Ukraine band favored in Eurovision Song Contest final

MILAN – Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra and its participants’ folk-hip hop anthem to their war-torn country is the oddsmaker’s favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest, an match supposed to rejoice variety and advertise friendship amongst international locations.

Twenty-five bands are set to compete Saturday within the grand ultimate of the once a year songwriting contest. It’s going down in northern Italy’s commercial town of Turin. Last 12 months, 183 million other people watched the televised festival.

For the Ukrainian group in Italy, Kalush Orchestra’s participation in one of these massively fashionable world match places crucial highlight on Ukrainian tradition whilst offering a platform to stay world consideration desirous about Russia’s invasion and battle in Ukraine.

About 50 other people created a flash mob when Kalush Orchestra gave the impression on an outside level in Turin this week, amplifying world requires lend a hand getting final civilians and warring parties out of a metal plant that’s the ultimate Ukrainian holdout within the southern town of Mariupol.


“We see Eurovision as an international event where the presence of Ukraine and Ukrainian culture is very important,’’ said Zoia Stankovska, a Milan-based lawyer who helped organize the flash mob. “At the moment, Eurovision is also a place where our voice is being heard.’’

Kalush Orchestra’s Eurovision entry “Stefania” was written as the frontman’s tribute to his mother but has become an anthem to the motherland since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The song is a mashup of traditional Ukrainian folk music and contemporary hip hop elements — a trend in Ukrainian music especially since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea — and offers an especially strong message against Russia’s false assertion that Ukrainian culture is not unique, Stankovska said.

The band’s success is serving as a sort of morale booster for Ukrainians living in Italy, Stankovska said. “When you have such terrible things going on, to have some good news is something really helpful,″ she said.


Italy is hosting Eurovision this year because the Rome-based glam rock band Maneskin won last year’s contest. On the day after Russian invaded Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union said Russia would not be allowed an entry in the contest.

For Saturday’s final, 20 winners from the semifinals held on Tuesday and Thursday will join bands from the so-called big five of Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Britain.

While Kalush Orchestra is the sentimental favorite, receiving the most enthusiastic response from Wednesday’s open-air audience, the final decision is split between a professional jury and the viewing public.

Ukraine won twice before, in 2004 and 2016.

If Ukraine wins this year, Stockholm is offering to host next year’s event in case the war is still going on then.


“This is a way to continue to show support,” Stockholm Mayor Anna König Jerlmyr informed Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “We want Ukraine to know that they are welcome to arrange the competition in Stockholm, if needed.”


Luca Bruno in Turin, Italy, and Jan Olsen in Copenhagen contributed.


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