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At Eurovision 2022, the Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra took center stage in Turin, Italy

At Eurovision 2022, the Ukrainian Kalush Orchestra took center stage in Turin, Italy
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When Ukrainian singer Oleh Psiuk first wrote the popular rap song “Stefania,” he had no idea that the song, which originally paid tribute to his mother, would end up becoming a popular wartime poem in Ukraine.

But now Stefania, performed by the Psiuk Kalush Orchestra, is the favorite to win Eurovision 2022, the world’s largest television music competition. The band performed the song during the first round of the competition’s semi-finals Tuesday night in Turin, Italy, and it was one of 10 acts Qualified for the Grand Final later this week.

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“Rap, flute ring, bucket hat, break dance, shiny bra. We’ll never be as cool as Kalush Orchestra, Eurovision Twitter account Posted Tuesday After the band’s performance.

Ciuk, 27, stroked his signature pink hat while a teammate played the Ukrainian flute.

He sang: “I will always find my way home, even if I destroy all roads.” “And the strength of my will cannot be taken from me, because it was given to me.”

Psiuk said Stefania’s words resonate with Ukrainians suffering from the suffering caused by the Russian war.

“Some of the things here were written long before the war, and they were meant for my mom,” he said For the Associated Press. “After it all began with war and hostilities, it acquired an additional meaning, and many people began to see it as their mother, Ukraine, in the sense of the state.”

Ukraine has banned most men between the ages of 18 and 60 from leaving the country, but authorities have given Psiuk and his bandmates special permission to travel to Italy for the competition.

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If the Kalush Orchestra – which blends hip-hop music with Ukrainian folk dance – wins the Eurovision final on Saturday, Ukraine has the right to host the 2023 competition. The competition, first held in 1956, is attracting audience votes, and while its organizers in a union described it as European broadcasting as a “non-political” event, they often reflect the political dynamics of the time.

In fact, the band replaced Ukraine’s original act, Alina Bash, earlier this year due to an investigation into Bash’s 2015 visit to Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014. After the Kremlin launched its war on Ukraine, Russia was blocking From this year’s competition.

In 2016, Ukraine’s entry to the Crimean Tatar singer Jamala recorded her second victory in the Eurovision contest. When the competition was held the following year in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Russia was barred from joining.

Armenia and Georgia have been among the contenders who have pulled out in past years due to tensions with other countries, while the win of Austrian bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst in 2014 sparked debates over LGBT rights.

Annabelle Chapman contributed to this report.