Get to know Janie and Rob

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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.

Tykes News, (UK Folk Magazine)
Alan Rose

"Janie is a songwriter of great worth—she spent decades as the go-to composer for maritime tales of the eastern seaboard of North America in general, and the Chesapeake Bay in particular. Rob has been a major player on the British folk scene since he arrived from his native Holland as a wide-eyed early twenty-year-old. Together they become more than the sum of their parts, as each enhances the other's lead vocals while Rob's expert and sensitive accompaniments on a baffling array of stringed instruments underpin the whole affair."

New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.
Laura Orleans (Executive Director)

“Janie Meneely and Rob van Sante are wonderfully engaging performers with a wide-ranging repertoire of maritime music.  Their performance at the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center was lively and entertaining.  They also presented a marvelous program of Chesapeake Bay songs and stories at a local school, easily keeping the attention of 200 young people.”

Havre de Grace Maritime Museum
Bruce Russell (President)

"Rob and Janie's artistry and respect for their craft becomes immediately evident to audiences. Their clean,  soaring harmonies complement one another perfectly, and the two combine a sense of traditionalism with a unique interpretive style all their own."

Whether they sing about the past or the present, the Bay or beyond, Meneely and van Sante are delighted to share a few hours of music, merriment and (sometimes) mayhem. Be ready to sing along.

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