Ishmael was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts,the town known as the setting for Moby Dick. In the mid 70ís, while living in Vancouver, British Columbia he began using Ishmael as a stage name and later had his name legally changed. He began playing guitar and writing songs during his first period in Sarasota, Florida from 1963 to 1967. His early songs were often about the equality of all people and political in nature. These are themes that continue to be important to him.
He spent several years practicing Zen Buddhism in Rochester, NY and performing for the Sangha there. When he moved to Toronto in 1972 he began playing gigs and continued playing professionally after moving to Vancouver, BC where it was still Canada but warmer. In Vancouver he was part of the duo, >Katz and Robbins. They appeared on CBC National Radio and TV as well as being regulars on "The Vancouver Show" where they performed political satire often written the day before.
Since returning to Sarasota in 1979 Ishmael has performed original songs on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered", and WMNF Radio in Tampa, Florida.
He has performed in concert for Friends of Florida Folk, Fogartyville Cafe, The Florida Folk Festival and White Springs Folk Club and was slated to play the South Florida Folk Festival. He has performed solo, as part of The Jigsaw Jugband (a street band lured into performing in concert where they reluctantly agreed to practice before the gig). He also was part of Drive South and Ishmael and Lori (political satire in the 80ís) and Kristy and Ishmael (new country and originals in the early 90ís).
He has been a regular on Artís Day in Sarasota, and played the French Film Festival, The Heritage Festival, the Lake County Folk Festival, Sarasota County Folk Festival, SW Florida Folk and Blues Festival and numerous clubs and restaurants over the years.