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Folks Singer Kate McGarrigle Dead at 63
January 19, 2010 5:48 AM   Subscribe

Folk singer Kate McGarrigle succumbs to cancer. Perhaps best known for her work with sister Anna, Kate was also the mother of performers Martha Wainwright and Rufus Wainwright. Kate and Anna's music was covered by more popular (in the US) performers, such as Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, and others. My favorite thing they did is "The Log Drivers Waltz", available as a video from the National Film Board of Canada. It always takes me back to my mother's house in the Canada. The McGarrigle website has lots of news, information, and links on the performers.
posted by paddbear (82 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by RussHy at 5:52 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by Thorzdad at 5:59 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by grabbingsand at 6:05 AM on January 19, 2010


Oh, no. I've heard Rufus & his mom perform together (at least on the radio) and it's clear that they loved one another. I think the Morning Becomes Eclectic piece is this one - clicky - they sound so good together.

RIP Kate. You were beautiful, and your children are beautiful.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:07 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by Bromius at 6:08 AM on January 19, 2010


Oh no
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posted by Flashman at 6:08 AM on January 19, 2010


"For he goes burling down and down white water, that's where the log driver learns to step lightly..." Man, this going to be in my head for days - heck, it's been in my head for years.

I remember watching CBC as a kid and hoping this video would come on every time there was a commercial break. I'll admit, I still don't really know much about the McGarrigle sisters, but I do know that the Log Driver's Waltz made my Canadian childhood even more awesome.

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posted by futureisunwritten at 6:11 AM on January 19, 2010


I'm also back at mom's house, sad to hear this news.

Anyone more expert on their work than I am:

One of their most moving songs was in French, and all I remember is that one of the lines (in English translation) mentioned something about bones dug up or buried or something like that... would love to listen to it again, anyone know the one I am talking about?
posted by Meatbomb at 6:14 AM on January 19, 2010


How sad; loved her work.
posted by Abiezer at 6:16 AM on January 19, 2010


This one, is my favorite.

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posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:27 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by runningdogofcapitalism at 6:33 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by Shepherd at 6:36 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by omnidrew at 6:40 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by saucysault at 6:45 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by jeanmari at 6:47 AM on January 19, 2010


wow. such incredible talent! and then to find out a few years back that she's the mother of rufus & martha? genes like that should never die, let alone succumb to cancer.
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posted by msconduct at 6:51 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by briank at 6:56 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by Halloween Jack at 6:59 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by Joe Beese at 7:01 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by bru at 7:05 AM on January 19, 2010


Holy crap. I didn't even know she was sick. This is so terrible.
posted by mykescipark at 7:06 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by quarterframer at 7:07 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by oulipian at 7:10 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by kittyprecious at 7:10 AM on January 19, 2010


My favourite
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:12 AM on January 19, 2010


She had been sick for several years and I had the impression that this had not been easy for her. Wikipedia says 2006, and that sort of jibes with my memory.

The McGarrigles did a bunch of Christmas concerts through the mid 2000, with the whole family, Loudon Wainwright, Martha and Rufus' father, sometimes included. Even though this was on the largest stage in Ottawa, it still managed to feel like a kitchen party. They are all, even Rufus, very much regular folks. Even then though it was obvious that Kate was making a real effort to just be there.

They're an amazingly talented family, mothers, fathers and children. Clearly a close and tight family as well. I'm certain that she will be missed, very much.
posted by bonehead at 7:13 AM on January 19, 2010


(The sisters themselves sing this one).
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:14 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by ManInSuit at 7:22 AM on January 19, 2010


Meatbomb - I'm not sure which song it would be (the track names don't provide any obvious clues) but you're probably looking for a song off one of the sisters' French-language CDs: Entre la Jeunesse et la Sagesse, or La Vache Qui Pleure. Previews of those should put you on the right track.
posted by Shepherd at 7:23 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by cookie-k at 7:25 AM on January 19, 2010


oh no.

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posted by kalimac at 7:26 AM on January 19, 2010


Having a sibling to harmonize with is such a beautiful, life-long gift. This is very sad news.

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posted by readery at 7:31 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by mike3k at 7:32 AM on January 19, 2010


.

I remember watching CBC as a kid and hoping this video would come on every time there was a commercial break.

Me too. "The Log Driver's Waltz" was this great random magical glimpse of some parallel universe of fluid, flawless motion. It's probably only in retrospect I'm thinking it made the assembly-line '70s cartoons surrounding it look like shit. Anyway, this is probably as good a place as any for a quick eulogy for a time when "commercial" breaks on the CBC consisted of brilliant National Film Board animation set to McGarrigle sisters soundtracks.

