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Kate & Anna McGarrigle

The music of Montreal-born songwriting sisters Kate & Anna McGarrigle first came to international recognition in 1974 when Linda Ronstadt recorded Anna's "Heart Like a Wheel" as the title song to one of her albums. The Canadian sisters were signed to Warner Bros. and recorded Kate & Anna McGarrigle, an album of deeply felt (sometimes deeply funny) songs with a homey, eclectic folk backing and tart, striking vocals. It was widely hailed. Its two follow-ups seemed rushed, though they contained some good songs. In 1981, the sisters (having left Warner) recorded French Record for Joe Boyd's Hannibal label, and it showed considerable charm. Love Over and Over, in 1982, marked a move toward rock that cheered fans but also turned out to be their last album for almost a decade.

In the meantime, they raised families -- Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III were the parents of Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright -- and ventured out every now and then to play a few rapturously received dates, especially in the Northeast. At one of these in the late '80s, they said they'd been working on a musical with producer Roma Baran. That project never came to fruition, but in 1990 they finally returned to the record racks with Heartbeats Accelerating. The McGarrigle Hour arrived in 1998, followed by The McGarrigle Christmas Hour in 2005.

The McGarrigle sisters' last performance together was at a Christmas season concert at London's Royal Albert Hall on December 9, 2009. Proceeds from the concert benefited the McGill University Health Center's Kate McGarrigle Fund, established to support McGill's cancer care and research programs in Montreal. Kate McGarrigle had been diagnosed with cancer in 2006, and died six weeks after the Royal Albert Hall concert at her home in Montreal on January 18, 2010, at the age of 63. Tell My Sister, a lovingly packaged three-disc tribute to Kate that compiled remastered versions of the sisters' self-titled debut album from 1976 and its follow-up, 1977's Dancer with Bruised Knees, along with a third disc of previously unreleased songs (including several solo and duo demos), appeared from Nonesuch Records in 2011. ~ William Ruhlmann & Steve Leggett, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

kate and anna mcgarrigle are incredible
beautiful songwriters and gorgeous music
timeless songs
kate's children are carrying on the tradition
its okay
fantastic music. Why is it not better known?
I love their music and their performances . My favourite musicians.
lehmanlucy
I was hooked on them from the first track I heard years ago. I didn't know that Rufus was Kate's son, but I loved his music too since I first saw him showcased. What a talented family!
Have loved them from the first time I heard them so, so many years ago....
Hey - don't know if anyone who sees this will be interested, but I have 2 tickets to A Celebration of Kate McGarrigle, Town Hall, NYC, 5/13/2011. Contact me if interested.
The highway goes on forever..... . . . . . . .
maurskel
Rest in peace, Kate. The gift of your music will live on,
trucksvc
So sorry to hear Kate just passed away at age 63 from cancer. Thanks, Kate, for your contribution s .
K & A are brilliant singers, songwriters and musicians. It's been wonderful having them in my life for the last 30 years, and I hope I have them for 30 more.
ihatespam3
GAZORTA OF REALITY!
Barnegat Blummis loves you McGarrigles! Yoooooo!!!!

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