A few days before the Eurovision final, Oleh Psiuk, the leader of Kalush Orchestra, the group that represents Ukraine in the competition, was invited on BFMTV.
They walked on Tuesday evening the famous turquoise carpet of Eurovision, in Turin. The group Kalush Orchestra, was selected in the first semi-final of the competition with its song Stefania, mixing rap and traditional Ukrainian song. They are also contest favourites.
Oleh Psiuk, singer of the group, wearing his eternal pink bob, answered by Skype questions from Bruce Toussaint on BFMTV. He first wanted to “thank all those who [les] supported, all Europeans, all the countries that voted for [eux]”.
“We are here to demonstrate that Ukrainian culture is very much alive, authentically strong,” he added.
“We couldn’t leave the country”
The Ukrainian candidates had, due to the dramatic situation in their country, a chaotic course in the competition. A few weeks ago they did not know if they could go to Turin.
“For a while we couldn’t leave the country. We received special permission, and after the competition, we must return to our country,” says Oleh Psiuk.
One of the dancers of the group, engaged in territorial defense, could not join them to participate in Eurovision, and was replaced. Oleh Psiuk himself leads a group of volunteers who distribute medicines in Ukraine.
The rehearsals were also quite complicated, as the band members weren’t together when the war broke out.
“The war found us in different cities. For a while we couldn’t get together. When we got together, we were in ‘extra-catch-up’ mode. But I think we’re ready to face the competition on Saturday!”
“Many Ukrainians identify with this song”
“I wrote this song, Stefania, for my mother, long before the war. but after the war, it took on a very special dimension, because it is also dedicated to my mother Ukraine. And a lot of people identify with this song,” he explains.
“I hope that Ukraine will be proud of our participation in the final. Above all, I hope that Ukrainian music can conquer hearts, because it leaves something on souls.”