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THERE are numerous examples of personal revelation on Martha Wainwright’s new album.

Perhaps it goes without saying that it wouldn’t be an album with the Wainwright name on the front if it did not.

But it is fitting that the album’s centrepoint is a song that goes right to the core of the human condition and the passing of the seasons. It’s called Proserpina.

Martha didn’t write the song. Her mother, the much-loved Canadian singer and songwriter Kate McGarrigle did. It was the last one she wrote.

“Cryin’ alone,” Wainwright sings tenderly, “Cryin’ for/Proserpina/Come home to mama.”

That last line provides the title for her daughter’s album, and the song itself fits neatly with the theme, a series of tunes otherwise written by Martha reflecting on the birth of her son Arcangelo in November 2009 and the death of her mother from cancer in January 2010.

“My mother was always the person who spearheaded these Christmas shows, which we started doing about 10 years ago,” Wainwright says.

“We had a final Christmas show booked at Royal Albert Hall in London, the biggest one ever, with guests like Boy George, Neil Tennant and Richard and Linda Thompson, which was very exciting for us.

“Through the six months before the concert my mother became much more ill than we thought she would. She wanted to write this song for the show.”

It was agony for Martha that she could not be present for her mother’s last days in Montreal. Martha had to stay in London with her musician husband Brad Albetta and Arcangelo, still in hospital after his premature birth.

“I recorded the song a couple of months after she died and I sang it the way she had sung it at the concert.”