NEWS

Music of Kate McGarrigle celebrated at Toronto tribute

06/14/2012 05:52 EDT | Updated 08/14/2012 05:12 EDT

A tribute to the music of Kate McGarrigle set to roll out Friday in Toronto has pulled together artists she knew in her early years, such as Emmylou Harris and Bruce Cockburn, with new collaborators such as artists from Broken Social Scene.

Love Over and Over, part of the Luminato festival in Toronto, celebrates the music of sisters Kate and Anna McGarrigle, a folk duo who helped revive traditional French and English music in the 1960s and 1970s.

Kate McGarrigle died in January 2010 after a battle with cancer. Earlier tribute concerts have been held in London and New York.

Her family, including singer-songwriter Rufus, has been involved in organizing Friday’s concert as a way of preserving her legacy.

Anna McGarrigle told Canadian Press her sister would have liked more notoriety, but wanted to devote time to her family.

"In some ways, I think she wished she had made more of an impact," Anna McGarrigle said.

"I'm not the first one to say it — my sister was a genius," she added. "She was really original and a wonderful musician and a great songwriter.”

McGarrigle's songs include Cool River, Heart Like A Wheel, Love Over and Over and Talk to Me of Mendocino.

Luminato’s music curator Derek Andrews said the McGarrigles were an obvious choice for the festival’s annual tribute to the music of a single artist – past tributes have honoured Leonard Cohen and Bruce Cockburn.

“The McGarrigles are iconic figures in Canadian folk music, important because they had Scottish and francophone backgrounds, and their songwriting reflected those traditions and those traditions were made contemporary with the approach that they took,” Andrews said.

“Now it’s been recognized all over the world and their songs have been covered by artists of stature, including Emmylou Harris and others.”

The artists lined up to perform McGarrigle songs at Massey Hall Friday night include singer-songwriter Jane Siberry, Peggy Seeger, Robert Charlebois and Broken Social Scene’s Amy Millan, Kevin Drew, Andrew Whiteman and Ariel Engle.

McGarrigle’s longtime band and her extended musical family, including children Rufus and Martha Wainwright are also to perform.

His mother’s death was a seismic change in Rufus Wainwright’s life, he told CBC News.

“It's been a whopper of a five-year plan here in terms of mother's death and birth of my daughter and having written an opera and I'm engaged to my beautiful fiancé Jorn Weisbrodt [artistic director of Luminato]," he said.

Preparing the show with his sister, Martha Wainwright, has been an “amazing experience,” Wainwright said.

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