Eurovision 2022 winners: who are Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra - members and meaning behind winning song Stefania
Ukraine’s song Stefania has taken on new meaning since the Russian invasion
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Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra have won the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, with their entry song Stefania.
Set in Turin, Italy after Måneskin’s victory in Rotterdam, the hip-hop group won the song contest by an additional 150 points.
The UK’s Sam Ryder came in a respectable second place, breaking the spell of bad luck for UK acts, who haven’t won the contest since 1997.
It was reported by Reuters News Agency that the band sold their trophy for £712,000 in a Facebook auction to raise money for the Ukrainian army.
Here’s everything you need to know about Kalush Orchestra and if Eurovision 2023 will be coming to Kyiv.
Who are Kalush Orchestra?
The Ukrainian rap group formed in 2019 and are 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 mix rap with traditional Ukrainian folk music, for a unique sound that showcases Ukrainian culture and heritage with a modern twist.
Kalush Orchestra were not the first choice for Ukraine at Eurovision, they came in second in the nation’s selection process, losing out to Alina Pash.
However, they were subsequently offered first prize in February after news broke that Pash had travelled to the annexed region of Crimea.
Talking to Eurovision about their music, they said: “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.”
Who is Oleh Psiuk?
Oleg Psiuk is a songwriter and rapper from Ukraine who is a member of the rap group Kalush Orchestra.
Psiuk wrote their Eurovision song Stefania in honour of his mother and to raise awareness of Ukrainian culture and language on a national platform.
In the wake of the war in Ukraine the lyrics have come to symbolise something else, specifically the lyric, “I‘ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed”.
What was Ukraine’s Eurovision song?
Ukraine’s winning Eurovision song Stefania was written by Psiuk to honour his mother.
However in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the words have new meaning.
Speaking to Eurovision they 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.”
In Ukraine men aged 18-60 are unable to leave the country without a valid reason.
Some members of the band could not make the contest, instead staying behind to serve with the Ukrainian territorial forces.
Why did Kalush Orchestra sell their Eurovision trophy?
It was reported by Reuters News Agency that Kalush Orchestra auctioned off their Eurovision trophy on Facebook in an effort to raise money for the war in Ukraine.
The auction, which was hosted by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula on 28 May has raised £712,000.
The group have said the money will go towards buying three PD-2 drones for the Ukrainian army.
Will Eurovision 2023 be held in Ukraine?
There has been speculation about whether Ukraine will be able to host the song contest after winning the competition.
However, Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky took to Instagram to reiterate that Eurovision 2023 will be held in the country.
Zelensky said: “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision!
“We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt!”