Rob's Bio Page

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Rob’s Norton Dominator 88 500cc motorbike stopped running when he reached the coast of Scotland, having left his native Netherlands in search of adventure at the ripe old age of 21 (or maybe 22, he says). He found more than he bargained for, landing a maintenance job, honing his English (you can hear the Scots in his accent) and falling in with the local music scene. Of course he had his guitar with him, strapped onto the back of his bike. That was what he regards as the official start of his life on the road as a working musician, a life that has led him to travel around the world.

Music is in his blood, to say the least. His mother was a child prodigy on the piano before she married a sea captain and settled down. While his father was away from home for months—sometimes years—at a time, Rob dabbled in a variety of instruments and musical styles. Rob’s first love has always been the guitar, and he always managed to scrape a few sheckles together, busking or playing in local clubs. By the late 1970s, he was touring Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, working with an array of stalwarts of the UK folk and jazz scene such as Danny Thompson, Tom McConville, Tom Napper, Jon Strong to name but a few. In the early ’90s he joined the ranks of Battlefield Band as their ‘fifth’ member (sound engineer). In the summer of 2000 Rob and Alan Reid (founder member of Battlefield Band) decided, after consuming a bottle of wine somewhere in the Lake District, to form a duo and perform whilst the band wasn’t on the road. After both Rob and Alan left Battlefield Band in 2010 the duo toured the world delighting audiences in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America until 2019 when the duo decided that it was time to call it a day. Rob recorded 5 critically acclaimed albums with Alan (on sale at this website and from all major internet sites).

Acknowledged for his subtle guitar accompaniments and fine solo and harmony singing (he’s a terrific a cappella singer, as well), Rob is also a noted producer, recording engineer and session musician. Nowadays he records and plays with veteran singer / songwriter John Conolly, writer of the classic folk standard ‘Fiddlers’ Green’, and with U.S. songwriter Janie Meneely, writer of ‘Twiddles’, a standard in the repertoire of rowdy ladies. When Rob has time off from busy touring schedules, he can be found working in his recording studio (Falcon Audio Visual Arts) in his adopted town of Whitby, UK, or collaborating with Janie on a host of new material.

Rob plays a Martin D-28, a Martin D12-35, a Harmony H1260, an Ovation Balladeer, a Goodall RGC1123 Guitar, an Alvarez ABT60 Baritone Guitar, a Vincent Quiles Flat Back Irish Bouzouki (GDAD), a Vincent Quiles C-2 Nylon Strung Concert Guitar, a Paul Archer Mandolin, an Ibanez Blazer Electric Guitar, a Fender Jazzman Bass Guitar. He uses DADGAD, DADDAD, CGCGCC, CGDGAD, CGDGCD, DGDGBD, DGDGCD, DADEAE and standard guitar tunings.

The Beat Magazine
London Ontario

provides beautiful guitar backing (and forwarding!) on guitar which he jokingly referred to as his high strung wife. To continue this image, he stroked her with gentle passion eliciting sighing harmonies and driving rhythms as the mood warranted. He sings in an intrinsically British traditional style delivering songs with heartfelt sincerity.

The Herald Scotland
by Rob Adams

Away from the mixing desk, van Sante is a capable guitarist and vocal harmoniser, and his singing of The Rout of the Blues, an army mobilising song learned from the classic album of the same name by Robin & Barry Dransfield, was a welcome return for an often overlooked gem.

Living Tradition
by Hugh Taylor

Rob van Sante is a large part of this album's (The Rise and Fall o' Charlie - Alan Reid & Rob van Sante) success, from his harmonies and elegant, understated guitar playing to the recording, mixing and mastering".

Living Tradition
by David Kidman

Rob’s unshakeable reputation as sympathetic musical partner, excellent engineering skills and his extensive multi-instrumental prowess is showcased in great detail through out this well crafted album. (Rough Diamonds - Rough Diamonds)

Archie Fisher Singer / Guitarist/ Songwriter
Author of "The Final Trawl"

More than an acceptable version of "The Final Trawl", best interpretation yet by anyone.

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