Celtic Folk at Moonlight

by J.M. Thomas

Rob van Sante and Alan Reid are a Celtic folk music duo performing traditional and modern songs around the United States. The duo are originally from Britain and have traveled across the Atlantic to bring European folklore alive to generations who might not be presently familiar with the long-standing genre.

Van Sante and Reid first met working in the niched field of Celtic music in Britain. The two performed with the same traditional folk group, Battlefield Band. Van Sante notes that the twosome would perform together occasionally while in Battlefield. “We were doing a lot of harmonies and singing together,” says van Sante.

The duo officially left Battlefield Band and started their own band in 2010. He includes that he and Reid decided very early in life to play Celtic folklore. While being very talented vocally and instrumentally, van Sante explains that the decision to follow Celtic music came naturally.

“It wasn’t a decision, we just kind of walked into it,” says van Sante. “It’s very close to our hearts.”

Van Sante explains that what differentiates folk music from other genres is the way the music uniquely communicates and connects to its audiences.

“The most enjoyable part is telling the story,” says van Sante.

He explains that each lyric of Celtic music is a tool for creating the story in the audience’s mind. Each word is thoughtful and created to propel the unfolding tale.

The duo enjoy playing a combination of traditional and modern Scottish folk songs. Some of their favorites are songs by Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland during the late 1700s, and songs written by Reid himself.

When asked why people still enjoy to listen to this older style of music compared to more modern music, van Sante said that people who enjoy a good story, enjoy Celtic music.

The musician also emphasizes the community that comes with Celtic music. The biggest misconception is that it is an exclusive interest, but anyone can appreciate the songs.

“[Celtic music] is accessible to everyone,” says van Sante. “All ages come to the performances because it speaks to all.”

The musicians are very excited to bring their music to Alabama, having never before visited. They said the tour has been going very well and while the weather hasn’t been the best, the concerts have been well attended.

“We hope for good turn outs and are looking forward to meet friends we haven’t met yet,” says van Sante.

Anyone in the Birmingham area can come hear the vivid tales of folklore and adventure on October 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Moonlight on the Mountain.

Moonlight on the Mountain is located at 585 Shades Crest Rd, Birmingham, AL 35226.

Photo by J.M. Thomas.