This Summer

Posted September 10th, 2010 by Anna

The Celebration of Kate McGarrigle at London’s Southbank in June was a smash hit. We saw ✰s. 5 ✰ reviews. The musical guests were all extraordinary and with Kate’s wonderful songs how could it miss. Richard Thompson proposed the evening in his capacity as curator of this past Summer’s Meltdown Festival and Joe Boyd put the talent together. A wonderful team. There’s talk of another Kate tribute in NYC in the Spring of 2011.

That night, Martha sang ‘I Am a Diamond’, a song that Kate, Jane and I wrote for a musical that never did get produced, and which Kate often did in concert. Martha’s touching performance rekindled interest in this project which is very exciting.

Then it was the opening of Rufus’s very first opera, Prima Donna, at Toronto’s Luminato Festival. The venue was the beautifully restored Elgin Theatre. I hadn’t seen PD before though I’d heard it as it was being composed over the last couple of years. Prima Donna blew me away. It’s a new traditional opera and it’s very very good. I was in tears at the end. Then, Rufus followed this up with his very dramatic solo performance of the songs from All Days are Nights with stark visuals of his heavily-kohled eye (a little more than the Taliban usually apply), opening and closing, opening and closing.

A little while later Martha blew (blowy blog) through town with the Piaf show, Sans fusils, ni souliers, à Paris, her great little combo of Brad, Thomas and Doug augmented by strings, horns and a large choir. The showstopper that evening was a lightly rehearsed version of Les trois cloches that la Môme and les Compagnons de la chanson made famous in the 50s. We still have the old Piaf 78 rpm of it at Gardencourt, badly cracked from years of love and abuse. Martha did her last Piaf show at the Outremont in Montreal last night. We were all able to walk to the gig. Kate always did want to own a theatre. The Mittenstrings: Lily, Sylvan and Kathleen W. did a very nice opener (and play again tomorrow night at the Yellow Door 9/11.) Martha was in top form throughout the Piaf plus we got to hear a couple of her new songs, one which dazed old Naan called 4 Black Sheep in the Night, about driving to a gig in blinding snow (a few years back) They were on their way to the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield Qc, an old logging town on the dark Gatineau River. This reminds me that Kate brought home 2 freshly shorn sheepkins from West Yorkshire last year. She had gone to the debut of Prima Donna at the Manchester Opera Festival. I ♡ ewe.

Two weeks ago, Rufus invited Janie, Lily and me to join him for The Last Song of Summer, his annual fundraiser for Robert Wilson’s Watermill Foundation in the Hamptons, now in its 3rd year. Kate was his inspiration for this event and she made it to the first 2. Janie accompanied Rufus on Over the Rainbow and we all sang back-up for Rufus and his special guests, Kylie Minogue and Krystle Warren. I wondered if the fact that both their names started with a K affected his choice. It was a lot of fun to sing on Kylie’s dance hits and Rufus sounded amazing in his high register on these songs. He’s got to make a dance recording. And write another opera.

Last year, Kate and I started to assemble some of our unreleased songs (versions in our possession that had not been available commercially) into various compilations. The first of these ‘Odditties’ has now been uploaded to itunes (on the querbeservice etiquette) through the miracle of Tunecore, the indie label’s friend. It should be ‘live’ within the next couple of days. It was in late 2008 that Kate started the querbeservice label, a play on words using her street name Querbes, (s is silent) in lieu of curb, an expression that used to denote fastfood served to your car but now has a more sexual connotation and in this case it’s music served up in your car or wherever you want it. Bon appétit.

Odditties is: a few Stephen Foster songs (but not the versions that are already out on cd), a couple of Wade Hemsworth tunes including Log Driver’s Waltz (different from the animated film), some vintage Kate and Anna, a lullaby for a doll, a studio version of a Cajun tune we used to do live, a very old live version of A La Claire Fontaine from 1976, plus an early 70s living-room demo about a lost cat. The music goes on.

7 Responses:

  1. Onésime says:

    September 10th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Bien des nouvelles. Ca vaut plus que la paine d’acheter des toons mentionée la d’sus.
    Salut de Murdochville.

  2. Rob Smyth says:

    September 11th, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Would love to be able to hear Odditties but not everyone’s got access to itunes! Can you make a download CD buyable for those of us who want mp3s we can burn to CD on Windows Media Player?

  3. jane says:

    September 12th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    It has been so quiet during your summer…up dates keep us positive that the music of your clan is never ending!
    Just wanted to share this….my daughter is a huge Kylie fan and we have shared her concert extravaganza a couple of times in Sydney! Imagine how incredibly excited she was to be the first to tell me that Kylie and Rufus were to be performing on the same stage and then imagine the pressure she put me under to somehow get us over there to be a part of it all!
    Well, we didn’t make it over but we have watched many clips and it looks like it was the best day! lot’s of joy and love and of course great music.
    I’m pleased that my daughter now loves Rufus as well and we’re so looking forward to seeing him at the Opera House in Sydney very soon!
    now I’m going to download Oddities, cheers to you

  4. Gregg Osborn says:

    September 28th, 2010 at 3:49 am

    Glad to learn of the release of “Oddities.” Your ’90 collection “Heartbeats Accelerating” was my first CD purchase; you are keeping me technologically on my toes. Conversely, that “The McGarrigle Hour” is now offered on (double!)LP brings balance to my little world.

    To whom shall we direct our inquiries re. the hinted-at 2011 celebration in NYC? Joe Boyd is visiting Seattle tonight for a reading, shall I ask him? I’ll say hi for you.

  5. Ries Kleijnen says:

    November 18th, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Years ago we went to a concert from Kate and Ann Mc. Carrigle in “De Doelen” in Rotterdam, I like their music soo much,(in that time I listened nearly every day to their music when I was working in my atelier),I made two etchings and gave them both one: Dancer with bruised knees”, and ,”Bundle of sorrow, bundle of joy”. They both enjoyed making music so much and I see Kate sitting behind the piano so young and happy and I can’t imagine that she died so young.
    Tonight I go to the concert from Rufus Wrainwright in The Hague and I’m so glad for her that they had so much psychic affinity together!

  6. Ries Kleijnen says:

    December 9th, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Thank you for responding my words. We enjoyed SO MUCH the concert from Rufus Wrainwright in the Schouwburg in The Hague, he’s such a great talent
    The beginning of the concert was like a recital,it was if he was all alone in himself. The last part of the concert he was so intens and gay and he opened himself for the public. Now I listen to his music and try to remember his beautifull texts, and music,everything is in it! Say goodbye to Ann she’ll miss her sister so much,they did so many things together!
    I hope to hear many beautifull music more from your family.Thank you very much.
    Ries Kleijnen (Where can I get your music in Holland?)

  7. Anna says:

    December 14th, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    It looks like the NYC tribute to Kate is May 11-12 (or is it 10-11?) at the Beacon. It will be announced in the new year.

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