Robert Zielinski learnt to play by ear from his mentors Sean Doherty and later Mick Doherty (no relation) in Perth, WA. Sean (from County Mayo) was responsible for introducing Robert to many recordings of the musicians he would later meet. When Robert met Mick at age twelve, it changed his life. Mick hails from a long line of travelling fiddle players, storytellers and tinsmiths from Donegal. His Uncle, the renowned Johnny Doherty featured on Ireland’s RTE documentary “The Fiddler On The Road.” As a child Robert also played with Ray Deely, a flute player and former neighbor of Paddy Fahey.
At seventeen Robert travelled to Ireland where he spent fourteen years immersing himself in the music of the older players as well as exploring Scotland and the Shetland Isles. He studied under musicians P.J and Martin Hayes and for ten years under Andy Davey, master of the Sligo style of fiddle playing. Andy was the most musical man Robert had ever met, and became one of his favorite fiddle players as well as his great friend. Robert also became influenced by fiddlers Paddy Canny, Paddy Fahey, Bobby Casey, Junior Crehan, Joe Ryan, Andy Mgann, Tommy Potts, Michael Coleman, Lad O'Bourne, and Ally Bain.
Robert taught for three years at the Galway School of Traditional Irish Music and has continued to teach ever since. Over the years he developed a compelling selection of slow airs, jigs, reels, strathpeys, highlands, original compositions and many more traditional tunes. In the year 2000 his efforts were rewarded by winning Ireland's Michael Coleman Traditional Fiddle Player of the Year Award in Sligo. He also toured in the USA and in Europe.
In the year 2005 Robert was struck with a devastating case of repetitive strain injury, which forced him to temporarily stop playing the violin. He has spent the last six years diligently working on his recovery and on his music, and is now looking forward to relaunching his career.
In 2011 Robert changed his surname from Stafford back to Zielinski, his original family name. Robert's Polish grandfather and family decided to change their surname to Stafford after the second world war, when Polish immigrants struggled to find work in England. Robert's grandfather and forefathers all played the violin, and Robert changed his name to both thank and pay respect to these musicians.
Traditional fiddle music from Ireland, Scotland and the Shetland Isles.
Website designed and created by Julia Stafford.
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