Lucky you if you’re a ticket holder for the sold out Coeur de Pirate show at Alix Goolden Performance Hall (Atomique Productions) on Feb. 19 — you’re in for a treat.
I first heard about Montreal-born indie songstress and pianist Béatrice Martin (aka Coeur de Pirate) when I was living in Ontario. She was 18 and just emerging on the Canadian music scene. From Ottawa, it was clear something special was happening two hours down the road.
At the time, Martin was singing primarily in French, but was gaining fans across the language spectrum. In 2009, her ballad “Comme des enfants” snagged CBC Radio 3’s “Bucky” award for “Best reason to learn French.” Still, hers was a heart-rich, resonant sound fans connected with, regardless of whether they could parse the lyrics.
Martin’s accomplished a lot since the first heady days of her eponymous debut: now in her mid-twenties, she’s released three more studio albums (Blonde, 2011; Trauma, 2014; Roses, 2015), had a baby, toured extensively, collaborated with big-name producers and most recently signed with US label Cherrytree Records/Interscope Records. She’s sold more than a million albums worldwide, attracted Félix Award nods and Juno nominations.
The current tour supports the bilingual Roses, her first major crossover into the English-language market (all but four songs on the album are in English). In interviews, Martin says she often toyed with the idea of writing and singing in her second language but wasn’t sure she’d be much good at it. Apparently, she can lay those fears to rest: Roses went gold in Canada and France weeks after its release. The first single, “Carry On” has been a hit on both sides of the border. In a recent tweet, Martin indicated that a full house for her tour stop in Victoria means a sweep of sold-out shows in Canada.
Ask purists and they’ll tell you only French lyrics and storytelling capture Martin’s true charm, but that’s the thing about purists — they’re not always fans of change. Either way, we’re guessing that if you aren’t already in her camp, you will be after Friday’s show. With its celebrated acoustics and ethereal feel, Alix Goolden may be the ideal venue for Martin’s sweet pixie vocals.