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Coeur de Pirate – Béatrice Martin 25

22/09/2014

Béatrice Martin is 25 years old today. Congrats! Mark Sullivan sings her praise (again):
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Béatrice Martin, whose ‘project’ Coeur de Pirate has become so successful that it is carrying her towards a new bilingual pop career, was born on 22 September 1989. She early on told interviewers how important her years from 18 to 25 were going to be, and that they would set her direction for the rest of her life. Now she has reached the horizon she set for herself. It is worth reviewing her exceptional career, and see where she may go next.

Filles Sourires has a particular interest in the blonde with tattooes from Montreal, for we spotted her right at the start, in Autumn 2008, before any other English-language blog, and before she was known in France. Béatrice was number 1 on the FS 2008 Year List :
‘And suddenly there she was, as could be expected from une fille fragile, whispers sweet words in your ear, and the songs will stay there, they won’t go away; they are forever, like a tattoo.’

Béatrice, who had started at the piano at the age of 3, launched her first album in Montreal as she reached 19, in September 2008, here with ‘Ensemble’

Right from the start this was something unusual – a girl at a piano with a backing band, with live performances as fine as her recordings. The video of ‘Comme des enfants’ soon followed and by January 2009 she was in France recording her music afresh. See her in the studio playing ‘C’est salement romantique’, one of her best early compositions.

Her international fame began though with the use of her track ‘Ensemble’ by a father in Quebec to go with as time-lapse film of his son playing on the floor over several hours – the famous ‘Vachon baby’ film which received publicity in the US and France. After this she was invited several times onto the CBC televised chat-show ‘Q’ at which she sang in French and talked in English. Here on ‘Q’ in September 2009 is the very first film of CdP performing her classic ‘Place de la République’, which she wrote after completing her original album, but did not record for another 2 years.

In 2010 Béatrice found herself conquering France, with sell-out concerts and at Les Victoires de la Musique. Scrutiny from amateur film-recorders became intense. Film of her on Youtube piled up. The video of ‘Pour un infidèle’ sung with French pop heart-throb Julien Doré was fun. Her first album by then was on the way to selling 500,000 and she had really arrived.

In 2010 the Quebec time-travel TV series ‘Les Rescapés’ (a reverse version of the British TV series ‘Life on Mars’) chose modern singers to perform hits from the 1960-64 period from which the characters had come, to be played over the end credits. Coeur de Pirate was chosen to sing best-known of all Francophone pop songs of that time, Françoise Hardy’s ‘Tous les garçons et les filles’.

Endlessly argued over for its comparison with the original, the film of this live performance has notched up 1.8 million hits on Youtube in 4 years.

Meanwhile CdP showed that she could better the originals with covers of well-known songs in English, as in 2010 with Phoenix’s ‘Lasso’.
This fine version is on no album yet. Also, check her duet with Jay Malinowski, on the EP they made together as Armistice.

The second album, the long-awaited ‘Blonde’, appeared in October 2011, and was immediately acclaimed as perfect. See the Filles Sourires full review here.
Béatrice then set out on a major tour with two albums to perform (and thus no longer a shortage of songs). Here she is at L’Ancienne Belgique on 4 December 2011.

And her first appearance in the United States followed, with four concerts – including a terrific one in New York in which she showed her bilingual skills in introducing every song… and the memorable line for monolingual Americans, ‘For those who don’t know me, I’m Coeur de Pirate, or Corda Pyrit…’ to huge laughter.

After her US concerts, Béatrice announced that she was pregnant and would not be able to complete her tour. But she continued well into the summer, perhaps the one top singer in the world who would do this. See her well-wrapped-up on a cold evening in April 2012 at the open-air Théâtre de Verdure in Nice performing ‘Les amours dévouées’ from ‘Blonde’.

A feature of CdP concerts is the scale of singing along with her songs. She has described in the past how her fans ‘know every word of all the songs’. Proof of this comes from this film of her final song, piano-only, ‘Adieu’, at Avignon in March 2012.

Béatrice’s baby, Romy, was born in September 2012, she having married Alex Peyrat in the summer. By the end of 2012 she was easing herself back into performances, including at a Montreal Christmas charity event a rather good version of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’; and then back in France showing her dominance in duets such as with Roch Voisine here.

CdP’s more recent career, including her sell-out solo 12-concert tour in Europe in April 2013, and her 2014 album of English-language covers, ‘Trauma’, has been well-reported on Filles Sourires, here, her music for the ‘Child of Light’ video game here, and her interpretation of Renaud’s ‘Mistral gagnant’, where there is also discussion of her exceptional ‘Taratata’ appearance on 28 February 2014.

What can we look forward to? Film of her fascinating interview with Jian Ghomeshi on CBC’s ‘Q’ in March 2014 can now be watched.
Her skill and intelligence matched with frankness and humour is even more impressive than before.
Béatrice tells us how she works and that we can look forward next to a new album of her own songs – some in English. As she said to a music website Noisey on the release of ‘Child of Light’ in May 2014, “I always have music in my head from being in the conservatory early on and playing a lot of classical music. I have a lot of melodies that are just there and I record them all the time on my iPhone.”

