Eurovision 2022: Ukrainian Band Kalush Orchestra Wins
Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest in the early hours of Sunday in a clear show of support for the war-ravaged nation.
The six-man band that mixes traditional folk melodies and contemporary hip hop in a purposeful defense of Ukrainian culture was the sentimental and bookmakers’ favorite among the 25 bands and performers competing in the grand finale. Their victory was secured by the public vote from home.
Oleg Psiuk, the frontman of the band, used the huge global audience to plead for the release of fighters still under a sprawling steel plant in Mariupol’s southern port city.
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” I ask you all to help Mariupol, Ukraine. Help Azovstal, right now,” Psiu, said, to the live crowd of some 7,500, many of whom gave a standing ovation, and a global television audience of millions.
The plea to free the Ukrainian fighters still trapped under the Azovstal plant was a somber reminder of the fact that the Eurovision song contest, which is hugely popular and often flamboyant, was being played against the backdrop a war on Europe’s eastern flank.
President Volodymyr Zeleskyy showed signs that he was in Kyiv and rooting for the Ukrainian band.
“Indeed. Although this is not a conflict, it is still very important for us today. According to a.presidential declaration, Zelenskyy stated that victory is very important. Let’s cheer for Ukraine! Glory to Ukraine !”
Kalush Orchestra was among 25 bands performing in the Eurovision Song Contest final front of a live audience in the industrial northern city of Turin, while millions more watched on television or via streaming around the world.
Russia was excluded this year after its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, a move organizers said was meant to keep politics out of the contest that promotes diversity and friendship among nations.
Ukraine’s song “Stefania” was originally written to honor the mother of the frontman. However, it has become an anthem for the nation since the war, as the lyrics take on new meanings. Oleh Psiuk, Kalush Orchestra frontman, wrote that “I’ll always find the way home, even though all roads are destroyed.”
The six-member, all male band was granted permission to leave the country in order to represent Ukraine and Ukrainian culture during the music contest. One of the original members was able to fight, while the rest plan to return once the contest is over.
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