memory march

Posted May 31st, 2016 by Anna

two things served to jog my memory today: may 31 is the 51st anniversary of my father’s death and a facebook friend posted a pic of her family at weirs beach, n.h.

in mid-june 1965, a couple of weeks after my father’s funeral, peter weldon and peter ryerson, both motorcycle enthusiasts, were going to laconia, n.h. to take in the annual motorcycle rally on beautiful lake winnapesaukee. did i want to go? i didn’t think it was proper for me to go off so soon after my father dying but my mother encouraged me to take the trip. life is short, enjoy yourself, she said. the three of us drove down in the weldon family car, maybe because i was along, and we pitched a tent in a campground on the outskirts of town. the following morning i was up early. as I remember I was sitting smoking a cigarette at a picnic table waiting for the two peters to wake when this big dude on a throaty harley rode up and asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. the early bird gets the worm. i didn’t hesitate for a moment and hopped on the seat behind him putting my arms around his foreign waist. we exchanged names before driving off through the fresh green countryside on well-paved american roads. the landscape is hilly around there and the ride was liberating. we must have been gone for a couple of hours because when we returned to the campground my friends who had naturally assumed that i’d been abducted were attempting to organize a search party. now they were aghast and just plain angry to see me astride the throbbing bike with a total stranger, and a menacing-looking one as i remember. i got a real talking-to, “are you crazy? what the hell were you thinking?’..something not very nice about strange men and much like a talking-to my father would have given me had he still been alive. later that day the motorcycle event and festivities on weirs beach degenerated into a full-on riot, at the time rumoured to be have been started by the hell’s angels (and later confirmed as such) and the national guard had to be called in. the two peters and i were caught in the melee down on weirs beach and had to take cover under a flatbed trailer to escape being hit by either rock salt, or tear gas, or bullets. what restraint the cops and guards showed. all of it was thrilling if a bit on the scary side. if that were to happen today, all sides would be armed and there’d be a bloodbath WEIRS BEACH MOTORCYCLE RIOT 1965


Sat april 23 7 pm Centretown United Church Ottawa Ont

Posted April 18th, 2016 by Anna

Jane and Anna read from MOUNTAIN CITY GIRLS and perform a couple of songs

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Tonight, Sat. April 9 – 8 p.m. at the Morrin Centre, Quebec City

Posted April 9th, 2016 by Anna

We’re doing a reading here this evening along with a couple of Kate’s songs. See you there and vice versa. It won’t just be your imagination.
Jane and Anna at the Morrin Centre in beautiful Quebec City

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Email from a fan. Warning: it involves cats.

Posted January 27th, 2016 by Anna

Subject: Heart Like a Wheel – cat siren song

Many years ago I attended one of your concerts in the Washington DC area. At home later that night I began singing ‘Heart Like a Wheel.’ My Siamese cat at the time, Esperanza, came running to me immediately and did so every time I sang it until the day she died. I’ve had three other cats since then, and each one has reacted the same way to the song. They’ve come running, sometimes it seems almost against their will. I believe it’s a sort of universal siren song for cats, and I’ve often wondered if anyone else has noticed this phenomenon.

Crazy cat lady in Asheville, NC.

(Anna: pic is of daughter Lily and my neighbour’s cat)


Jörn’s big haircut Feb 4 2016

Posted January 18th, 2016 by Anna

If you can give something, great. It will be much appreciated. We know times are tough.To donate to Jörn’s fundraiser for cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital Toronto



Posted January 18th, 2016 by Anna

Kate, McGill graduation 1970

Gone 6 years but to me it still feels like 1970 when you graduated from McGill and made Gaby so proud. I snapped you with the old Kodak 1-A bellows camera I’d bought in a junk store. Sorry I didn’t get all of the mitre board in the frame. Love you always.


Mountain City Girls – vignettes

Posted November 25th, 2015 by Anna

Jane reads “Saint-Sauveur Today,” a passage from Mountain City Girls, the first of the vignettes made by Lily, Sylvan and Kathleen.


Wade Hemsworth – CBC’s Rewind with Michael Enright

Posted October 28th, 2015 by Anna

Dane told me about this show on Wade that the CBC aired twice last week. Luckily it’s archived. SONGS OF WADE HEMSWORTH consists of old interviews with Wade, and some with Kate and me, intercut with live and recorded versions of Wade songs, many of them sung by the two of us along with Peter Weldon, Chaim Tannenbaum, Pat Donaldson and Dane Lanken. There’s a particularly nice version of The Wild Goose which follows Land of the Muskeag (which my daughter Lily reminds me is what the tarsands oil extraction is destroying) and yet another take on The Log Driver’s Waltz, these last three from 1977, and Ye Girls of Old Ontario, a very nice cut from Songs of the Canadian Northwoods, Wade’s Folkways recording made before Kate and I met him. His voice, rich and robust on this one. I don’t ever remember hearing any of these live studio versions. In Jane’s and my book, Mountain City Girls/Random House Canada, which appears Nov 10, I mention us meeting Wade and Shirley Singer, his folk-singing- girlfriend at the time, at the Finjan over the old Arena Bakery on Victoria Ave. in Snowdon.

P.S. Both Log Driver’s Waltz (different version than one heard in this radio show and the one in the NFB film) and My Mother Is the Ocean Sea are available on Odditties, vignette for it is at top right.

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Mountain City Girls – available Nov 10 2015

Posted October 13th, 2015 by Anna


Try as I may to get this image centered it refuses to budge. I always did lean a little to the left but not this much..In the fall of 2012, after Jane added extra leaves to her dining table making room for me, the two of us began to write a family memoir. For two and a half years we conjured up the sad and happy past, warmed by the gas fireplace in my sister’s dark cosy living-room, missing one deadline because we couldn’t let go of the past. We wondered whether the book would ever see the light of day. Well, the day is upon us. We hope people will like it.

Mountain City Girls Facebook page. Open to all. You don’t have to join, though Facebook is a known cookie monster. There are reviews of the book there with links to radio and tv interviews, and old photographs.

For those who don’t do Facebook, attention: Campbell Hendery and Edward Snowden, here are a couple of nice reviews..’overflows with wit and warmth!!!!!’ So far, they’ve all been favorable! The book is an easy read. You can open MCG anywhere and start reading it, like the I Ching. But as the RBC teller once told Jane when she was changing US money to Canadian ‘we dont bodder wit coins.’





Jack Nissenson r.i.p.

Posted June 25th, 2015 by Anna

Very sad news about our old friend and musical colleague of many years. Jack was a founding member of the Mountain City Four (MC4) along with Peter Weldon and Kate and Anna McGarrigle.

The Mountain City Four 1964 by Brian Merrett,

A rare pic of the group at the Montreal Folk Workshop on Ave du Parc in 1964, taken by Brian Merrett,


© 2015 Kate & Anna McGarrigle, All rights reserved.