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Kalush Orchestra, on tour in Europe for Eurovision, campaigns for an end to conflict

From our special correspondent in Amsterdam (Netherlands),

“It is very important for us to seize the opportunity to represent our country and make the most of it. It is essential that theUkraine don’t forget,” he said 20 minutes who met him in Amsterdam (Netherlands). Serious looking, barely brightened by the pink bob that never partes and that covers part of his eyes, Oleh Psiuk continues this Saturday with interviews with the international media where he, through his translator, more or less repeats the same things.

The rapper and members of his group, Kalush Orchestra, received special permission from the Ukrainian state last week to leave the territory and participate in the promotional concerts organized ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, where they will defend Ukraine’s chances in a month’s time.

A QR code to collect donations

This is an opportunity for them to speak up for their country at war. “We want to encourage everyone to help us end the war as soon as possible. The more people speak out, the more they will motivate their decision-makers to intervene, the sooner the war will end,” argues Oleh Psiuk, from microphone to microphone.

On Monday, the Kalush Orchestra arrived in Tel Aviv at Israel is callinga multi-day event that culminated in a grand concert on Thursday, bringing together twenty-four of the forty artists in the race for Eurovision 2022. Meanwhile, they passed through the headquarters of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, where they performed two songs for an audience of young Ukrainian refugees.

On Friday it was on Dutch television that the Ukrainian group was invited. The next day he was at Eurovision In Concert, at AFAS Live in Amsterdam. In front of the cosmopolitan crowd, which included spectators from, among others, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Ireland or France, the Ukrainians chanted their title before the match while in the background the QR code referring to the site set up to collect donations in favor of Ukraine.

“Ukrainian musicians are very united, very active”

Since the beginning of the war, on February 24, the members of Kalush Orchestra mobilized in their own way† Oleh Psiuk set up an organization to collect and distribute food, medicines and clothing to people in need.

Social networks, hitherto intended for promotion, have become privileged channels to warn about the situation in Ukraine, to disseminate information, to pool solidarity. “Ukrainian musicians are very united, very active,” the rapper underlines with 20 minutes† “Some write dedicated, relevant songs,” he adds, making it clear that artistic creation has not been halted by the Russian invasion.

Stefania, the Kalush Orchestra song for Eurovision, has taken on a symbolic dimension in recent weeks. The lyrics are those of a child who realizes his mother is getting older and pays tribute to her for her strength, her courage and all that she has given her. For example, the lyrics say: “She rocked me, gave me the rhythm and undoubtedly the power of the will. She took nothing but gave everything” or “I will always walk towards you on rough roads”. “First I wrote it and dedicated it to my mother, whose name is Stefania,” explains Oleh Psiuk. Since the war, it has taken on a different meaning for Ukrainians. Some think of the motherland, others of their mother they miss. It is a song that speaks close to the hearts of my countrymen. †

“Every win is good for Ukraine”

An emotion that could transcend national and language borders at the Eurovision Song Contest, Stefania is sung entirely in Ukrainian. Its musical qualities, mixing rap and folk sounds, coupled with the possibility to vote as a sign of solidarity, make the Kalush Orchestra the big favorites to win in Turin on May 14, according to the bookmakers.

The group does not take the competition lightly. “We believe that every victory is good for Ukraine,” assures Oleh Psiuk 20 minutes† We want to show the world how good, authentic and original Ukrainian music can be and we want this music to be heard. †

Literally and figuratively, Eurovision is a way for Ukraine to participate in the great concert of European nations, to present itself as a country turned to the West. On Friday, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, handed over the documents to Ukrainian head of state Volodymyr Zelensky to apply for membership of the European Union (EU). Information that Oleh Psiuk sees with a good eye. “We Ukrainians have been dreaming of joining the EU for years,” he said. 20 minutes† We could also bring him because we are really united, open, we are good people. †

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