Photo: Lane Ripco.
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Montreal-based artist draws Anglo and Franco audience at Ottawa concert

As the lights dimmed at Ottawa’s Bronson Centre on Feb. 5, Coeur de pirate entranced the audience with her sharp but graceful dancing and sweet vocals. As a mostly quiet collective, the audience was instantly drawn to the artist and dancer in her flowing black skirt and bold attitude.

Indie singer-songwriter Béatrice Martin, more commonly known by her stage name Coeur de pirate, is a celebrated Montreal-based artist with an impressive way of connecting to her fans through movement and melodic music. As a recognized Francophone musician, she effortlessly expresses herself through both national languages of Canada, drawing in Anglophone listeners to experience French music in ways they never have before.

Coeur de pirate has had a lot of success amongst French audiences, as a two-time nominee for “Francophone Album of the Year” at the Junos. Her music has even reached across the Atlantic, with multiple nominations at the Victoires de la Musique awards in France, including one win for “Original Song of the Year” with her 2008 song “Comme des enfants.”

Although Coeur de pirate primarily sings in French, which has drawn her international audiences for past albums, she is beginning to break into the Anglo scene with English hits like “Carry On,” off of her 2015 album, Roses.

The intimate setting at the Bronson Centre was filled with a diverse crowd of young adults and families. The performance as a whole transitioned from uplifting pop melodies, featuring her fellow bandmates’ colliding sounds, to solo instrumental softness alongside her piano.

The rebel spirit of Coeur de pirate was presented visually on the backdrops of the stage, where apparitions of flying doves, heavy shadows and abstract shapes framed the drama. At one point in the performance Martin addressed the audience with a bright smile, saying “what a time to be alive,” and went back to playing her piano with ease.

While the stage was softly illuminated, Coeur de pirate released even more emotion with heavy drumbeats that could be felt in listener’s chests. The rises and falls of upbeat pop songs and ballads from her new album Roses, including tracks, “I Don’t Want to Break Your Heart,” and “Carry On” were only a few of the sentimental songs that grasped the audience.

Martin’s successful attempt at bilingual humour brightened the atmosphere, just before breaking out into a slow rendition of “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by fellow Canadian artist, Drake. Her monologue for the audience revealed a soft spot when introducing a song written for her daughter.

As the act reached its close, the audience let out a roar of excitement, which was soon followed by bittersweet sadness for it coming to an end. Although Coeur de pirate is a bilingual artist, her songs are able to transcend language, bringing together English and French Canadians in celebration of the beauty of her music.

For those who missed Coeur de pirate’s Ottawa concert, tickets are still available here for her Montreal concert at the Metropolis on March 23.


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