lopez won his first award, in the Best Instrumental Album category for Armando's Fire.[15] He won a second Juno Award in the same category for Mi Destino/My Destiny at the Juno Awards of 2005.[16] Around this time, however, Lopez took a break from performing for two years to deal with depression.[17] As a result, Spirit of the West recorded a tribute song to Lopez, "Come Back Oscar", on their 2004 album Star Trails. On July 24 that year, Lopez appeared on stage with Spirit of the West at the Calgary Folk Music Festival to perform the song;[17] the following year, he returned to the stage as the festival's headlining act.[18]

After collaborating with Keelaghan on ¿Buddy Where You Been?, which was again a Juno Award nominee for Best Instrumental Album at the Juno Awards of 2008, his next recording project was with Pavlo and Rik Emmett on the album Trifecta (2009).[19] Credited as P.R.O., the trio toured North America in support of the CD,[20] which was again a Juno Award nominee for Best Instrumental Album at the Juno Awards of 2010.[21]

Lopez released his latest recording Apasionado on October 21, 2014 as an independent artist.[22]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Oscar Lopez awards and nominations
  1. ^ Certain award groups do not simply award one winner. They recognize several different recipients, have runners-up and have third place. Since this is a specific recognition and is different from losing an award, runner-up mentions are considered wins in this award tally. For simplification and to avoid errors, each award in this list has been presumed to have had a prior nomination.
Year Nominee / work Award Result
1995 Dancing On The Moon Contigo Best Global Recording Nominated
1998 Compadres (James Keelaghan & Oscar Lopez) Best Roots & Traditional Album: Group Nominated
Oscar Lopez Instrumental Artist(s) of the Year Nominated
2002 Armando's Fire Best Instrumental Album Won
2005 Mi Destino/My Destiny Instrumental Album of the Year Won
2008 ¿Buddy, Where You Been? (Compadres – James Keelaghan & Oscar Lopez) Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Group Nominated
2010 Trifecta (Pavlo, Rik Emmett, Oscar Lopez) Instrumental Album of the Year Nominated
Other Awards

1999: Prairie Music Awards Winner Instrumentalist of the Year

2002: SOCAN Winner Hagood Hardy Jazz/Instrumental Award


Title Album details Nominations/Awards
  • Released: 1989
  • Label: Fantasy of Latin Strings
  • Formats: cassette
  • Released: 1991
  • Label: Fantasy of Latin Strings
Dancing on the Moon Contigo
  • Released: 1994
  • Label: Socan (#FLS2)
  • Formats: CD, cassette
Nominated for a Juno Award for Best Global Recording[23]
Compadres (James Keelaghan, Oscar Lopez) Nominated for a Juno Award for Best Roots & Traditional Album – Group[23]
Armando's Fire Won a Juno Award for Best Instrumental Album[23]
Flashback: The Best of Oscar Lopez
My Destiny (Mi Destino) Won a Juno Award for Instrumental Album of the Year[23]
¿Buddy Where You Been? (Compadres – James Keelaghan, Oscar Lopez)
  • Released: 2007
  • Label: Centino Music
Nominated for a Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Group[23]
Trifecta (Pavlo, Rik Emmett, Oscar Lopez)
  • Released: 2009
  • Label: P.R.O. (#PRO-001)
Nominated for a Juno Award for Instrumental Album of the Year[23]
  • Released: 2014
  • Label: Independent

