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Every act that hits the stage at Eurovision has its ups and downs before reaching international broadcast, but few have had to follow the path Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra has managed since its national final.

The popular group arrived here in Turin with Stephanie and are now ready to show the world the mix of modern rap and classic Ukrainian folk that has made them true hitmakers back home.

The Kalush Orchestra from Ukraine rehearsed its song Stefania for the first time at the PalaOlimpicoEBU / Andres Putting

The original trio of performers that make up the Kalush band (rapper Oleh Psiuk, multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk and dancer Vlad Kurochka) are joined by sopilka player Vitalii Duzhyk and singers Tymofii Muzychuk and Oleksandr Slobodianyk to create Kalush Orchestra . The band relish the chance to show off their unique style, and will do so on a stage that incorporates the blue and yellow of their national flag alongside other decorative designs that evoke the country’s traditional art:

We show our roots, and we show how to take something from the past and make it work for the present. That’s why we’ve had success at home, and we hope we can find that kind of reception abroad as well. We take something old and make it modern.

📺 Watch: Kalush Orchestra – Stefania (Eurovision House Party)

Eagle-eyed Eurovision fans might recognize Ihor Didenchuk, as he doubles as a member of Go_A, the band that represented Ukraine last year with shum, an entry that also highlighted the mix of folk music and current genres. Igor’s advice for his fellow Kalush Orchestra?

The most important thing is to act sincerely, from the bottom of your heart.

Stephanie was written to honor Oleg’s mother, who first heard the song when it was performed live at the Ukrainian national final. Since then, however, the lyrics have taken on new meaning, especially lines like “I’ll always find my way back, even if all the roads are destroyed”.

The Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine rehearsed their song ‘Stefania’ for the first time at the PalaOlimpico.EBU / Andres Putting

At a time when Ukraine is facing so many difficulties, the members of Kalush Orchestra feel they are supporting their country in a unique way, sharing their culture and language on a massive platform like Eurovision:

We feel a great responsibility, since we received permits to leave Ukraine to be here. We have a duty to be useful to our country at this time. We didn’t have the opportunity to rehearse together for a long time, but now we have gone into “extra mode”. We are all working very hard and doing all we can to make this happen. We loved seeing people sing our song, even though they didn’t know all the words. We really appreciate seeing people supporting Ukraine and supporting us.

The Kalush Orchestra of Ukraine prepares to rehearse at the PalaOlimpico.EBU / Nathan Reinds

Be sure to check out Ukraine’s performance Stephanie during the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, on May 10.

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