Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra were crowned Eurovision Song Contest champions on Saturday in a global show of solidarity with the country braving the Russian invasion. The group performed a Ukrainian language song called “Stefania” which was a rap merged with traditional folk music. The song was a tribute to the mother of the group’s founder and leader Oleh Psiuk, but following the military assault on the Kremlin, it became a patriotic anthem.
“I will always find my way back, even if all the roads are destroyed,” read the lyrics of the song, which today has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance.
‘Please help Azovstal! Please help Mariupol’
Meanwhile, bandleader Kalush Orchestra, after his performance in the Eurovision 2022 final, addressed the global community from the stage and shouted, “Please help Azovstal, help Mariupol!”. His clarion call came as dozens of soldiers from the Azovstal Battalion remain trapped inside the Soviet-era steelworks.
Zelenskyy celebrates the country’s victory
Struggling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was quick to celebrate Sunday’s victory. In a statement, the 44-year-old leader said “we will do our best” to hold next year’s competition in the beleaguered port city of Mariupol. “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!”, declared the president, adding “We will do everything so that one day the participants and guests of Eurovision welcome Mariupol Ukraine. Free, peaceful and restored”.
Learn more about Stefania of the Kalush Orchestra
Kalush Orchestra’s song Stefania took the internet by storm amid the Russian-Ukrainian war. The song has become one of the most watched tracks on YouTube among the 35 national entries that made it to Eurovision 2022. According to a report by NME, the group‘s frontman Oleh Psiuk earlier this week reacted to the making of the band and mentioned how he composed and dedicated Stefania to her mother and added that the track acquired a lot of nuance as many people perceived as if their homeland was their mother in the midst of war.
“Representing Ukraine on the international stage is always a responsibility, but representing it during the war is only the highest possible responsibility. The song was composed and dedicated to my mother, but after the war the song acquired many nuances because a “Many people perceive it as if Ukraine is my mother. That’s why the song has become so close to the Ukrainian people and it is in the hearts of Ukrainians,” Psiuk said.
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