Other compilation appearancesEdit

  • Masters of Acoustic Guitar (1997) (Narada) (Track 5 – Classical Soul (Edit))
  • Narada Smooth Jazz (1997) (Narada)
  • Narada World A Global Vision (1997) (Narada)
  • The Next Generation: Explore Our World (1997) (Narada)
  • Gypsy Passion: New Flamenco (1997) (Narada)
  • Gypsy Soul: New Flamenco (1998) (Narada)
  • Stories (1998) (Narada) (Track 3 – Looking Back)
  • Narada Film and Television Music Sampler (1998) (Narada)
  • Narada Guitar: 15 Years of Collected Works (1998) (Narada)
  • Obsession: New Flamenco Romance (1999) (Narada)
  • Latino Christmas (1999) (Narada) (Track 2 – Happy Christmas, Track 6 – White Christmas, Track 9 – Little Town of Bethlehem)
  • Nuevo Flamenco (1999) (Virgin France)
  • Gypsy Fire (2000) (Narada)
  • Global Transmissions (A World Music Sampler) (2000) (Narada)
  • Narada Guitar 2: The Best of Two Decades (2000) (Narada)
  • Guitar Greats: The Best of New Flamenco – Volume I (2000) (Baja/TSR Records)
  • Tabu: Mondo Flamenco (2001) (Narada)
  • Guitar Greats: The Best of New Flamenco – Volume II (2002) (Baja/TSR Records)
  • Best of Narada New Flamenco Guitar (2003) (Narada)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Latin Christmas (2005) (EMI Music/Metropolitan Museum of Art) (Track 1 – Happy Christmas, Track 13 – White Christmas)
  • The World of the Spanish Guitar Vol. 1 (2011) (Higher Octave Music)
  • Guitar Greats: The Best of New Flamenco – Volume III (2013) (Baja/TSR Records)


  1. ^ "Guitarist breaks traditional mould". Victoria Times-Colonist, December 9, 1998.
  2. ^ "Acoustic Waves series draws new faces; The Arrogant Worms, Oscar Lopez among new performers". Ottawa Citizen, September 21, 1995.
  3. ^ a b "Fusion in his fingers". Calgary Herald, May 16, 1990.
  4. ^ "Finger Pickin' Good: Incendiary guitarist Oscar Lopez plays string of concerts on Vancouver Island". Victoria Times-Colonist, January 25, 2001.
  5. ^ "Guitarist plays with passion". Kingston Whig-Standard, February 20, 1999.
  6. ^ "Jazz competition names semi-finalists". The Globe and Mail, April 23, 1987.
  7. ^ "Fascinating rhythms: Oscar Lopez makes his fiery, Latino music in a most unlikely place -- the Prairies". Halifax Daily News, October 2, 1998.
  8. ^ a b "Just your average 'Celtino' guitar duo; The unlikely fusion of Latin American and Celtic music came easily to Lopez and Keelaghan". Toronto Star, October 11, 2007.
  9. ^ "Keelaghan's music transcends borders". Edmonton Journal, April 29, 1994.
  10. ^ "Mr. Melody: Calgary's Oscar Lopez plays fiery, intricate acoustic guitar rhythms". Calgary Herald, June 29, 1994.
  11. ^ "Celtino smokes -- even if it has no right to work". The Province, October 10, 1997.
  12. ^ "List of 1995 Juno Award nominations". Montreal Gazette, February 9, 1995.
  13. ^ "Canada has more talent in the wings". Calgary Herald, March 6, 1997.
  14. ^ "Juno list a tribute to flourishing Calgary artists". Calgary Herald, February 12, 1998.
  15. ^ "Albertans hit high notes at Junos". Calgary Herald, April 15, 2002.
  16. ^ "The Juno Award winners are..." Kingston Whig-Standard, April 4, 2005.
  17. ^ a b "I've Seen Fire. Rain." Calgary Herald, November 9, 2007.
  18. ^ "Lopez back in good groove". Calgary Herald, July 24, 2005.
  19. ^ "Guitar trio passionate about acoustic project". Windsor Star, June 3, 2009.
  20. ^ "Triple threat; Three guitar greats combine musical forces". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, February 17, 2010.
  21. ^ "Alberta artists get Juno nods; But country stars may miss out on awards". Calgary Herald, March 4, 2010.
  22. ^ "Passion Project; Lopez finds new life in new album Apasionado". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, March 27, 2015.
  23. ^ a b c d e f "Artist Summary Oscar Lopez". junoawards.ca. Juno Awards. Retrieved November 12, 2015.

External linksEdit