Yes, also Hinterland Who's Who and Participaction PSAs, but still: .
posted by gompa at 7:39 AM on January 19, 2010


Oh man that's really too bad.
The first time I saw Rufus, probably 8-10 years ago at Lee's Palace here in Toronto, he brought her up on stage and they sang a few songs together with her at the piano; I remember "What'll I Do" being one of them. But the best thing was when the show was over, after we milled around and drank too much and the bar was finally shutting down, we walked out onto the street and Kate and Rufus and Martha and various other family members were standing on the sidewalk in front of their bus, waiting to leave. They were just kind of talking and joking but then someone starting singing some old folk song and when they all joined in it turned into this beautiful family Wainwright/McGarrigle singalong in a circle on the Bloor Street sidewalk at 2am. It was like this überCanadian moment and it made me want to be in their family.
posted by chococat at 7:51 AM on January 19, 2010 [15 favorites]


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posted by bakerina at 7:55 AM on January 19, 2010




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posted by Badmichelle at 8:05 AM on January 19, 2010


So sorry to hear this.
posted by Miko at 8:09 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by ottereroticist at 8:12 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:27 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by eustacescrubb at 8:33 AM on January 19, 2010


Early Saturday morning, pitch-black freezing cold outside, strangely-branded cereal, and Ms. McGarrigle.

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posted by aramaic at 8:50 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by Danf at 8:52 AM on January 19, 2010


Happy and surprised to see so many people knew and loved Kate McGarrigle.

I didn't know her but I knew her kids a little bit a few years ago when both were getting their start here in Montreal, and I remember one night meeting and chatting with Kate at the back of the (then-Bistro 4, now it's Laika) on the Main. Even in that short chat - during which I was (surprisingly to me) a little star-struck and she was probably anxious that Rufus to perform well it, was clear that she was a delightful person.

So...

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posted by mikel at 8:57 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by elsietheeel at 9:10 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by SarahElizaP at 9:16 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by Bartonius at 9:25 AM on January 19, 2010


Little Houses
posted by CynicalKnight at 9:29 AM on January 19, 2010


Complainte Pour Ste Catherine.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:43 AM on January 19, 2010


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Kitty Come Home
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 9:55 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


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posted by Marquis at 10:09 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:14 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


She/they, were/are marvelous. Brave songwriters.
posted by Faze at 10:14 AM on January 19, 2010


       O
      /|\
      / )
...o.o.o.o.o.o.o.... .

posted by benzenedream at 10:24 AM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just now the CBC played Kate and Anna's "Heart Like A Wheel" in her memory...which is how I found out she had passed away. I didn't realize she had been so ill. Lovely song, sad news.

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posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:26 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by ahimsakid at 10:27 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by languagehat at 10:34 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by badrolemodel at 10:41 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by GuyZero at 10:43 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by jpziller at 10:47 AM on January 19, 2010


If I could shape a period like a teardrop.

Her hair was dyed black, and she was bending down...
posted by bicyclefish at 10:54 AM on January 19, 2010



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posted by joannemerriam at 11:36 AM on January 19, 2010


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posted by fourcheesemac at 11:43 AM on January 19, 2010




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posted by KingEdRa at 12:11 PM on January 19, 2010


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posted by drhydro at 12:18 PM on January 19, 2010




The Log Driver's Waltz

My parents played their records all the time when I was a kid, and I still know all the words even though I haven't heard them in years.

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posted by bewilderbeast at 12:28 PM on January 19, 2010


I always loved when the Log Driver's Waltz came on CBC when I was a kid. I still love it. Is it just me or do they no longer play it in commercial breaks? It's the sort of thing that should be brought back, along with lots more Canadian Heritage minutes and Hinterland Who's Who. Ought to be at least one every half hour on CBC.

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posted by Dasein at 12:45 PM on January 19, 2010


Hardly a week goes by that I do not hear, in my head, snatches of Naufragee Du Tendre (Shipwrecked) or Be My Baby or Kitty Come Home , from the McGarrigle Sisters' second album, Dancer With Bruised Knees. That was a wonderful record.
posted by y2karl at 12:56 PM on January 19, 2010


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posted by fleetmouse at 1:17 PM on January 19, 2010


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posted by madamjujujive at 2:43 PM on January 19, 2010


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posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 3:41 PM on January 19, 2010


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posted by louche mustachio at 3:51 PM on January 19, 2010


Rufus Wainwright's comment linked above is odd in that he starts with

"When inevitably I read today in the papers that my mother lost her battle with cancer last night".
posted by Rumple at 6:02 PM on January 19, 2010


the tears are welling in my eyes again
i need twenty big buckets to catch them in
twenty pretty girls to carry them down
and twenty deep holes to bury them in*

* kate & anna guesting on nick cave's "hallelujah" (no, not that one)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:41 PM on January 19, 2010


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posted by desuetude at 7:24 PM on January 19, 2010


The McGarrigles appear in another National Film Board of Canada animated short, for which they arranged and sang background (also appearing briefly as the titular insects): Blackfly.

Not sure what else to say, but Kate and Anna provided me with so much wonderful music.
posted by myopicman at 11:50 PM on January 19, 2010


"For he goes burling down and down white water, that's where the log driver learns to step lightly..."

I'm reading Out Stealing Horses (fabulous) and thought of this during a chapter where a character falls off the logs... just beautiful.

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posted by ameliajayne at 1:17 PM on January 20, 2010


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posted by OneOliveShort at 4:43 PM on January 20, 2010


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