Kate McGarrigle, the outstanding singer and songwriter whose gentleness was an enduring feature of her folk music for over three decades, lost her longtime battle with cancer, she was 63.
Known for her partnership with her younger sister Anna, they were noteworthy for their melancholy songs and tender harmonies. Although they may have viewed themselves as "accidental" recording artists, it was clear from the start that the pair were unique talents. They were raised in Quebec's Mountains and they were originally introduced to French cabaret songs, folk music and jazzy standards as children, their family very frequently had cozy group sing-along’s around the piano. Kate and Anna honed their own piano skills at the elbows of nuns; later, they would make a career out of performing a fresh variation on the homey, honest music of their youth in folk clubs and on recordings. Becoming unlikely stars in the mid 70s, and despite their infrequent tours (due to raising families), their popularity never wavered.
Recently, Kate's fame has been that of a mother to major stars Rufus and Martha Wainwright, her children with the singer Loudon Wainwright III. Kate took great pride in the success of both Rufus and Martha, regularly joining them both on stage. She accompanied Rufus on piano in his two Judy Garland tribute shows at New York's Carnegie Hall in 2006.
She was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma in 2007, and founded the Kate McGarrigle Fund cancer charity in 2008. She remained characteristically warm, funny and resolute to the end.
Please enjoy Kate and Anna McGarrigle performance of "Gentle Annie". RIP Anna.