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Musician lost all to Putin’s war

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I’m Robert Palomo, an American musician and writer married to a leading Russian independent journalist. In 2022 we were forced to leave Saint Petersburg, Russia for our own safety, abandoning everything we built over 26 years. Two days before we left, my wife was diagnosed with cancer. We left anyway - there was no other choice. Two years later we are still working to rebuild our lives in the United States.

Among the many things lost was my life’s collection of musical instruments and my just-completed home recording studio. I have been offered personal coaching, mentoring, and production help by Gary Gray , an award-winning American music producer and voting member of the Grammy academy whose work appeared in the recent Disney film “The Little Mermaid”, to create a retirement income stream from licensing my catalog of original music. To take advantage of this, I need to acquire one of each of the instruments I play, and some basic recording studio gear - and I need help to do that.

If you’ve got enough to go on now, super. I will greatly appreciate any help, including spreading the word about this campaign. But if you’d like to know more, please read on.

In April of 2022 we loaded 2 suitcases of clothes, 2 laptop computers, and our 2 rescue dogs into our car slipped across a still-open Estonian border, abandoning our home and everything we built together over 26 years in Saint Petersburg. My wife has been deeply involved with independent journalism since Perestroika, and I am an American. You can imagine why we were no longer safe following the “special military operation” in February, 2022.

The "Mutts" leaving Saint Petersburg - April 2022

Two days before we left, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. We left anyway. Several days later we learned that her media company, whose chief editor received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021, had arranged medical treatment for her in Israel. To shorten a long story, she went there, the dogs went for fostering with some good friends in the UK, and I went on to my native USA to take a job. Fast forward to 2024, we are reunited and working to rebuild our life. I was planning to retire in Saint Petersburg this year or next. That’s out of the picture now. Plans were based on living in a less expensive country.

Impact on my music
Among the many things we abandoned was my life collection of musical instruments and my just-finished home recording studio (and the house it was in).

Not a big collection, but I had made judicious buys on quality instruments over the years. I gave everything away to my wonderful musician friends in Saint Petersburg hoping it might help them and their families thru hard times that were surely coming. In the end, it’s all “stuff” - and unlike people, stuff can be replaced.

Why I need help
Before the pandemic, my self-produced original maritime folk music was gaining ground with festivals in the UK and Europe. It was also noticed by an award-winning American recording engineer and music producer, Gary Gray . Gary is a voting member of the Grammy academy. He regularly does work for big industry names like The Disney Music Group, 20th Century Fox, CBS and Hollywood Records, producing music for film, TV and ad campaigns. His most recent projects include recording, mixing and mastering music for an Amazon Super Bowl commercial and multiple tracks in the Disney live-action major motion picture “The Little Mermaid”.

Gary has generously offered me personal coaching, mentoring, and collaboration on production. I have 2-3 albums worth of original music written. We want to focus on adapting my released and unreleased music for licensing to create a retirement income stream. BUT - I now have no instruments to create music, nor studio gear to record and produce it. With my retirement prospects shipwrecked, I need help to get the tools I need to take advantage of the help I’ve been offered to help myself.

What do I need?
Not looking to replace everything I had. Don't need prestigious brand names. I’ll be looking for good used items. My goal is to have one of each instrument I play, and basic home recording studio equipment.
  • Acoustic guitar with case
  • Banjo with case
  • Mandolin with case
Studio gear:
  • Audio & midi interface supporting Apple Core Audio
  • Closed-back studio headphones
  • Subwoofer matching the JBL studio monitors gifted by my family
  • Midi controller keyboard
  • Small condenser microphones - matched pair
  • Mac Mini computer to replace my struggling 2013-vintage MacBook (all my software is for Mac)

I've been working hard for 2 years to take care of my spouse, my dogs, and myself to get us re-established back in my native USA. Your help will enable me to resume work on the music I had in the works before forces beyond my control uprooted me and so many others.


Rehearsing on our front porch with a rapt audience and my Martin D35

On stage at a Russian folk festival with my Crafter thinline acoustic-electric guitar

Performing aboard the Russian tall ship Mir with my Nechville Atlas banjo

My Ovation stage guitar at Harwich, England at the Harwich Int'l. Shanty Festival

Sitting in on my bass guitar with Peter "Dr. Banjo" Wernick at Russia's first bluegrass festival which I helped the U.S. consulate to organize in 2010

My 1924 Vega Style F with 5-string neck by French luthier Eric Stefanelli

My bluegrass warbler: White Mountain "woodie"

"Rise again, rise again
Though your heart it be broken or life about to end
No matter what you lost, be it a home, a love, a friend
Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again!"

-- Stan Rogers "The Mary Ellen Carter"



  • Joel Sarich
    • $50 
    • 1 mo
  • Justin Mack
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Peter Wernick
    • $50 
    • 2 mos
  • Dan Vanada
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • eric ewazen
    • $100 
    • 2 mos


Robert Palomo
Cleveland, OH

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