Robert Palomo is an American-born musician and songwriter with a weakness for salty sea songs and the humble banjo. He's been hanging out in the northern latitudes of Russia for almost a quarter century now, and he's doing just fine, thanks! So how did a child of Cold War era USA end up in Russia of all places?
"The answer to that needs a book, not a bio," he says. "It's a real-life soap-opera about meeting an exotic lady from Saint Petersburg, falling in love at a time when such a thing was totally impossible, and sailing away to far-off lands. I suppose one of these days I really should write down the whole tale."
He hasn't gotten around to the book yet, as he's busy writing, recording and playing "new old sea songs" — his own brand of original maritime folk music, from the stormy Baltic shores of northwest Russia. "I was focused on recording other kinds of songs that I'd written and squirreled away over the years when I was invited to play some banjo with the shanty choir of the Russian tall ship MIR. I got to remember old sea songs I was familiar with but had never tried to play, and I discovered how much fun that kind of music is. As a result, I kind of changed course and tacked hard to port, so to speak."
Although his original nautical songs may sound traditional at first, listening closer reveals bits and pieces that are strictly 21st century. For example, his capstan shanty Noah Could Not Navigate fires a couple of shots across the bow of creationism and climate change denial. His poignant Widows on the Shore imagines a shanty that women in seafaring towns during the age of sail might have sung. Robert has recently performed his "new old sea songs" at the Harwich International Sea Shanty Festival (UK), the Baltic Shanty Festival (Åland Islands), and the Teign Shanty and Maritime Festival (UK).
There's no Cold War - only cold vodka, sultry wenches, and salty acoustic music when Robert plays at your favorite watering hole! Why not join his "SCURVY CREW" and follow the ongoing saga?
See also: Electronic Press Kit