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Photo courtesy of the band.

Hervana: A feminist flip on growing up with grunge

By Maria-Helena Pacelli on April 13, 2016

Truly a millennial phenomenon, this all girl band was inspired by a tweet that said there should be an all-female Nirvana cover band called Hervana. The band is composed of Carly Beath (Skirt Cobain), Erin Cousins (Miss Novoselic), Sonia Sennik (Dave Grrrl) and Michelle Turingan (Pap Smear). Growing up listening to 90’s alternative rock and learning Nirvana songs, lead vocalist Skirt Cobain says “Nirvana is a really fun band to cover because the songs are a perfect mix of loudness and catchy hooks.”

Flipping the gender on an all-male band and turning it into an all-female cover band is not only a riot grrl approach to getting into the music industry but for HERVANA, this is also a tribute to Nirvana’s support of women through their appearances at pro-choice benefits, and taking Kurt Cobain’s gender-bending appearance in drag at the MTV Headbangers’ ball in a gown to the next level.

Modelling Nirvana’s Unplugged in New York in both concept and branding, HERVANA’s present tour is breaking the mold of their previous work by covering an entire album and playing venues they would not normally have the chance to play.

For a cover band that started with a tweet, and grew into an opportunity to play music that they love, HERVANA is doing well at making this their pet project, and they aren’t the only all-female cover band on the block either. According to Carly, “it’s a movement that’s snowballing.” Female cover bands are sprouting world-wide including Sheezer, AC/DShe, Misstallica, Vag Halen, Lady Zep, the Shea-tles and Judas Priestess; the list of clever names goes on across genres.

Whether all of these bands are just having fun covering music they love or denouncing the male-dominated bastion that is rock and roll is up for debate, but HERVANA also put their feminist principles to work by doing fundraisers for Girls Rock Camps and hope that their presence and visibility will show other women and girls that music isn’t off limits. Their message is: “Do it! Find the networks of people, especially women, who will support you. Collaborate with other great people.”

Between the band and other day jobs, they don’t have much time off, but they hope to travel overseas. Until then, they’re planning some opportunities to start playing outside Ontario more often starting this summer. You can catch them in Ottawa on Friday April 15th at House of Targ and find out about them all over the internet!

Tickets are $10 a the door. Follow Hervana on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.