Talented cover-band kings

The Guinness Book of Records asserts that The Beatles’ Yesterday is the most re-sung composition globally: in 2003 (when those calculations were made), it had been ‘covered’ over 2,500 times — in a variety of genres — including doom-metal and neo-swing.
By Igor Svetlov

The Guinness Book of Records asserts that The Beatles’ Yesterday is the most re-sung composition globally: in 2003 (when those calculations were made), it had been ‘covered’ over 2,500 times — in a variety of genres — including doom-metal and neo-swing. Plenty of Belarusian musicians are fans of Liverpool’s Fab Four, drawing on their repertoire, alongside that of other well-known bands.


Яnkey Belarusian rock band performing its own songs and cover-versions of world hits


The 3rd Cover King-2013 con­test will see our musicians performing international hits, in hope of being chosen as ‘best cover-band’. The contest will run for a month, pitting 24 bands in performing domestic and foreign pop melodies. The winner’s name will be announced on April 10th. The aim is to help talented bands find potential employers, so the jury comprises not only musical critics and experts but a dozen representatives of event-agencies — who need good bands to play at parties.

Olga Lukyanets, from an event-agency, explains, “Not all companies can afford to invite top stars to play at their parties but everyone loves to hear familiar songs and enjoys the thrill of live music. A cover-band is an ideal solution and can be hired for just $500-600 — playing anything from Nirvana to Depeche Mode! Our entertainment market is witnessing falling demand for popular singers, and growing demand for cover-bands.”

Yan Zhenchak — the lead singer of Яnkey band (which won the Cover King Contest last year) agrees, having personally experienced becoming one of Minsk’s leading corporate bands in a short period of time. Interestingly, the country’s ‘best cover-band’ is now aiming to escape playing only cover-songs — focusing on their own repertoire. They spent their prize money from last year’s contest on recording their debut album and released an original single via their own Internet site. “We’re not bad as a cover-band,” notes Yan. “This confidence has inspired us to record our own compositions. We want people to understand that a cover-band isn’t limited to playing at clubs and weddings. I’m convinced that every band performing songs made famous by others truly dreams of playing their own songs on stage, and causing a stir.”

OverPlay (one of the first bands to apply for this year’s Cover King) is yet to make a name for itself, despite having been covering songs for quite some time. Lead singer Dmitry Penkrat asserts that his ambitions are modest; he doesn’t expect to be the next John Lennon or Stas Mikhailov. He admits that he earns little money but enjoys music very much. “We’ve applied for Cover King as we like to take part in contests. The event has its own atmosphere and dynamics. I think we play quite well, so why shouldn’t we take part. If we win, we’ll give the prize money to charity,” notes Dmitry.

Other contestants rather view Cover King as their big chance of signing a profitable contract with a major event-agency. Indigo’s soloist, Valeriya Fedotova, admits openly, “We’re a young band so this contest is very promising. We don’t have songs of our own, singing exclusively cover-versions: by such artists as Bruno Mars and John Newman — for younger audiences.”


Pay Day, from Baranovichi, began playing covers just four months ago. Its soloist, Sergey Romanovich, sings for two bands: commercial Pay Day and Nikto ne Woody Allen (Everybody is Woody Allen). He tells us, “We’ve been performing at local clubs but — after Cover King — we hope for recognition in Minsk. We’re not yet moving to the capital but are ‘putting out feelers’.” His is not the only band from beyond Minsk to show interest in the event, which promises $3,000 for each finalist, in addition to prizes from sponsors (suppliers of professional equipment and instruments).

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