C’est la Vie… Du Pirate

Beatrice Martin’s French pop tunes defy language barriers

Beatrice Martin a.k.a. Coeur de Pirate is lively from the outset of our conversation. She sounds nothing like I expect either which is to say that she doesn’t have a petite French pixie voice — a la Amélie Poulain — and instead sounds like a real person. When she laughs it’s not as much cute as it is real and full. When she says she’s excited about playing the Calgary folk fest it’s easy to take her at her word.

“I only hear great things about folk fests in Canada in general — especially the Calgary one — from people I know that’ve played there” she says. “It’s a big step for me because I haven’t been there ever not even just to do a small solo show. So I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a small stage it’s going to be cool it’s going to be a discovery thing for me and for people that are going to be there.”

That Martin hasn’t been to Calgary yet is surprising; her sole eponymous release as Coeur de Pirate turns three this year. Yet if you think she hasn’t ventured out here because of some French-English thing you’re wrong. Seems that people like her steez even if they don’t speak her speak.

“It’s kind of funny the crossover I’ve had” she says happily. “I’ve got fans in Brazil I’ve got fans in pretty much everywhere. They don’t understand French but at least they get the music.”

But can those people ever really get the music if they don’t understand the language? According to Martin yes they absolutely can. And what’s more they do.

“[Some people] go and they try and find out what the words mean. I’ve seen people translate my songs and they’re all like ‘Wow this is so great.’ And it’s such a huge compliment to me.”

I assume it’s also a huge compliment when talented people want to work with you which in Martin’s case they do. Aside from the work on her second record she guested on Bedouin Soundclash’s last one and cut an EP with Bedouin’s Jay Malinowski and some of the boys from the Bronx earlier this year. That project Armistice isn’t really going anywhere at present but that isn’t the same thing as saying it can’t or won’t.

“We really didn’t know what to do with it” Martin admits. “And the Bronx they’re busy dudes. They’re releasing an album soon if not like now. And they’re touring so it’s kind of hard to get that seven-[person] band [together]. And me and Jay with our personal schedules — I’m concentrating on my stuff he’s concentrating on Bedouin stuff. Maybe we’ll have a one-off or something in Toronto. That’d be cool; I’d really like that.”

Of her new album Martin doesn’t say a whole lot. She allows that it’ll be titled Blonde and asserts that it’s not going to be in English.

“There’s probably some words in there that are English because there are a lot of references to what I’ve lived through travelling and what I’ve lived through with like ex-boyfriends and stuff” she says. “Some English was said so I played with that a little bit.

“But it’s still in French; Coeur de Pirate was always French it will always be French.”