Fiddler on the beach

• As well as being accompanist for Robert Zielinski at the Kidogo gig, John Reed also captured this cracking pic of the renowned violinist.

FOR years Robert Zielinski dreamed of the perfect fiddle.

It needed to be a bit longer than normal to fit comfortably with his tall frame, and the wood needed to be aged, as he believes it takes about a 100 years for an instrument to reach its peak and he obviously can’t wait that long.

After spending years in the violin repair business, Zielinski recently moved into manufacturing with his brother Brian and one of the first instruments to come off their production line was his own.

It’ll get its first local airings at a concert at the Kidogo Arthouse on Bather’s Beach on Friday November 2, where the noted fiddler will be accompanied by Freo folk stalwart John Reed on bouzouki.

Fiddling legend

“A night of jig reels, slow airs, highlands, strathspeys and many more,” says Zielinski, an expert in traditional Irish music.

Although of Polish decent, Zielinski was adopted by Perth’s Irish community in the early 1980s because of his obvious talent, and when he was 12, local fiddling legend Mick Doherty took him under his wing.

“He was very determined to teach me what he had and he introduced me to fixing fiddles, which later led me to work with three different makers in Ireland,” Zielinski said.

“Whether you’re playing or making, your sound is your sound and you set out to create it.”

After returning to Australia with a deeper understanding of the music, Zielinski and Doherty teamed up in 2012 to record the album Out West.

“Mick was 88 at the time, and we were expecting around 30 or 40 mates, but there were over 300 people in the room,” he says of the album launch.

Zielinski has also tried making his own album several times, but never felt the sessions captured the moment adequately and the recordings lay in studio vaults from around the world.

But following a suggestion from his brother, he started gathering those recordings and earlier this year the best of each session was released as The Day Dawn.

The Kidogo concert will feature many of his own compositions.

Reed is a veteran of WA’s folk scene, having been a founding member of both Rich and Famous, and the Sensitive New Age Cowpersons.

The concert’s from 7-9pm, and tickets are $20 from


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