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Eurovision: Who is Ukraine’s entry Kalush Orchestra and what is their song’s meaning?

Following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been banned from the annual singing contest.

But despite the ongoing war in the country, Kalush Orchestra will represent Ukraine with their song Stefania.

So ahead of this year’s grand final, who is Kalush Orchestra and what’s the meaning behind their song?

Who is Ukraine’s Eurovision Song Contest 2022 entry?

Kalush Orchestra is a rap group made up of rapper Oleh Psiuk, multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk, dancer Vlad Kurochka, sopilka player Vitalii Duzhyk, and vocalists Tymofii Muzychuk and Oleksandr Slobodianyk.

They have been allowed to leave Ukraine despite being men of fighting age, who have to stay.

Kalush Orchestra combines traditional Ukrainian folk music with modern rap and hip hop.

The band said in an interview with Eurovision: “We’re showing off our roots, and we’re showing how to take something from the past and make it work for the present.

“That’s why we’ve found success at home, and we hope that we can find that sort of reception internationally, as well. We take something old, and we make it sound modern.”

What is the meaning behind Ukraine’s song Stefania?

Kalush Orchestra will compete with their song Stefania, which was written about Oleh’s mother, who heard it for the first time at the Ukrainian National Final.

The song is written in the band’s native Ukrainian, but the opening lyrics roughly translate to: “Stephanie mother, mother Stephanie/The field blooms, and it turns grey/Sing me a lullaby, mother/I want to hear your native word.”

Kalush Orchestra’s song Stefania was chosen for Eurovision before the conflict in Russia, but it has since taken on a deeper meaning, like one poignant line: “I‘ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed”.

Kalush Orchestra spoke to Eurovision about the conflict in Ukraine and said: “We feel a big responsibility, since we received permits to leave Ukraine to be here. We have a duty to be useful to our country at this moment.

“We didn’t have any opportunity to rehearse together for a long time, but now, we’ve gone into ‘extra mode’. We’re all very hard working, and we’re all doing what we can to make this happen.

“We’ve enjoyed seeing people singing our song, even if they didn’t know all the words. We really appreciate seeing people supporting Ukraine, and supporting us.”

Kalush Orchestra made it through the first semi-final of Eurovision on May 10, and will compete in the final on May 14.

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