J.J. Chaisson

Fisherman & Musician

Souris

Were you born in PEI or are you an Islander by choice?
Born and raised in PEI.

What kind of steps did you take to become your profession?
Fisherman: Fisherman’s helper once graduated from High School for 4 years. Went on to buy my own Lobster licence and boat and have been self-employed as a Commercial Lobster Fisherman for 12 years. Last year, I attended Holland College and got Limited Masters, which allows me to take guests on my boat.

Musician: Growing up in a musical family like the Chaisson’s, playing the fiddle was a natural born gift for me. I played my first solo at the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival when I was 5 years old. I learn everything by ear and cannot read a note of music. I have traveled solo and as part of a band for many years playing concerts, festivals, and teaching at camps around the world.

How long have you been living in PEI?
All my life!

Where do you live in PEI?
Souris, Prince Edward Island.

Describe what are an average day looks like for you?
An average day for me is being with my wife and 3 children. We do everything together including work. Some days I travel to do music gigs, some days I’m in my shop repairing or building lobster gear. Some days we are travelling around to various sporting events for the kids. May and June is all about Lobster fishing, up at 3am and working 12 hour days. Summers are all about music. Everyday of my life is different and that’s the best part.

What is your favourite thing about life in PEI?
The simplicity, the people, and my family is here.

What are you passionate about personally? What do you really enjoy? What can’t you stop talking about?
Preserving Traditional Music on PEI. I come from 8 generations of fiddlers. I have played since I was 5 years old. My family owns and operates the Rollo Bay Fiddle Festival and this year marks our 40th Annual Festival. It is a passion of mine to keep the music alive and going for many more generations.

If you had to choose one spot on the island to take someone who has never been here, where would it be?
The Eastern end of course! The beauty, the beaches, the people, the small shops, the real experiences cannot be matched anywhere else.