Re­cap­tur­ing the magic

Len­nie Gal­lant’s new CD, ‘Search­ing for Abeg­weit’ re­cap­tures the magic of his sum­mer show at the P.E.I. Brew­ing Com­pany

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ISLAND WEEKEND - Doug Gal­lant Doug Gal­lant, a reporter with The Guardian, writes his mu­sic re­view col­umn for The Guardian ev­ery week. He wel­comes com­ments from read­ers at dgal­lant@the­guardian.pe.ca or 629-6000, ext. 6057.

Award-win­ning P.E.I. singer-song­writer Len­nie Gal­lant’s new CD takes lis­ten­ers into the au­di­ence of “Search­ing for Abeg­weit”, his hit show from last sum­mer at the P.E.I. Brew­ing Com­pany.

For the past two sum­mers singer-song­writer Len­nie Gal­lant has charmed and de­lighted au­di­ences with “Search­ing for Abeg­weit”, a mu­si­cal con­structed around some twodozen songs in­spired by his great love of P.E.I. and its peo­ple.

Through those songs, some of which date back to the be­gin­ning of his ca­reer, Gal­lant chron­i­cled the lives of those who built a life for them­selves work­ing the rich, fer­tile farm­land of ru­ral P.E.I. or har­vest­ing the bounty of the sea.

He sang about our du­ties as care­tak­ers of the land, the sea and, most im­por­tantly per­haps, each other.

He sang about the im­por­tance of cel­e­brat­ing our di­verse cul­tural make-up and the legacy of the Mi’kmaq, French, Ir­ish, Scot­tish and other peo­ples who set­tled this prov­ince.

He sang about the qual­ity of life en­joyed by those who live in com­mu­ni­ties like the one he grew up in, the car­ing and the com­pas­sion, the strength of char­ac­ter of th­ese peo­ple and the shared de­sire to seek a bet­ter life for all.

What had be­gun a few years ago as a de­sire to some­how bring his songs about P.E.I. to­gether - some­thing fans had been press­ing for years - evolved into a text­book les­son on how to take a show with many el­e­ments from the draw­ing board to the stage.

Bring­ing to­gether the songs, the sto­ries, the videos and the dozens of paint­ings by Len­nie’s sis­ter Karen that be­came such an in­te­gral part of this show took a lot of time and a lot of hard work.

But ev­ery minute, ev­ery hour they in­vested in cre­at­ing this show was worth it be­cause the end re­sult was a gem.

I saw Search­ing for Abeg­weit three times and ev­ery time I saw it I took some­thing dif­fer­ent away from it.

If you didn’t see it - and many who wanted to did not be­cause it con­tin­u­ally sold out - you missed some­thing very spe­cial. But you can now rec­tify that. At least in part. Gal­lant re­cently re­leased “Search­ing for Abeg­weit” as a two-CD pack­age with over 20 selections from the show.

You don’t get the full meal deal be­cause the art­work and the videos aren’t there but what you do get are solid per­for­mances of such clas­sic Gal­lant of­fer­ings as Is­land Clay, Which Way Does The River Run, Peter’s Dream, Tales of The Phan­tom Ship and North­ern Lights. They shared the spot­light with slightly less well known but equally com­pelling pieces like Lord Selkirk’s Land, Coun­try Store and the show’s ti­tle track, Search­ing for Abeg­weit.

The per­for­mances by Gal­lant and his band - neph­ews Jeremy and Jonathan Gal­lant, Pa­tri­cia Richard and Sean Kemp- are top drawer all the way through. You could not have asked for more from any one of them.

To­gether they de­liv­ered one very mem­o­rable evening.

And you will get a real sense of that from this record­ing.

Yes, you will miss Karen Gal­lant’s im­ages, which so hand­somely com­pli­mented Len­nie’s songs. But you know.. there is a book. Buy the book and flip through the pages as you lis­ten to the mu­sic and the snip­pets of di­a­logue here.

Sounds like a plan.

(Rat­ing 4 out of 5 stars)

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Len­nie Gal­lant, cen­tre, is ac­com­pa­nied by Sean Kemp and Pa­tri­cia Richard dur­ing a per­for­mance of“Search­ing for Abeg­weit”at the P.E.I. Brew­ing Com­pany this past sum­mer. His hit mu­si­cal has made the tran­si­tion from the stage to a new dou­ble CD of­fer­ing.

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