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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Lennie Gallant’s music — and heart — are deeply rooted in Prince Edward Island.
The Rustico native reluctantly left his home province in the late 1980s to move to Halifax to try to get started in the music industry after being unsuccessful in his attempts to get funding to start a studio on P.E.I.
He is pleased local artists now have much improved support on the Island.
“You can actually maintain a career and have a base on Prince Edward Island and perform here,’’ he said.
“It’s nutty, too, how many venues (exist to perform in on P.E.I.).’’
Gallant enjoyed a very successful run with his hit musical “Searching for Abegweit” over four summer theatre seasons here.
He believes the provincial government has come to appreciate that culture — local music in the case of Gallant and many other talent Island musicians — is one of Prince Edward Island’s biggest assets.
“When I think about culture on Prince Edward Island, we have such a rich culture here – so many wonderful stories, the depth of feeling that people have for this place,’’ he said.
“To be able to draw from that sort of thing and put it into song…in my opinion if you can draw from your community and write songs that are universal even though they have a sense of place, that’s just as powerful as anything else – and I think maybe the world is starting to come around to understand that, that as long as a song can move you, that’s the important thing, and a sense of place only gives it more strength.’’
Gallant has always embraced his P.E.I. roots and has always been set on settling firmly on the Island red soil.
Over the past handful of years, Gallant has spent a great deal of time living on P.E.I. in Rustico and Mount Carmel.
He has a piece of land in Rustico where he has wanted to build for years.
“Hoping to get started on that sometime soon,’’ he said.
“This is where my heart has always been on P.E.I. Anybody who knows me knows I’ve never, ever claimed to be anything but an Islander. Even though I was spending some time in Nova Scotia, I never felt like a Nova Scotian.’’
Simply put, P.E.I. is home.
Gallant cannot envision living permanently anywhere other than here.
“I could go somewhere else for awhile, but I think I’d have to come back here,’’ he said.
“My roots go way back here. I’ve obviously drawn a lot of my artistic expression from the land here, from the very soil, really, if you want to think about it. I think ,Searching for Abegweit, is certainly evidence of that. There is no other place in the world that makes me feel as present as when I’m on P.E.I.’’
Perhaps nothing offers more quietude to Gallant than a walk on the beach in Rustico in the early morning or late evening when no one is around.
“It’s always been my dream to come over here permanently, back here permanently,’’ he said.