When she died in 2010 at the age of 63, Canadian singer/songwriter Kate McGarrigle wasn’t exactly a household word. But her influence is felt widely among many who practice the art of songcraft. She recorded 10 albums with her sister Anna McGarrigle, and her son Rufus Wainwright and daughter Martha Wainwright currently enjoy successful musical careers of their own. Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You documents a tribute concert for which McGarrigle’s extended family and friends gathered at New York City’s Town Hall. The film intercuts family interviews, photographs, and home movies to paint an impressionistic portrait of McGarrigle, an artist whose work still deserves to be known to a wider audience. Emmylou Harris, Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons) and talented newcomer Krystal Warren are among those interpreting songs from all phases of McGarrigle’s career, including several that were never recorded or even performed publicly. But it’s Martha Wainwright and especially Rufus Wainwright who carry the torch here, repeatedly matching their mother’s artistry with stirring performances that elevate the film above its sometimes too-somber setting.
Sing Me The Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert For Kate McGarrigle begins an exclusive one-week run today at Zeitgeist Movies.