Janie Meneely, the former Chesapeake Bay Magazine editor and singer/songwriter of traditional sea chanteys, has spent the last year as an ex-pat in Whitby Harbor in the U.K.
Now, she’s returning to the Bay region with a new musical collaboration and concert schedule. Meneely and her partner, Rob van Sante, will begin performing in late January in Galesville, with other shows planned from Boston to Iowa to Virginia.
In the first show, set for January 27 at Galesville Memorial Hall, the singers will appear with Jeff Holland from The Eastport Oyster Boys, performing old favorites. But they’ll also debut a new song that tells the story of the skipjack Claud W. Somers in March 1977. Meneely has been working to get the song just right for decades.
Meneely and van Sante have a new album, Partners, which expands upon Meneely’s traditional Bay repertoire with songs inspired by wild American mustangs and traditional English ballads.
The album also features a new shipwreck song influenced by her time in Europe. It’s about “the loss of HMY Iolaire (pronouned You-la-rah; Gaelic for eagle) just off the island of Lewis (Scotland) in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, 1918,” Meneely says. “The boat was carrying servicemen returning from World War I. Nearly 200 men drowned when the ship broke up on the rocks about 20 yards from shore… At the time, it was the most tragic loss of life since the Titanic, and no one really knows about it.”
The lyrics, written by Meneely, and the melody, written by van Sante, combine to haunting effect. You can hear the Iolaire elegy and more tunes from Partners as Meneely and van Sante tour the Chesapeake Bay region this winter.
Saturday, January 27
Music of the Bay and Beyond: Janie Meneely & Rob Van Sante in concert with Riverkeeper Jeff Holland to benefit the West and Rhode Rivers
Galesville Memorial Hall*, 952 Main St, Galesville, MD 20765
$20/ cash bar for beer and wine
Contact: 443-758-7797 or check westrhoderiverkeeper.org
Saturday, February 17
FSGW concert, with Ca’Meows opening
Seekers Church*, 276 Carroll St NW, Washington, DC 20012
(One block up from the Takoma Metro Station)
FSGW members $10; others $20 (new memberships welcome)
Check FSGW.org for details
Sunday, February 18
Annapolis, MD (St. Margarets)
$20 suggested donation
Contact Suzanne Farr for reservations and directions: [email protected]
Friday, March 2
The Watermen’s Museum
5 pm for wine-and-cheese reception (meet the artists and learn about the museum’s new curriculum on Sea Level Rise); 6–8:30 pm for concert
309 Water Street, Yorktown, VA 23690
Check watermens.org or call 757-8872641 for details
Saturday, March 3
The Fishermen’s Museum
177 Main Street, Reedville, VA 22539
Contact Gerhard Straub for more info (volunteers welcome!): [email protected]