But to really understand the Coeur de Pirate phenomenon, it seems right to mark her six years of success by showing her before her fans in several huge French concerts in 2010. She used to end her concerts performing ‘Francis’ solo at the piano, after the band had left the stage. Renaud Bastien, the senior musician in her band, filmed ‘Francis’ from the back of the stage several times. He put clips together in one 5-minute film. It’s worth watching.

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Hôtel Morphée

17/09/2014

Reve americain
The phrase “year-list material” tends to get bandied around a bit (guilty as charged – here’s Exhibit A and Exhibit B), but I make no apologies for suggesting that Montréal-based Hôtel Morphée’s sophomore album “Rêve américain” is a more than worthy addition to the fold.

Whereas the band’s 2013 debut “Des Histoires des Fantômes” was all dark, brooding and Gothic tinged, “Reve américain” has a more pronounce alt-rock edge. Although the menacing undercurrent isn’t far from the surface and there’s the trademark liberal application of orchestral strings, the sound is altogether a more urgent, distorted, guitar-fuelled affair.

The direction the album takes was apparent from the thumping up-tempo “Dernier jour” – the more pronounced rock sound overlaid with violins and Laurence Newbornne’s rasping vocals (which appear to have far more range and expression than on “Des Histoires des Fantômes”) This is further confirmed by the album’s opening track, “Reve américain” – sombre keyboards buried beneath distorted, pounding bass – and some cleverly effects with Auto-Tune on Laurence’s voice as she ever so matter-of-factly addresses dreaming “…that one was killed and that one was missing…”

While the musical direction of the album is a new departure, the band maintain the illusion of expertly wrapping disconcerting lyrics with punchy rhythms – “Psycholove” – a love song for psychopaths, being a case in-point. Indeed the album explores the realities and myths of the American dream, walking as it does the tightrope between reverie and nightmares, exploring themes of love (“Soigne-moi”), sex (“Petite mort”) and violence (“Des milliers de gens”).

All eleven songs here are frighteningly consistent in quality; the reflective “Je reviendrai” is totally structured around Laurence’s auto-tuned and reverbed – almost tremolo vocals; “Tucson” paints a picture as bleak as the city under a burning Arizona sun…

I’ve previously commented that for all the great pop, country and folk albums that the French-Canadian Provinces have produced, the French music scene on this side of the pond desperately needs bands capable of delivering albums that generates the “frisson” that alternative and indie-rock provides.

With “Reve américain”, Hôtel Morphée have delivered this album…

Year-list.

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Marianne Dissard covers Hardy

16/09/2014

Wes Anderson’s use of Françoise Hardy’s ‘Le temps de l’amour’ has been mentioned several times on this blog (Here, Here). For a tribute album to Anderson’s movies and the music in those movies, Marianne Dissard did a great coverversion of Le temps.

More about the tribute album, featuring tracks by Mike Watt, Juliana Hatfield, William Fitzsimmons and Kristin Hersh, HERE, listen to the full album on Soundcloud HERE

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La Bronze

16/09/2014

From Montreal, Canada, I give you, La Bronze:

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New Zaz video

16/09/2014

Original version:

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Like FS on FB

12/09/2014

Want to keep on track of what is being published on this blog? Like FS on Facebook. GO HERE
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New Mina Tindle video

12/09/2014

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Où sont les filles?

09/09/2014

Où sont les filles? That’s the question. One of the filles is called Anne Camille, and she’s the one playing the Jane Birkin role in the new single by Paris-based foursome (one couple + two garçons) Où Sont Les Filles. They’re inpired by Serge & Jane, obviously, Air, Seb Tellier and lush 70s pop. How on target with this blog can you get?

Old video:

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Marion Elgé

06/09/2014

Actually I’m indebted to the excellent bilingual music blog “From B to Zee” for introducing me to the emerging talent that is French singer-songwriter Marion Elgé.

Hailing from Valence, Marion has thanks to a crowd-funding campaign, successfully auto-financed her debut 6-track EP which – with the assistance of David Granier (percussionist with La Grande Sophie) – should hopefully be released before the end of this year.

As a teaser Marion has made three distinctly varied tracks available via Soundcloud; “Color Me” is unashamedly poppy (I’d argue that it’s up there with Grenadine’s “Bonjour Tristesse” as one of the pop-songs of the year) and features one of those distinctively catchy hooks that burrows deep into the skull alongside a guitar solo which hints at an inner rock-chick that surfaces again on the pop-rock “Vas-y”.

However it’s “Je Penche” that really grabs the attention. This is a cent-pour-cent chanson that steers effortlessly into the Bluesy-jazz territory that Zaz has made her own and more than suggests that Marion can turn her hand to any number of differing musical styles.

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New Coralie Clément Video

05/09/2014