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Ukraine’s Eurovision act wants to bring home some good news


The members of Kalush Orchestra have been granted particular permission to depart Ukraine, and can return instantly after Eurovision ends. One stayed behind to assist defend Kyiv.

Opening Ceremony – Eurovision TV


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Opening Ceremony – Eurovision TV


The members of Kalush Orchestra have been granted particular permission to depart Ukraine, and can return instantly after Eurovision ends. One stayed behind to assist defend Kyiv.

Opening Ceremony – Eurovision TV

Much of the world’s consideration has been centered on Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in late February.

But the nation will take the highlight on a distinct form of world stage on Saturday, when folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra competes within the grand closing of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.

Those parallel occasions are inextricably linked, as frontman Oleh Psiuk instructed NPR in a Zoom interview. He stated it is an enormous duty to symbolize Ukraine and its tradition to the world, particularly as Russia is actively attempting to destroy it.

“We need support to show everybody that our culture is really interesting and has a nice signature of its own,” he stated. “It exists, and we have to fight now at all of the front lines.”

The band is comparatively new, however its type and track rapidly turned iconic

Kalush Orchestra has grow to be a recognizable fixture of this yr’s competitors, thanks largely to its members’ distinctive outfits, dance moves and wind instrument skills.

Its track, “Stefania,” combines rapped verses and a people refrain. Psiuk wrote it about his mom earlier than the conflict, however it has since taken on a brand new, extra patriotic which means.

“Many people began to perceive it like Ukraine is my mother,” he explains. “And this way the song has been very close to Ukrainian people.”

Psiuk explains that the group’s distinctive type is current not solely in its music, however “in our images, in the concept, in anything we do.”

The six-person band mixes fashionable streetwear with conventional clothes, from embroidered vests to Psiuk’s signature pink bucket hat, and incorporates Ukrainian woodwind devices just like the sopilka and telenka.

While the present iteration of the band has solely been round since final yr, it has its roots in a three-person rap group referred to as Kalush, which Psiuk helped present in 2019. It’s named after his hometown within the western area of Ivano-Frankivsk.

Psiuk’s household remains to be there. In his few spare moments between rehearsals and interviews, they inform him concerning the missiles flying overhead.

“It’s like a lottery,” he stated. “You never know where it strikes, so … we are very anxious.”

Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine singing “Stefania” performs throughout rehearsals on the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy on May 9.

Luca Bruno/AP


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Luca Bruno/AP


Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine singing “Stefania” performs throughout rehearsals on the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy on May 9.

Luca Bruno/AP

The musicians combat for his or her nation on and off the stage

The band’s members are all males of combating age, and needed to get short-term permits in an effort to go away Ukraine for the competitors in Turin, Italy.

One of them, Vlad Kurochka, or MC KylymMen (which interprets to CarpetMan) selected to remain in Ukraine, the place he is been serving to to defend Kyiv.

The different musicians will return residence instantly after Eurovision ends, Psiuk stated.

He plans to return to the volunteer group he began referred to as “De Ty” (which interprets to “Where are you”). Its roughly 35 volunteers coordinate issues like transportation, drugs and lodging for folks throughout Ukraine, who submit requests by way of a Telegram channel.

And Psiuk stated whereas the band is not in a position to give attention to creating new music for the time being, it does have some already within the works.

What a Eurovision win would imply for Ukraine

Psiuk hopes the band will return to Ukraine as Eurovision champions, including that any type of win would assist increase the nation’s morale.

“I would like to bring some good news to Ukraine, because good news [hasn’t] been in our country for a long time,” he stated.

He encourages followers watching at residence to forged their votes in Saturday’s finale and present the band’s music to their buddies. And he hopes their assist for Ukraine will not simply finish when the songwriting contest does.

Psiuk stated it is vital for folks to attend peaceable rallies, submit on social media and preserve elevating consciousness in different methods.

“The more people speak about Ukraine, the quicker the war will be over and it will not start in other countries,” he stated, including that he’s grateful for the assist his nation has acquired to this point.

It’s customary for the nation that wins Eurovision to host the next yr’s competitors. Does Psiuk suppose that may occur in 2023?

“Yes,” he stated emphatically. “I’m sure that Ukraine will host Eurovision, and will gladly do that in the rebuilt, whole and happy Ukraine.”



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