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Up all night to get lucky - Police in Russia sing Daft Punk cover

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Police in Russia are arguably more infamous, than famous, but they've scored a major PR coup with a cover - sung by the police choir - of Daft Punk's, Get Lucky. It's been a big hit on YouTube - but do they know what they're singing about?

A hip sway here. A harmony there. You could hardly make it up. "We're up all night to get lucky, we're up all night to get lucky," sing the Russian Interior Ministry Ensemble, dressed to the nines in their uniforms and medals, and largely straight-faced. They are the most unlikely YouTube stars. At the time of writing, more than 1.5 million people have viewed the video.

The response has been mostly positive. "Russian police rock," writes one university student in Moscow. "Our police have a sense of humour. Cool!" writes another. Artemy Troitsky, one of Russia's leading music critics, is a little more circumspect about their performance. "It's quite adequate," he told the BBC. "The singing is ok." The reason it's made such waves, is that it's so left field, he says - a bit like the Royal Guards at Buckingham Palace doing the Sex Pistols.

Troitsky believes the video is, "100% a PR effort" aimed at "softening" the image of the police, and giving them a more "human face". There have been a number of incidents of alleged police brutality in recent months, especially in their treatment of migrants.

There are similar musical precedents in Russia. In August, the army choir released a cover of Skyfall, which was also a big hit. The army choir is well-known and has toured internationally, and in recent years, they've been moving from Russian patriotic songs to more popular numbers, sung in English.

But Get Lucky would seem be one step further in that vein - with its clear (to native English speakers) sexually suggestive overtones. Daft Punk is very much associated with the gay disco scene, making it an even more incongruous choice, says Troitsky - given the Russian authorities crack down on homosexuality. Either this is an incredibly brave move by the police, he says, or they simply didn't understand the words. He suspects the latter.


November 12 2013, 09:43

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