Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Bob Sutherby has been a performer and teacher for over 25 years. At age 11 he took up trombone for the school band, but got really serious about music after discovering guitar at age 15.
Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Bob gained a reputation on the east coast as a versatile electric guitarist, eventually performing/recording with Kim Stockwood, The Gravel Pit Campers, Roger Howse, Jody Richardson, Chad Richardson, Great Big Sea, Billy and the Bruisers and The Janet Cull Band among others, as well as opening for various well-known Canadian acts such as The Tragically Hip and Spirit of the West.
While still busy as an electric guitarist, in 1993 Bob pursued his interest in classical guitar and formed The International Guitar Trio with Kolio Kolev and Charlie Barfoot. They performed until 1995 and shortly afterward, in 1996 Bob was contacted by flamenco dancer Evelyne Benais who had moved to St. John’s and wanted to start a flamenco troupe. Though he didn’t know how to play flamenco guitar, Bob was interested enough to “give it a try”. The rest as they say, is history. El Viento Flamenco has since enjoyed a stellar reputation across Canada, both on their own and with the symphony circuit. In 2007 they won an East Coast Music Award for “Best Roots/Traditional Group Recording” for their CD El Viento Flamenco In Concert.
After a 2001 Canadian tour, El Viento Flamenco relocated to Halifax. Bob then teamed up with guitarist Claire Hodge to form Los Flamencos, and the duo eventually expanded by adding members of El Viento Flamenco. In 2005 Bob broadened his musical horizons yet again by co-founding the world music ensemble Talambra with percussionist Ken Shorley, saxophonist Danny Oore and bassist David Langstroth. In 2008, after members of El Viento went on hiatus, Bob regrouped with the remaining El Viento members to form Compania Azul.
Though mostly self-taught, Bob felt it wise to take formal lessons in flamenco guitar. In 1997 he studied with visiting guitarist Patricio Tito. This was followed in 1999 by a trip to Seville, Spain to study with Juan Del Gastor and Miguel Aragón. From 2007 to 2011 he studied in Halifax with visiting artists Juan Martín, Flavio Rodrigues, Arcadio Marín and José Vega.
Besides his passion for performing, Bob also has a love for teaching. Throughout the 1990s in St. John’s he taught at Hutton’s Music; after moving to Halifax he began teaching at the Canadian Conservatory of Music. From 2006 to 2008 he worked as part-time instructor at Dalhousie University’s music department. Most recently he was hired by Nova Scotia Community College to be an ensemble leader for their music department.
Bob currently performs with Compania Azul, Los Flamencos, and solo as “El Tortuga”. He teaches privately from his home in Clayton Park, and online via Skype. His solo guitar repertoire makes a wonderful Spanish backdrop for wedding receptions, hotel conventions and dinner parties.