McGarrigle laid to rest

Rufus and Martha Wainwright both sang Monday at a funeral celebrating the life of their mother, renowned folk artist Kate McGarrigle.

Rufus Wainwright holds an album with a picture of his mother

Rufus Wainwright holds an album with a picture of his mother

MONTREAL — Rufus and Martha Wainwright both sang Monday at a funeral celebrating the life of their mother, renowned folk artist Kate McGarrigle.

“I will miss her smile, I will miss her hands,” Rufus Wainwright told the congregation of about 500 gathered at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica.

“I will miss her reckless humour.”

Martha Wainwright led a chorus of McGarrigle’s last song, Proserpina, and said she would always carry her mother in her thoughts and her heart.

Emmylou Harris, who covered McGarrigle’s music, also performed at the two-hour service in honour of the singer, who died two weeks ago after a battle with cancer at age 63.

McGarrigle and her sister, Anna, became known as the McGarrigle Sisters and began their careers performing at Montreal coffeehouses in the 1960s with a group called the Mountain City Four.

Their first album, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, was released in 1975 to critical acclaim.

Some of their most well-known tunes included The Work Song, Cool River and Lying Song.

But they were perhaps best-known to Canadians for their distinctive rendition of Wade Hemsworth’s The Log Driver’s Waltz which was featured in a 1979 animated short done by the National Film Board.

In addition to Harris, other artists who covered McGarrigle’s songs included Linda Ronstadt, Judy Collins, Elvis Costello and Billy Bragg.

While music played a prominent role in the funeral, Kate McGarrigle’s personal qualities as a person and a mother were highlighted by speaker after speaker.

Rufus Wainwright said his mother was fearless about zeroing in on the truth of a situation and stating it.