Rufus and Martha Wainwright Concert | Christmas according to Wainwright-McGarrigles


The arrival of December heralds the return of the traditional Christmas pageant hosted by Rufus and Martha Wainwright. The concert stars and you will bring together this Saturday the Wainwright-McGarrigle family and several guest artists, including Hubert Lenoir, Klô Pelgag and Isabelle Boulay. The print spoke to Rufus Wainwright.

The moment promises to be “very emotional,” the interpreter of tells us Go to a city on the telephone. Rufus Wainwright is at his residence in Los Angeles when we contact him. Since he is always very busy, the Montrealer now settled on the American west coast has not yet returned to the city where he grew up for the show stars and youorganized by him and his sister Martha to benefit the Kate McGarrigle Foundation.

But it’s almost intentional. “We don’t try much. We want to bring back the concept where we invite people into our living room, she says. The public comes to relax with us. It feels very natural. We want it to stay free and funky.”

Rufus Wainwright recalls that it’s the return of their in-person Christmas show, as they’ve held an “absolutely adorable” virtual event during the pandemic. “After the three years we’ve just lived, it’s going to be a special evening,” he adds. Gathering for the holiday season is an especially important time. »


Martha Wainwright

The meeting will take place with the public, but also within the Wainwright-McGarrigle family. The concert is an opportunity for the clan to reunite, since some members live outside Quebec, but the core remains in Montreal.

“It makes me especially sentimental because I live in Los Angeles now and we don’t really have winter,” Rufus said. Because it’s so early in the month, the show not only marks Christmas or Hanukkah, but also the arrival of winter, such a strong time in Montreal. »

A concert for everyone

To mark this highlight as it should be, Rufus and Martha called Hubert Lenoir, Klô Pelgag, Isabelle Boulay, Socalled, Beyries and Melissa Auf Der Maur. A diverse group that will allow for unusual collaborations on stage – “it will be interesting,” laughs Rufus Wainwright on the phone, indicating that the duos have already formed.

One of the unique aspects of this show is that it is completely bilingual. We like to mix English and French. We also want to include all kinds of different cultural aspects, to be very inclusive.

Rufus Wainwright

“It really is a concert for everyone, where we bring to life this spirit of unity that is so needed right now,” he explains.

For the legacy of Kate McGarrigle

The Wainwright-McGarrigle clan’s tradition of Christmas shows began in 2005. Kate McGarrigle, mother of Rufus and Martha, brought her family together for these concerts, as an excuse to have them all with her for the holidays.

Until 2009, she attended the show every year. The singer-songwriter’s last stage presence was at one of these Christmas concerts, at London’s Royal Albert Hall, in front of 5,000 people, a month before her death from cancer.


Martha and Rufus Wainwright preparing for their Christmas show in 2018.

After the matriarch of the artist family died in 2010, her children and sister Anna have kept the tradition alive. Honor him and make his legacy last, especially through the foundation that bears his name.

When diagnosed with sarcoma in 2007, Kate McGarrigle set up a research fund, now the Kate McGarrigle Foundation. The Christmas shows are now a source of funding for the organization. A portion of the profits raised through the show goes to research and another goes to a music therapy project.

“People suffering from cancer can benefit from some money to have access to a studio and record music,” explains Rufus Wainwright.

“It’s something that helped our mother a lot at the end of her life, to focus on her art, to get lost in composition. She prepared her for the journey ahead of her. »

The concert stars and youwith the Wainwright-McGarrigles and their guests, will be presented in the church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste, this Saturday, December 3, at 8pm.


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