Meneely and van Sante
Meneely & van Sante present an evening of music as lively as it is eclectic, with songs culled from maritime traditions old and new mixed with contemporary ballads about the ways of today’s world.
Janie Meneely and Rob van Sante began coalescing as a duo in 2015, with Rob offering support on Janie’s solo gigs whenever he was in the Washington, D.C. area, where she was living at the time. As a prolific songwriter of all things Chesapeake, Janie was a well-known figure around the mid-Atlantic waterfront, but it was Rob’s brilliant guitar work and harmony singing that really pushed her work into the greater realm of the traditional folk world where Rob had already made his mark.
While Janie had stayed “local” throughout her musical career, Rob had traveled the world, first as a touring artist in his own right, and then as back-up musician/sideman for, primarily, Alan Reid (co-founder and chief songwriter of the Battlefield Band from Scotland) and John Conolly (beloved raconteur of songs and stories pertaining to Grimsby, among them the now-classic Fiddler’s Green). He played for festivals, concert halls, private living rooms and pubs in Britain, Ireland, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Germany, Russia, Japan . . . . this list goes on. Known for his trademark guitar style—primarily using alternate tunings—Rob remains a sought-after accompanist and session musician.
Probably the most exciting element of the duo is the collaborative aspect of their latest compositions. Janie’s lyrics buoyed by Rob’s arrangements reflect a sensitive and compelling grasp of contemporary concerns, whether it be anti-immigration policies (Lady Liberty) or the simple reminder that we set an example for future generations (For the Love of It All). But just as often, their songs—and their on-stage banter, for that matter—are laced with humor (sometimes bawdy!) and spill out with galvanizing energy (Whitby Ale).
Whether they sing of long-ago tragedy, retell a campfire ghost story or offer up a song of social justice, their music invites audience participation, and that, to their mind, remains the most gratifying aspect of any given performance.