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Ukraine’s Eurovision 2022 song entry – explained

What is the meaning behind Ukraine's Eurovision song and who are the Kalush Orchestra?

By Adrian Bradley

On 10 May Ukraine qualified for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest after an emotional semi-final performance received strong support from the crowd in Turin, the city hosting the contest.

Eurovision 2022 is taking place against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia has been banned from taking part and Ukraine is now the bookies’ favourite to win.

Why has the public responded so well to Ukraine’s entry? Here is everything you need to know about the song ahead of the Eurovision final on 14 May.

Who is Ukraine’s entry to Eurovision?

This year Ukraine is represented by Kalush Orchestra, a six-piece rap and folk group formed by members of the rap group Kalush. The group is named after its founder Oleh Psiuk’s home town in the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast of western Ukraine. 

Kalush Orchestra’s song, “Stefania”, is an ode to mothers that combines rap with traditional Ukrainian folk music. It is sung entirely in Ukrainian, making this only the second time a song in the language has appeared at the contest.

What are the lyrics for Ukraine’s song?

The song is dedicated to Psiuk’s mother, Stefania. The lyrics are a nostalgic recollection of the good times shared between a mother and her son, who belatedly realises how much she’s done for him:

Mother, Stefania
Stefania, mother
The field is blooming
But her hair is getting grey
Mother, sing me the lullaby
I want to hear your dear word

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What is the meaning behind the song?

Psiuk says that although the song was written as a tribute to his mother, the war has given it new meaning. As a result of the invasion it has connected with many Ukrainians, who see it as a metaphor for Ukraine protecting its “children”.

Who are the members of the Kalush Orchestra?

There are six members of Kalush Orchestra. Psiuk is joined by the two other members of Kalush, the multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk and the dancer Vlad Kurochka. Then there are the folk singers Tymofii Muzychuk, Vitalii Duzhyk and Dzhonni Dyvnyy.

Who is the favourite to win Eurovision?

Ukraine is odds-on favourite to win, with Italy, Sweden and the UK also expected to do well.

How can I watch the final?

The Eurovision final will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on 14 May 2022 at 8pm. It will also be available to watch on demand on BBC iPlayer and the Eurovision YouTube channel after the event.

[See also: How Ukraine and the UK triumphed at Eurovision]

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