Review: Searching for Abegweit

The Island Songs and Stories of Lennie Gallant

Review | by Jan Cox

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Harbourfront Theatre
July 9, 10, 23 & 24; August 13, 14, 27 & 28

Performed by
Lennie Gallant (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, bodhran), Jeremy Gallant (piano, keyboards, vocals), Jonathan Gallant (drums, percussion, mandolin, guitar, vocals), Patricia Richard (mandolin, bodhran, banjo, vocals), Sean Kemp (violin, vocals)

Written by
Lennie Gallant

Supported by
PEI visual artist and sister, Karen Gallant

The show
An amazing evening of Island songs and stories. Lennie Gallant, accompanied by his “blow-you-away band,” takes his audience on a musical journey (from folk to rock), sharing his heartfelt love for this island, its people and its history, together with a multimedia format that uses film and hundreds of paintings as background to the performance.

The Performance
Audiences were riveted to their seats, soaking up every word spoken, every joke shared and each note played. The multi-talented band does way more than “back up” Lennie Gallant, they are part of him. “Searching for Abegweit,” the subsequent recording, won the 2017 East Coast Music Award for Folk Recording of the Year. Lennie also received the 2017 ECMA Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year. He has been awarded the Order of Canada for his contribution to Canadian Culture. This musical and visual feast is a glowing tribute, by Lennie, not only to his hometown, Rustico, but a moving, proud tribute to his Acadian roots. He shares it all in songs like, “Back to Rustico” and “The Night They Moved the House.” The poignant tale of “Peter’s Dream” will leave a lump in your throat, “Tell Me a Ghost Story” will leave you laughing in the aisles and “The Band’s Still Playing” will have you on your feet.

Final Thoughts
Searching for Abegweit can be experienced at Harbourfront Theatre July 10, 23, August 13, 14, 27 and 28. Try to get there. Become part of the Abegweit experience. Abegweit, roughly translated from Mi’kmaq, is “cradled on the waves.” Come and find your peace.

Jan Coxreview
Jan Cox

My partner and I moved to the island from Ottawa in August 2003. We quickly became avid fans of "The Buzz". I would search out the monthly read at the liquor stores of West Prince! I retired in June 2015 and found myself one afternoon, on a weekday no less, outside The Buzz office in Charlottetown. I met Peter and the gang and after singing the praises of the publication, suggested they needed a voice from West of Summerside. Me and my big mouth - three years later I am still writing "Way Up West" every month and it has been a joy. It's a win win - I get to work with a wonderful group of people at The Buzz and I am thrilled to be meeting folks from up west and area.