'Searching for Abegweit' brings Lennie Gallant's rich trove of Island songs to Charlottetown Festival

Published on June 26, 2014

The cast of "Searching for Abegweit: the Island Songs & Stories of Lennie Gallant," (from left) are Jonathan Gallant, Caroline Bernard, Lennie Gallant, Sean Kemp, and Jeremy Gallant. "Searching for Abegweit" has already proven a hot commodity with Islanders and visitors, as the shows are sold out until July 5.

Jac Gautreau photo

In the words of Wade Lynch, "When the audience at The Mack comes to see a show, they know what they want: they want great music, they want to laugh, they want strong storytelling, and they want to relate." The new musical hybrid, "Searching for Abegweit: the Island Songs & Stories of Lennie Gallant" is sure to delight patrons on all accounts.

This P.E.I. love letter stars the award-winning songwriter himself, weaving his celebrated roots and folk music among comedic stories, Island legends, and stunning projected artwork from visual artist and sibling, Karen Gallant. Premiering June 28, this colourful spectacle features Gallant favourites such as 'Peter's Dream', 'Tales of the Phantom Ship', and 'Island Clay' among new Island-themed songs.

"Over the course of my career I have written many songs about this Island I love so much," says Gallant. "2014 seems like the perfect time to showcase all things P.E.I., so I am thrilled to be presenting this show in collaboration with Confederation Centre."

"All Islanders feel very strongly about this beautiful corner of the world," continues the Rustico native. "I have tried to reflect some of that beauty through these songs of struggle, celebration, legend, and love. It is my hope that this patchwork quilt will have you laughing, singing, shedding a tear, and maybe even dancing with us as we go 'Searching for Abegweit' - that elusive thing that makes this place so special for Islanders and those who come to discover it."

Searching for Abegweit features a stacked cast of collaborators, including musical accompaniment from P.E.I.'s Caroline Bernard ("Come-All-Ye;" "Les Girls"), and Gallant's talented nephews, Jeremy and Jonathan Gallant on keyboards and percussion. Long-time sideman, fiddler Sean Kemp rounds out this stellar ensemble, and two-time Gemini award winner, Jac Gautreau is the show's director.

Wade Lynch, the centre's former associate artistic director, is creative consultant on the project.

"These songs and stories are augmented by the rich and colourful paintings of Karen Gallant," adds Gautreau.

"Her work, like her brother Lennie's, shares a deep understanding of Island life and mythology and I cannot imagine a more perfect visual companion for these songs."

"Searching for Abegweit: the Island Songs & Stories of Lennie Gallant," is a part of the 2014 Charlottetown Festival.

It previews Thursday, June 26, and Friday, June 27, before making its world premiere at The Mack on June 28.