The Eurovision final kicks off in Turin, Italy after two semi-finals during the week. Ukraine has now secured its place in the grand final after storming through the semi-finals. The country’s entrant Kalush Orchestra and their song Stefania are being touted as favourites to win.
What does Ukraine’s Eurovision song Stefania mean?
Kalush Orchestra blends together traditional Ukrainian folk music with modern rap and hip hop to create a unique sound.
The group consists of rapper Oleh Psiuk, multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk, dancer Vlad Kurochka, sopilka player Vitalii Duzhyk, and vocalists Tymofii Muzychuk and Oleksandr Slobodianyk.
The track is performed in the group’s native Ukrainian and was written in honour of member Oleh’s mother Stefania.
She is said to have heard the song for the first time live at the Ukrainian National Final earlier this year when Kalush Orchestra was selected to represent the country.
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The song starts: “Mother Stephania Stephania mother/The field is blooming, but her hair is getting grey/Mother, sing me the lullaby I want to hear your dear word.”
Stefania starts off reminiscing about being a child and being raised by their mother and then focusing on the present-day when she has now aged with “grey hair”.
According to wiwibloggs, “lullaby” is a key phrase in the song and harks back to good memories, while “lyuli lyuli lyuli” at the end of the rap verse is said to be a classic Slavic folk lullaby.
Oleh even shared a sweet shot with his mother to mark Mothers’ Day recently on Instagram, captioning the post: “Yo, today is Mother’s day! My mom Stefania is next to me. Take a picture with your mom, tag our page @kalush.official, and I will repost.”
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Kalush Orchestra has spoken about representing Ukraine at a time of great difficulty, saying: “We feel a big responsibility, since we received permits to leave Ukraine to be here. We have a duty to be useful to our country at this moment.
“We didn’t have any opportunity to rehearse together for a long time, but now, we’ve gone into ‘extra mode’.
“We’re all very hard working, and we’re all doing what we can to make this happen.
“We’ve enjoyed seeing people singing our song, even if they didn’t know all the words.”
They added: “We really appreciate seeing people supporting Ukraine, and supporting us.”
As well as their unique sound, Kalush Orchestra has a distinct look reflecting their Ukrainian heritage.
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Some members of the group dress in traditional Ukrainian attire while other members mix modern clothes with items from the past.
The now-familiar colours of the Ukrainian flag are very much present in their clothing.
Member Igor said: “The most important thing is to perform sincerely, from the bottom of your heart.”
The band is hoping to support Ukraine through their performances and posted on Instagram: “Today is the first semi final. We will give to the maximum.”
The Eurovision Song Contest 2022 semi-final 2 will be airing on BBC Three on tonight at 8pm.
The Eurovision Song Contest grand final will air on BBC One on Saturday, May 14 at 8pm