Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Folkobit: Kate McGarrigle

Kate McGarrigle, folk singer, has died.

Kate's journey to folk music was a twisted one - she studied engineering at McGill University, while the sisters were taught music originally by local nuns. McGarrigle married Loudon Wainwright III - a marriage which ended in disappointment. It did, however, bring two children, both who have followed their parents into making unexpected-but-powerful music just off the mainstream.

Kate And Annie McGarrigle's first, self-titled album, came in 1975 - they'd started making music together in New York, where Kate and Loudon had almost-settled following the birth of Rufus. The sisters performed their hearts out in New York, but it was the songs they started to circulate to other artists which would land them a record deal. Warners were impressed with a track they'd written which had been picked up by Linda Rondstadt and offered a recording contract.

Between 1975 and 1982 the pair released a series of albums, but - never ones obsessed with the demands of the music industry - their workrate slowed a lot after this; each occasional album welcomed and a thing of beauty, but starting another long wait for the follow-up. Their last, The McGarrigle Christmas Hour, came out for the 2005 holidays.

Kate McGarrigle has been living with cancer for a number of years; it finally claimed her life yesterday. Kate McGarrigle was 63.

This is Kate and Annie McGarrigle (and friends) covering Hard Times Come Again No More:


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