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Watch: Yellowknife ‘grandma of rock’ stuns Hungarian TV show

Karen Novak dons her best AC/DC costume while performing Thunderstruck on Sztárban Sztár. Photo: Submitted
Karen Novak dons her best AC/DC costume while performing Thunderstruck on Sztárban Sztár. Photo: Submitted

The shredding vocals and energetic performance would be familiar to anyone who has hit the dance floor at Yellowknife’s Gold Range.

You know how Karen Novak sounds when Welders Daughter, the Gold Range’s legendary house band, takes the stage. Now, Hungarian TV viewers are getting a taste of her talent.

Novak is a competitor on Sztárban Sztár – “a star in a star” in English – a popular Hungarian reality show that she described as being “like The Voice with a twist.”

Not only must performers sing, but they are required to imitate the styles, movements and appearances of famous artists.

A TikTok video of Novak performing AC/DC’s Thunderstruck is gaining a lot of attention – and has earned her the moniker Rocknagyi, or “grandma of rock.”



“They’ve got this host, like the Ryan Seacrest of Hungary,” Novak explained. “He basically said, ‘Tina Turner used to be the grandmother of rock. Well, this is a new era, you are the grandmother of rock.'”

Watch Karen Novak’s performance of Thunderstruck on Sztárban Sztár.

“It created a new little personality for here in Hungary, and who knows where else it’ll take me.”

Novak said she was initially approached on Facebook by someone recruiting performers for the show. She ended up recording songs at the Gold Range and submitted an audition tape, she said, then auditioned live in Budapest before being selected among thousands of applicants.

“I never even expected I could get past that first tape audition,” she said. “People like me don’t go on shows like this. You know, I’m 58 years old, I’m a big girl. You don’t see people like me on shows like that.”



Novak said she has had a lot of fun on the show and met new people, including other artists with whom she hopes to collaborate.

The show has also given her a window into the work behind the scenes of TV, she said, and her husband has been on the journey with her, helping to translate Hungarian, which she is still learning.

Her husband has family in Hungary, and the couple originally went there when the Covid-19 pandemic began. Three years later, she said, they have made a life there and she is working on her Hungarian citizenship application.

But Novak still has ties to the North. Yellowknifers can expect to see the singer, and the rest of Welders Daughter, back on stage at the Gold Range on Halloween night, she said.

In the meantime, she thought the TV show would be a way to “immerse myself in the culture” of the country she increasingly calls home.

“The experience has been amazing and surreal,” she said, “and I just can’t believe I’ve gotten this far.”