Kate McGarrigle at the 2008 Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame gala
|Born||February 6, 1946
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Died||January 18, 2010 (aged 63)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Instruments||Accordion, guitar, piano, vocals|
|Associated acts||Anna McGarrigle, Loudon Wainwright III, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Wade Hemsworth, Mountain City Four|
Born in Montreal, Quebec to English and French Canadian parents, the three McGarrigle sisters (Jane, Anna, and Kate, the youngest) grew up in the village of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, north of Montreal. Their family was a musical one on both sides, often gathering around the piano and singing, allowing Kate and her sisters to absorb influences as varied as Gershwin, French Canadian folk songs, Stephen Foster, and composer-singers such as Wade Hemsworth, and Edith Piaf. The sisters were formally introduced to music by taking piano lessons from the village nuns. In the 1960s Kate and Anna established themselves in Montreal's burgeoning folk scene while they attended school. Anna, 14 months older than Kate, studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts (now part of the Université du Québec à Montréal) in Montreal; Kate studied engineering at McGill University. It was at this time that they began writing songs. Although she sang mostly in English, according to Juan Rodriguez, she and Anna "put Québécois folk music...on the global music map in 1980 [sic] with Entre la jeunesse et la sagesse (commonly known as the French Record) and 2003's La vache qui pleure.
The McGarrigle sisters' life has been chronicled in Dane Lanken's Kate and Anna McGarrigle: Songs and Stories (2007).
Kate and Anna's 1975 self-titled debut album was chosen by Melody Maker as Best Record of the Year. Their albums Matapedia (1997) and The McGarrigle Hour (1999) won Juno Awards. In 1999 Kate and Anna received Women of Originality awards and in 2006 SOCAN Lifetime Achievement awards. In 1993 she was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
McGarrigle was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and established the Kate McGarrigle Fund at the McGill University Health Centre, which she set up in 2008 to raise awareness of sarcoma, a rare cancer that affects connective tissue such as bone, muscle, nerves and cartilage.
She made her last public appearance, with Rufus and Martha Wainwright, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, just six weeks before her death. The show raised $55,000 for the Kate McGarrigle Fund.
Kate McGarrigle ( February 6, 1946, in Montreal, Canada - January 18, 2010) was a Canadian singer-songwriter famous for her emotional songs written in the folk style. With her sister Anna McGarrigle, she had success in the 1970's where they were well known for their harmony singing. Some of the McGarrigles songs became hits for singers such as Linda Ronstadt and Maria Muldaur. Kate married singer Loudon Wainwright III and had two children, singers Martha Wainwright and Rufus Wainwright.