Au Revoir, Kate

Kate McGarrigle, a rare and precious musical treasure, passed away on January 18. Cause of death was clear-cell sarcoma. She was 63. Upon being diagnosed in 2006, she set up the Kate McGarrigle Fund at the McGill University Health Centre. Her last public appearance, at the Not So Silent Night concert on December 9, 2009, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, accompanied by her son, Rufus, and daughter, Martha, raised $55,000 for the Fund. She and her sister Kate’s 1975 debut album is, as WNYC’s Jonathan Schwartz said in remembering Kate on his show, “One of the best albums ever made.”

The  obituaries have been written. The music remains. We remember Kate thusly, and with fondness. Our condolences to Martha, Rufus and a family that has given us so much lasting, meaningful music.

‘Hard Times Come Again No More’
Kate & Anna McGarrigle, with Kate’s son, Rufus Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, Karen Matheson, and Rod Paterson, performing Stephen Foster's ‘Hard Times Come Again No More” for The TransAtlantic Sessions.

‘Talk To Me of Mendocino’
Martha Wainwright, Kate McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, ‘Talk To Me of Mendocino,’ Radio City Music Hall, Feb. 14, 2008. ‘Thank you for inviting me into the world,’ Rufus says to his mother.

Kate & Anna McGarrigle, ‘Talk To Me of Mendocino,’ from the TransAtlantic Sessions

Kate & Anna McGarrigle, ‘Complainte Pour St. Catherine,’ 1981

Kate & Anna McGarrigle, ‘Heart Like a Wheel,’ Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY, 1990

Kate & Anna McGarrigle, with Rufus Wainwright, 1991, ‘Better Times Are Coming,’ by Stephen Foster

Kate & Anna McGarrigle, ‘Goin’ Back to Harlan,’ January 1996 on the CBC

Kate & Anna McGarrigle with Linda Ronstadt, 1999, ‘Gentle Annie,’ by Stephen Foster

Kate & Anna McGarrigle, ‘Petite Annonce Amoureuse, from La Vache Qui Pleure

Kate & Anna perform the beloved Canadian folk song, ‘Log Driver’s Waltz,’ as their contribution to the like-titled animated film from 1979, released by Canada’s National Film Board (NFB)

Final performance: ‘Proserpina’
Kate at Royal Albert Hall, December 9, 2009, performing a new song, ‘Proserpina,’ at the Not So Silent Night concert. It was Kate’s last show.

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
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Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024