A party dedicated to cover versions of other musicians’ songs attracts the crowds to a free event this week.

Published: March 27, 2013 (Issue # 1752)

Ilya Ilyukhin

Segodnyanochyu will play at the Cover Party tomorrow for the fun of it.

There is hardly anything more boring than seeing tribute and cover bands churning out some other band’s songs trying to sound as close to the original as possible — but an annual music event called Cover Party offers listeners something completely different.

The event, where the participating groups perform versions of music written by other bands, often in an unlikely manner, is created for the joy of it, according to organizer Yana Chudit. It is also free.

This year, the event promises to be bigger than ever and is being held at the A2 club, a huge venue launched last year.

“I don’t know when the idea occurred to me, it’s been forming for rather a long time,” Chudit said.

“I’ve seen that musicians like to sing other people’s songs when at parties, everybody likes it, it’s always fun. Another reason was that I wanted to sing myself, yet I didn’t write songs. I thought, ‘It would be great, I can sing on stage and fulfill my childhood dream. It all came together.”

Hailing from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in Russia’s Far East, the 30-year-old Chudit (real name Yana Konnova) is the person behind Yana Chudit Music Management which manages Nina Karlsson and Non Cadenza, but at Cover Party events she performs with her own Yana Chudit Band.

Cover Party was first held in 2007 at Mod club’s former location on Konyshennaya Ploshchad, with Chudit’s musician friends performing. Unexpectedly, the headliners emerged shortly before the already announced event.

“I met an American named Jarlath McGuckin in a bar, and he told me that he sings with a band named Kino Proby (screen tests) in the U.S. I asked him if that had something to do with the Russian band Kino. He said, ‘Absolutely, we sing songs by Kino.’

“It was his first local concert, with the band, at Cover Party. It was very cool to have Americans singing our songs. Everybody was very surprised, and that’s when it became clear that the idea was good.”

Chudit said that with Yana Chudit Band she mostly sings covers of the British band Moloko, adding an occasional song by Whitney Houston, Cardigans or Maroon 5.

In addition to being free, the event does not feature cover bands and is open to different music styles.

“My parties, which I now call festivals because several thousand people attend, feature bands that have a repertoire of their own,” Chudit said.

“They function and perform concerts as such, but they also sing songs by some of their favorite bands specifically for the party. Cover bands, who do it professionally, do not take part. Secondly, there is no restriction as to genre; we can hear songs by both [Russian pop diva] Alla Pugachyova and Iggy Pop on the same night. These are two main differences; there are no cover bands and there is no theme.”

According to Chudit, the local band Iamthemorning was responsible for some of Cover Party’s most unlikely covers in the past.

“They play with cellos and violins and sound a bit like Icelandic bands — very melancholic, somewhat magic, dreamlike music — but for Cover Party they chose to play, for instance, Britney Spears and the ‘Mission: Impossible’ theme,” she said.

“It was surprising that they chosen the songs in the first place but also that their versions, with violins and cellos, sounded so great.

“I am also very happy when young people, 18- or 19-year-olds, chose songs form the other generations. It’s surprising that they know and love them, and sing The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop or even Rage Against the Machine.

“I think the party has a certain educational value, because after every event I post playlists on our social networks for every band, and many people write, ‘Oh, thank you, I discovered Moloko.’”

According to Chudit, the audience is diverse, featuring older generations as well as young students.

“For instance, my parents come to the parties, not only to see their daughter, but because they like it,” she said.

“My father likes it because he can hear songs by The Beatles, who are his favorite, or The Rolling Stones and Queen. He likes to see that young people know them, as it turns out, it’s like a balm for his soul.”

Since the first event in 2007, Cover Party has grown and last year attracted more than 2,000 fans when it was held at Kosmonavt.

Free entrance is a matter of principle for the event, Chudit said, although a limited number of tickets for the VIP zone are available for as cheap as 200 rubles ($6.50).

“If we borrow other people’s work, it would be strange to make money out of it,” she said.

“It’s primarily a pleasure, for the musicians, too, because they can relax and have a rest from their own concerts.”

This week’s Cover Party will feature Vasya Vasin, Segodnyanochyu, Nina Karlsson, Auroraw, Half Dub Theory, Surtsey Sounds and the Moscow band Moremoney, among many others.

“I select bands that are professional, that play well and definitely have good taste,” Chudit said.

“I know that I won’t hear anything cheesy or some song that I would not want to hear. I don’t give any recommendations about what song they should choose — that’s up to them.

“I am doing this party, because it’s a big festival and fun too. And I want to leave a bit of this fun for me too, so I don’t ask them what they will play beforehand, so that I will be surprised as well. They have absolute carte blanche.”

Cover Party is scheduled to be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 28 at A2, located at 3 Prospekt Medikov. M: Sportiv-naya, Gorkovskaya. Tel. 309 9922.

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