Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra hope to take the Eurovision 2022 stage in Turin in May. However, as Russia continues its brutal war in Ukraine, the musicians have far more important things on their mind than rehearsing their song “Stefania”. In an interview with Dutch site nu.nl, frontman Oleh Psiuk described their current situation.
Ukraine has been dealing with a bloody and brutal invasion launched by Russia (and with assistance from Belarus) over the past month. With millions of refugees fleeing the country and billions of euros worth of damage from east to west, the war has reversed the country’s progress and development — with some saying Ukraine has been set back by centuries.
When the country still enjoyed peace, just a few weeks before the military offensive started, the public broadcaster appointed Kalush Orchestra as the country’s Eurovision 2022 representatives. Their preparations were halted by the war. Member MC Kilimmen went to protect Kyiv as part of the territorial defence and the other members went to volunteer.
Speaking to nu.nl, Oleh Psiuk stated that the group nevertheless hope to continue their Eurovision journey:
“We are all now occupied by other things, because the most important thing is to help our country now. We do that as well as we can, in all kinds of different ways. I have my own organisation for volunteers and with about thirty others, we try to help others as well as possible. We look for medicines, gather food and help people who fled to the Western part of Ukraine to search for safe accommodation. One of our band members is now part of the territorial defence. We do what we can, all in our way.”
“I don’t think it will have consequences for our performance. We are just very handsome men, so it will be fine (smiles). It would be great if we could come together and rehearse on a daily basis, but that’s not the case. However, I know that when we see each other again, it will be good instantly. Then we will rehearse continuously and we will reach the level we are used to.”
The group has been topping the betting odds over the past few weeks. Aware of that, Oleh Psiuk told nu.nl:
“Before that, we were also in the top five, so outside of the situation, we were also doing well. We know that we have a good song, that we can come together, we have a good performance and that we are incredibly creative. We think that that will have the most impact.”
“I don’t know at the moment how it will go. But we have strong hope it will work out. Then we leave shortly and we come back immediately.”