Acclaimed singer/songwriters Kate and Anna McGarrigle come to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


pr_Kate and Anna McGarrigleCanadian singer/songwriters Kate and Anna McGarrigle bring their unique blend of harmony, charm and originality to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Saturday, March 20, at 8 p.m.

The McGarrigle sisters have an international following, having recorded and toured extensively in North America, Europe and Asia. Their albums have consistently earned high praise from Melody Maker, The New York Times, Stereo Review and other respected publications and Linda Ronstadt, Judy Collins, Emmylou Harris and Nana Mouskouri are among the talented fans who've embraced and recorded their uncommon songs.

"Every McGarrigles song is its own complex world. Like the explosion of frost on a winter window," wrote a reviewer for Entertainment Weekly.

Born in Montreal and raised in the mountain village of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, Quebec, the McGarrigle sisters took to music at an early age when they started piano lessons with the village nuns. The family often spent evenings singing around the living room piano and the McGarrigle girls gained plenty of early performing experience with relatives and friends.

By the 1960s, they'd gone their separate ways: Kate studied engineering at McGill University and Anna took up painting at L'Ecole des Beaux-Arts, both in Montreal. But they maintained their love of performing as part of the city's bustling folk music scene, singing and composing songs for appreciative audiences.

As established artists began to take note of the sisters' delightful harmonies, the pair recorded 1976's "Kate and Anna McGarrigle," earning international praise and putting engineering and painting on the back burner.

Other albums followed, including "Dancer with Bruised Knees" and the all-French "Pronto Monto," and the duo enjoyed critical acclaim for the way their lilting voices captured their intelligent and memorable lyrics.

"Had Emily Dickenson been a late-20th century songwriter, this might be just the sort of piece she would have written," The New York Times said of Kate's 1990 song "I Eat Dinner."

As performers, the McGarrigles are not known for resting on their laurels. The duo has played concerts and festivals in all parts of Canada and the United States, England, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. They headlined the famed Newport Folk Festival in 1992 and returned to Great Britain in 1993 for a string of sold-out shows.

"They caused us to sigh and settle with pleasure as they sang," wrote one satisfied critic of the tour.

In the mid-1990s, the McGarrigles recorded with Harris, appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live, and joined Joan Baez for her live recording of "Ring Them Bells." They participated in a series of concerts celebrating the works of the renowned American music collector Harry Smith, performing with an eclectic group of musicians, including Brian Ferry, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker and Lou Reed.

In 2002, the sisters opened the Newport Folk Festival, joined Harris in concert and recorded with Reed. They are currently in the middle of promoting their 2003 album, "La vache qui pleure," and touring the United States.

"Their courage, on top of their seasoned talent, makes for music that's wise as well as unassumingly beautiful," wrote The New York Times.

Tickets are $30. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 16, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 189