The Pirate of Montreal

More stories from Angela Weisgal

Cannot Erase Wilson:
March 15, 2016

Angela Weisgal

Cœur de pirate plays the piano.

Cœur de pirate, also known as Béatrice Martin, is a French-Canadian bilingual pop singer and classically trained pianist.


Over time her sound changed from piano based to vocal. Coeur de pirate’s music changed with the times, but it never alienated her fans. Her latest album, Roses, is her first studio album where she sings in both French and English, and her poetic sensibility was not lost in the second language.


Coeur de pirate has had the most success in France and Belgium. But even in Chicago, where French is not in the top 5 most spoken languages, she has a decent sized and enthusiastic fanbase. She played at Lincoln Hall on February 10 in front of a full house.


Most of the audience didn’t know a word of French, but they loved the music and Cœur de pirate was very understanding. Between songs, she told jokes and stories about how she wrote her songs in English. “The Way Back Home” is about her daughter and how much she misses her when she is away touring.


The show started off strong with “Oceans Brawl” from the latest album Roses and continued with a mix of songs from all of her studio albums, including “Undone”, “Pour un infidele”, and “Cast Away,” but the most emotional song was “C’était salement romantique,” which made me feel sad. I could definitely put myself in her shoes.


In the middle the band took a break and she was solo on the piano, definitely a unique experience It was her going back to her roots and not forgetting where she came from musically.


During her solo piano set, Coeur de pirate performed a cover of fellow Canadian artist Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home.” It was an interesting take on the song with piano and more sombre toned vocals.


The show ended on a good note with her signature song “Comme des enfants” and a newer song, “Carry On.”


“Comme des enfants” reminded me of my teenage years and the times I’d play that song on repeat to feel better. The audience joining along in singing the song was very uplifting. She is proud of her songwriting and most of her songs are about experiences in her life and love. In the show she proved to be more than just a piano player. She was an energetic aperformer, playing for an hour and a half without a break.


It was easy to tell that she enjoys being a musician. She sang and played piano for half of her set. For the other half she danced reminsicent of Kate Bush. The performance felt personal and you could really see that she is a sweet, caring person. She showed appreciation and gave credit to her band, crew  and especially to her fans.