Jaddus Gallant | Bowing Down Home

Jaddus Gallant, c. 1970 (collection of Faustin Gallant)

Biography

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Jaddus Gallant was raised on a farm, but he worked as a fisherman until he was 73 years old. In 1926, he married a local girl named Béatrice Richard who played the pump organ and had learned to read music while attending the Miscouche Convent School run by the nuns of the Congregation of Notre-Dame. Béatrice and Jaddus had a daughter and two sons.

At a very early age, Jaddus started to learn the rudiments of the fiddle on an old instrument in the family home. His uncle Hubert Arsenault, his mother’s brother, was a good fiddler. Jaddus said that he loved fiddle music so much that he would cry whenever he heard his uncle play.

Music was an important part of family life, especially on Sundays. After coming home from mass, while waiting for Sunday dinner to be served, Jaddus would take out his fiddle. The children would sit beside him, listening religiously to him play. His children remember that he would sometimes get up in the middle of the night to play a tune that was going through his head. When he wanted to practice without disturbing the family, he would take refuge in his bait shed located down by the shore. 

His wife Béatrice or his daughter Marguerite often accompanied him on the pump organ. His son Faustin would sometimes accompany him on the guitar. Jaddus played for many soirées especially during Shrovetide and during the summer when relatives from the United States were visiting. Marguerite recalls that there was music almost every night for a whole month during those visits!

 A few family photos, along with audio selections recorded in 1974 by Georges Arsenault are available here.

Jaddus Gallant est né à Cap-Egmont, Île-du-Prince-Édouard, le 19 août 1899. Bien qu’il ait grandi sur une ferme, il est devenu pêcheur, une occupation qu’il a pratiquée jusqu’à l’âge de 73 ans.

En 1926, il a épousé une fille du village du nom de Béatrice Richard. Elle savait jouer de l’harmonium. Elle avait appris à lire la musique lorsqu’elle avait fréquenté le couvent des religieuses de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame situé à Miscouche. Béatrice et Juddus ont eu une fille et deux garçons.  

À un très jeune âge, Jaddus a commencé à apprendre le violon sur un vieil instrument qu’il y avait à la maison. Son oncle Hubert Arsenault, le frère de sa mère, était un bon violoneux. Jaddus disait qu’il aimait tellement le violon qu’il pleurait quand il entendait son oncle jouer.

La musique prenait une place importante dans la famille, surtout le dimanche. Au retour de la messe dominicale, en attendant que le dîner soit servi, Jaddus prenait son violon et les enfants s’assoyaient près de lui et l’écoutaient religieusement. Ses enfants racontent que leur père se levait parfois la nuit pour jouer un air qui lui trottait dans la tête. Et quand il voulait pratiquer son violon sans déranger la famille, il se réfugiait dans sa « bait shed » située au bord de la mer.  

Son épouse Béatrice l’accompagnait souvent à l’harmonium tout comme sa fille Marguerite, alors que son fils Faustin l’accompagnait parfois à la guitare. Les soirées de musique auxquelles Jaddus participait étaient particulièrement nombreuses pendant les jours gras et pendant l’été quand la parenté des États-Unis arrivait. Marguerite raconte qu’il y avait de la musique tous les soirs pendant un mois lors de ces visites!

 

 

 

 

 

Tune Selections

Arsenault, Albin & Jaddus Gallant - Farmers Reel Accompanied by: Béatrice Gallant pump organ
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Arsenault, Albin & Jaddus Gallant - Lord MacDonald's Reel Accompanied by: Béatrice Gallant pump organ
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Arsenault, Albin & Jaddus Gallant - Pierre Gallant's Tune Accompanied by Béatrice Gallant pump organ
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Gallant, Jaddus - Jack Ursule's Tune (Jack Richard's Tune accompanied by: Béatrice Gallant pump organ
Evangeline Coast / East Prince
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Gallant, Jaddus - Silver Wedding Reel (Princess Reel) Accompanied by: Béatrice Gallant pump organ
Evangeline Coast / East Prince
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Gallant, Jaddus - Ste. Ann's Reel Accompanied by: Béatrice Gallant pump organ
Evangeline Coast / East Prince
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