Kalush Orchestra, the folk-rap group representing Ukraine, has won the annual Eurovision Song Contest. The group’s song, “Stefania”, rode to the title on a wave of global goodwill amid the eastern European nation’s ongoing fight against invading Russian forces.
The famously lavish, campy spectacle of the Eurovision, which took place in Turin, Italy following a victory by Italian punk outfit Maneskin in 2021, stood in stark contrast to the violence that persists in Ukraine as the Russian offensive continues. Despite stiff competition from the United Kingdom’s Sam Ryder and Spain’s Chanel, the jury and the voters at home were on the side of solidarity, with many Ukrainian flags dotting the audience during the show and cheers coming in at a noticeably higher volume for Kalush Orchestra’s appearances.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky took to social media to celebrate the victory. “Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he said in Ukrainian.
He also exuded a hopeful sentiment as he referenced the fact that the winning country traditionally hosts the following year’s competition. “Next year Ukraine will host Eurovision! For the third time in its history. And, I believe, not the last,” he continued. “We will do our best to one day host the participants and guests of Eurovision in Ukrainian Mariupol. Free, peaceful, rebuilt!”
As CNN notes, “Kalush Orchestra initially finished second in Ukraine’s qualifying competitions but was elevated after it emerged that the winner had previously traveled to Russian-annexed Crimea. The group was unveiled as the country’s entry on February 22nd, two days before Russian troops invaded Ukraine.”
Listen to the Eurovision-winning “Stefania” by Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra and view Zelensky’s full post below.
Kalush Orchestra (Ukraine) – “Stefania” (Official Music Video) – Eurovision Song Contest
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