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Tracadie Beach at sunset

Portugal or Prince Edward Island

Portugal or PEI

Published March 5, 2024 | with Lennie Gallant

Were you born with a nomad gene like the late Jimmy Buffett who dreamed of his next destination in one of his last songs, Portugal or PEI. Co-written and sung with his friend and Prince Edward Island’s native son, Lennie Gallant, the song was released posthumously on November 3, 2023, with his final album, Equal Strains on All Parts. Buffett passed away on September 1, 2023 only two months earlier due to cancer. 

Sadly, Buffett never got to visit Prince Edward Island, although he and Gallant were planning one that was imminent. Using his lyrics as a guide, let us introduce you to the beaches and places of Prince Edward Island that Jimmy Buffett pondered.

Jimmy Buffett with Lennie Gallant & Patricia Richard in Key West, FL
Photo Credit: Lennie Gallant

 

A pub in Portugal or PEI, layin' low, stayin' high
I've got my good friends close and trouble far away
Music on a beach called "Singin' Sands"

The pure white sand at Basin Head Provincial Park is geologically unique and does “sing” when stepped on due to its high silica content. Aptly, the beach is nicknamed the Singing Sands.

Basin Head, couple, beach, water, cliff


Everybody's askin' all the time
Contemplatin' Malpeque Bay

On the beautiful Malpeque Bay, Cabot Beach is a perfect place for layin’ low. With no master plan, Buffett may have enjoyed the views of red cliffs, surfed the waves or chatted with the lobster fishers at the harbour. If stayin’ high was the agenda, Kite Point on the bay is renowned for its perfect conditions for kiteboarding.

Kite Boarding, Malpeque, ocean, waves

Speak a little Mi’kmaq when I can
And then Cavendish, do the do-si-do

As an ally of the Mi’kmaq, Gallant would have enlightened Buffett to the Mi’kmaq name for Prince Edward Island – Abegweit (or Epekwitk in the original form), which means “cradled on the waves.” Together, they may have visited an Elder to learn more about the Mi’kmaq language and culture.

Two visitors learn to make a hand drum with a member of Lennox Island First Nation

 

When in Cavendish, perhaps they would have walked the beach of the PEI National Park or toured Green Gables Heritage Place. There’s a better chance of finding a ceilidh than a square dance in the area at Stanley Bridge. However, if Gallant was adamant, Buffett would probably find someone to teach him to do-si-do at the ceilidh in Rustico on a Saturday night.  

Group of six musicians perform on stage at Stanley Bridge Hall

 

Life is always better when you add a little island
A lot of oysters, love and wine

As Canada’s Food Island, there is no shortage of oysters, potatoes and hospitality. Beer and rum tend to flow faster at the local pubs, albeit Islanders are known to love sharing a bottle of wine when the occasion suits.

View of outdoor sign of Olde Dublin Pub with basicilla steeple in background

 

Maybe a pub on PEI with somebody singin' in Portuguese

According to the 2016 census, Prince Edward Island has only about 330 Portuguese residents. So, what are the odds that Buffett would meet one of them singing in a PEI pub? Pretty good. In fact, most visitors would attest that there seems to be only one degree of separation from anyone mentioned by name living on the Island.

On the sandbar, feel the ocean breeze
Right now, that sounds real good to me
I really like those possibilities

Exterior view of Gallant's Clover Farm Store, Rustico, PEI

 

If you too, like these possibilities of sandbars and ocean breezes, start planning your next trip to Prince Edward Island. When in Rustico, stop at Gallant’s Clover Farm to pick up Lennie Gallant’s latest album or artwork from his sister Karen Gallant. Tell them Jimmy sent you.

Portugal or PEI 

By Jimmy Buffett, Will Kimbrough and Lennie Gallant

I guess that I was born with that nomad gene
There's very little of this planet that I have not seen
Everybody's on a soapbox, influencers and phones
TikTok, Tommyrot 'round the clock but I'm still thinkin' Rolling Stones

So, where am I gonna go when the volcanos blow?
Everybody's askin' all the time
Contemplatin' Malpeque Bay or a beach bar near Sagres
I'm sure I'll find a way 'til then, I'll be in the conga line

A pub in Portugal or PEI, layin' low, stayin' high
I've got my good friends close and trouble far away
Music on a beach called "Singin' Sands"
No big deal, no master plan
We'll be all right, come Monday.

I'll hopscotch 'cross the ocean on friendly archipelagos
Where women sing to Gaia and the marijuana grows
I'm thinkin' garden of the gulf where the Portuguese fished long ago
Speak a little Mi’kmaq when I can
And then Cavendish
Do the do-si-do

Where am I gonna go when the volcanos blow?
Everybody's askin' all the time
Contemplatin' Malpeque Bay or a beach bar near Sagres
I'm sure I'll find a way 'til then, I'll be in the conga line

A pub in Portugal or PEI, layin' low, stayin' high
I've got my good friends close and trouble far away
Music on a beach called "Singin' Sands"
No big deal, no master plan
We'll be all right, come Monday.

Everybody's on a soapbox and there's way too many phones
Everybody's playin' TikTok, Tommyrot And I still love the Rolling Stones
Life is always better when you add a little island
A lot of oysters, love and wine.

Maybe a pub on PEI with somebody singin' in Portuguese
On the sandbar, feel the ocean breeze
Right now, that sounds real good to me
I really like those possibilities

'Til then, I'll be in the conga line (where'm I gonna go?)
'Til then, I'll be in the conga line (where'm I gonna go?)
'Til then, I'll be in the conga line (where'm I gonna go?)
'Til then, I'll be in the conga line (where'm I gonna go?)
Where'm I gonna go?