With their infectious musical fusion of roots and rhythm, Ukrainian folks hiphop band Kalush Orchestra is using a wave of goodwill on the Eurovision Track Contest this year-while eyeing the competition’s high prize. Tapping conventional Ukrainian folks music however mashing up an invigorating hiphop beat with a haunting, lullaby chorus, “Stefania” was written final yr by the band’s frontman, 27-year-old rapper Oleh Psiuk, as a tribute to his mom. However the track chosen to characterize Ukraine at Eurovision-just days earlier than Russia’s invasion-has taken on outsized which means for a rustic nearing its third month of conflict. It incorporates nostalgic lyrics resembling “I’ll at all times discover my approach house even when all of the roads are destroyed” and celebrates cultural identification and the motherland.
Standing out within the competitors lengthy cheered for its flamboyance and camp, the band obtained a standing ovation on Tuesday after passing the semifinals. It’s thought of by bookmakers a favorite to turn into Eurovision’s outright winner on the finale on Saturday. “My mum is in Ukraine and plenty of of my kinfolk are in Ukraine however there’s actually no secure place in Ukraine in the mean time,” Psiuk advised AFP by means of an interpreter. “It’s actually like a lottery, the place you can’t know the place precisely you’ll get at risk. So we’re very apprehensive about everybody and our kinfolk which are in Ukraine.”
Such worries have fuelled the band’s drive throughout Eurovision, he stated. “We really feel right here as if on a mission as a result of in the mean time, as we communicate, Ukrainian tradition is being destroyed,” Psiuk stated. “However it’s our function to indicate it’s alive and it has so much to supply. It’s distinctive. It actually represents each Ukrainian who’s now struggling on this planet as we speak.”
Flutes and fusion
Though thought of nonpolitical, the world’s largest track contest, watched by hundreds of thousands of individuals, inevitably displays larger geopolitical tensions. This yr, the European Broadcasting Union banned Russia from the competition a day after it invaded Ukraine on February 24. Russia had competed in Eurovision since 1994. Maybe probably the most authentic and energizing act at this yr’s competitors, the six-member all-male Kalush Orchestra sprang from Psiuk’s authentic hiphop group Kalush, named for his hometown in western Ukraine. The band is made up of Psiuk, Ihor Didenchuk, Tymofii Muzychuk, Vitalii Duzhyk, Oleksandr Slobodianyk and MC KylymMen (“CarpetMan”).
Its new sound incorporates conventional folks devices, together with the telenka, which is performed with one hand controlling the pipe’s open finish, and one other flute-like instrument, the sopilka. Performing in richly embroidered conventional garb, the band can also be immediately recognizable for Psiuk’s bubblegum pink bucket hat and the carpet-like bodysuit worn by the breakdancing MC CarpetMan. However it’s Kalush Orchestra’s sound that makes the band distinctive. It “mixes previous historic folks, even forgotten sounds, with tremendous trendy and understandable-for-everyone hiphop rap components”, Psiuk advised journalists final week.
To win Eurovision, Kalush Orchestra should be chosen above 24 different finalists competing on Saturday. Votes are solid by a mixture of music trade professionals and the general public from every country-who will not be allowed to vote for their very own nation. Had been Ukraine to win, subsequent yr’s Eurovision could be held within the nation, which Psiuk vowed could be a “new, built-in, properly developed, flourishing Ukraine”.
Though one band member who joined the military three days after the invasion stays in Ukraine defending Kyiv, Ukraine’s authorities gave the group particular dispensation to journey overseas to compete at Eurovision. “That’s why we wish to be as helpful to our nation as we might be,” Psiuk advised journalists. “Representing your nation is accountable anytime however representing it in a time of conflict is… a most accountability for us.” Psiuk says the band will return to Ukraine immediately after Eurovision. As their press launch written forward of the competition explains: “They are going to be allowed to go away for the ultimate on 14th Might however should return as males of combating age the day after.” – AFP