Albin Sobkowich

Albin was born May 18th, 1944, in Hubbard, Saskatchewan, son of Mike & Anne Sobkowich.  He was the third in a family of four children.  He resided with his family in Hubbard, Saskatchewan until 1964 when he moved to Yarbo, Saskatchewan.  He and his family, wife, Sharon, and sons Chris and Kevin lived in Yarbo until Albin’s transfer to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1971.

Albin’s love for music began as a child in Hubbard, influenced by the musical talents of his father Mike, and his brothers Ted and Carl.  Albin started on the accordion, but times were tough back then and his father could not afford a proper accordion for his growing interest.  So Albin picked up one of the many violins in the house and it soon became his specialty.  Along with the help of his Dad and brothers, and learning from the recordings of other violin players, he started to develop a repertoire and his own unique style.  Fusing the sounds of popular violinist of the day and a sense of music history inherited from his Dad, wrapped up in his unique perspective, and exiting violin style was born!

Albin had a story about his very first paying gig, which he fondly remembered.  He was 13 years old, and was hired to play fiddle for his first Wedding with Mr. Mostowy, a respected local bandleader in the Hubbard, Saskatchewan area.  Albin was paid about 10 dollars for the gig, but the money did not matter, he was playing music professionally and it was a milestone in his development.

Albin began his musical career with the Echo Phonics, playing at various dances, wedding and anniversaries in Saskatchewan.  Upon his move to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Albin played with various bands, just to mention a few “Interlake Polka Kings”, “Ukrainian Oldtimers” and many others.  There is one story that he loved telling and was very proud of, was when he got a call to play along side one of his idols, Tommy Buick.  They played harmony fiddles that evening for an enthusiastic audience.  After the show, Tommy Buick commented on how well Albin played and loved his ability to harmonize all the violin lines.   “Where were you 20 years ago?”  He asked.

In 1992, Glen Ambrose was attending a wedding and saw Albin playing with the hired band.  After a set of music, Glen approached Albin and asked if he would be interested in playing fiddle in his band “The Ambrose Brothers”.  This relationship was to last 13 years!  Together, they recorded seven CD’s including a number of his own original works and played at numerous local venues.  Albin was also featured as a recording goes on several other CD’s with local musicians, including DVA Skripakih, with Steve Myk.

The great thing about Albin’s playing was that it really came from his heart.  He had a love of music and life and cared deeply for others.  It was through the violin that he could express this feeling to others best.   If you heard him play you could not help but be affected y his musical talent.  Nothing made him happier than to see people smiling and dancing to his fiddle.  What made his violin style so unique was that he had an amazing technique, but that he always played what the song needed and really communicated to people.  That is why so many people think of his as “The Best”.  He will be greatly missed and we are all blessed to have his recording to enjoy what he loved to do best, play music for you.