This was a concert to remember. The second major show in Richard Thompson's Meltdown festival was a poignant celebration and memorial for the life of a family friend, Kate McGarrigle, the Quebecois singer-songwriter who died in January. Her songs were influenced by anything from French-Canadian folk to country, gospel, rock and blues, and the cast was suitably varied, from her sister and musical partner Anna and her children, through to Kate's own celebrity children, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, members of the Thompson musical dynasty, and friends and admirers including country star Emmylou Harris, Nick Cave, Krystle Warren and Neil Tennant.

Rufus Wainwright admitted it was a "difficult but uplifting night", but joined his sister for a rousing Kiss and Say Goodbye (which also featured the first really memorable Meltdown guitar solo from Thompson), and later an exquisite treatment of the pained I Eat Dinner, with Emmylou Harris. For her part, Martha joined Anna for a gently theatrical treatment of I Am a Diamond, and for her aunt's best-loved tearjerker, Heart Like a Wheel.

Linda Thompson then teamed up with ex-husband Richard for a historic and bleak duet on Go Leave. But the finest moment was the duet between Harris and Anna McGarrigle on her sister's glorious Talk to Me of Mendocino. This was the tribute she deserved.

A Celebration of Kate McGarrigle was performed at the Meltdown festival on 12 June. Richard Thompson's Meltdown continues until 21 June.

Robin Denselow

The GuardianTramp

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