Cover Me — a cross-cultural song swap

What happens when four Canadian recording artists with strong musical influences from four different cultures, reinterpret each other's songs?


Cover Me Poster

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the concept ...

the concert ...

Mariel Borelli, CBC Radio, Canada

Cover Me is a collaborative collective in a unique exploration of how a good song can cross genre, culture and language; how songwriters can find common ground in each other's songs no matter the culture of origin; and how artists can then share this resonance they experience with each other, with the world at large.

Award winning singer / songwriters Drew Gonsalves (Kobo Town), Aviva Chernick (Jaffa Road), Donne Roberts (African Guitar Summit) and Lisa Patterson (Roam) step away from fronting their bands and step into an intimate song exchange with each other. These accomplished performers bring influences from Calypso, Jewish & Ladino, Madagascar, Roma & Celt cultures to their individual contemporary Canadian sonic signatures.

Alan Davis, Executive Director of Small World Music, Canada, offered enthusiastic development support and presented the collective's premiere concert performance Cover Me Globally at Small World Music Festival October 2014, with CBC Radio's Mariel Borelli as presiding host MC. The performance received a standing ovation.

"a very special concert … four pros who have the confidence and generosity to deeply share their own traditions with each other and with us - a great idea!" audience member Johanne Pulker

The artists first hunkered down in curator Lisa Patterson's Toronto studio in September 2014; swapped songs, brainstormed ideas and spoke candidly about spiritual and philosophical aspects of songs, music and life. Bona fide bonding.

Over a couple rehearsals, they created original arrangements of each other's songs, utilizing their extensive multi-instrumental and vocal talents to back each other up. The mandate was to make another's song totally one's own by reinterpreting with one's trademark style. So lyrics were translated; keys, modes and time signatures adapted; songs were transformed. A wondrous revelation: a song's essence was not only preserved but mysteriously enhanced in some way.

Through the arrangement process, the collective became a band of sorts.


The thrill and simpatico that was discovered in both the artistic process and the magic on stage - affirmed by overwhelming audience enthusiasm - has inspired the collective to further share the love by recording an album and bringing this unprecedented concert experience to diverse international audiences.

Please drop a line & stay tuned.



a post rehearsal farewell turned into a song sharing ...