MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Mike Kent at his home in Cape Broyle. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Hawkins.

Mike Kent at home in Cape Broyle. Courtesy of Carolyn Hawkins.

Mike Kent of Cape Broyle

Michael Kent was born at Cape Broyle on November 23, 1904, the eldest son of Rose and John Kent. When he was ten years old, he went fishing with his father in a dory. In 1940, Mike went to Scotland to work with the forestry unit. He also worked at the American military base in St. John's and Goose Bay. His last job was in LaManche Provincial Park. He married Ester Mackey in November 1948. Some time after that they bought the house in the meadow next to Jim and Matilda Rice. Mike and Essie lived in this house, which had originally been owned by Mary Whalen and family (who also sang for Leach), until their deaths.

Mike loved good times and was a great entertainer. He sang, danced, played harmonica and recited. He claimed he knew 300 songs. One of his favourites was "The Tree on the Hill," and his most memorable character performance was of Tim Finnegan in Finnegan's Wake. Mike performed this at local concerts.

Mike was an extraordinary individual whose unforgettable character was known all along the Southern Shore. Stories about him abound. (Biography by Carolyn Hawkins.)

Mike was also recorded by Peacock in 1951 and 1952. He was Leach's most prolific source in Cape Broyle, recording many songs and four harmonica tunes. He was also the neighbor of Jim Rice, another prolific singer who worked with both Leach and Peacock.

Mike Kent's house in Cape Broyle.

Mike Kent's house in Cape Broyle: photo courtesy of Anna Guigne.