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b : February 6, 1946, Montréal, Canada
d : January 18, 2010, Montréal, Canada
Canadian multi-instrumentalist folk musician, singer-songwriter. She had much success in the mid 70s to early 1980s in the popular duo with her sister [a=Anna McGarrigle].
Her music mixed the Gallic styles of her roots in French-Canadian folk music with bluegrass and country. The use of the accordion is particularly distinctive in her work, but she was also an accomplished pianist and banjo player.
In the late 1960s Kate toured the North-Eastern US on the folk club circuit in a duo with Roma Baran. After marrying Loudon Wainwright III she went busking in London with him, before returning to settle in New York state.
She began circulating tapes around Greenwich Village, of herself and Anna performing. This attracted songwriting credits for names such as Linda Ronstadt and Maria Muldaur, raising the profile of the sisters and garnering them a recording deal with Warner Brothers.
She was made a Member of the Order Of Canada in 1994.
In 2006 she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called sarcoma. Two years later she set up The Kate McGarrigle Fund to assist in raising awareness of this condition, which raises money through donations from concerts by her friends and relatives.
She was the mother of [a=Martha Wainwright] and [a=Rufus Wainwright] who were children from her marriage to [a=Loudon Wainwright III].