November 06 2009
First, the bad news: one of the big musical events of the Christmas season, a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London given by members of the Wainwright and McGarrigle dynasty, has sold out. But the good news is that a limited number of VIP packages has become available at £500 each, with proceeds going to a cancer research charity.
Let me explain more. The marriage between old folkies Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle in the 1970s was by all accounts a fractious one, but it produced two terrifically gifted offspring – Rufus Wainwright, the multi-talented singer, songwriter, and, since last summer, opera composer, and his sister, Martha (both pictured). Each has their own unique style: Rufus makes music that’s rich, baroque and textured; Martha’s is tougher, rootsier. I’ve seen them both on stage, and they are, in their own ways, compelling performers.
Anyway: the Wainwright family Christmas show, titled A Not So Silent Night, starring Rufus, Martha, Kate McGarrigle and a string of guest stars, has become a fixture of New York’s holiday season. This year it is coming to London, on December 9, with guest appearances from Elbow singer Guy Garvey, singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt, country-folk artist Teddy Thompson and his mother, the great folk singer Linda Thompson, as well as Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. There’ll be songs, sentimentality, great music, and laughs, too.
Proceeds from these packages – which include excellent seats, entry to post-show cocktails with the performers, and a gift bag – will go to the Kate McGarrigle Fund, an organisation dedicated to cancer research.