May 15, 2022
I’ll always find my way home, even if the roads are destroyed.The Ukrainian rap and folk band Kalush Orchestra in their song “Stefania,” which won first place at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The song, written in honor of the mother of the group’s lead singer, has been reinterpreted during the war as a tribute to Ukraine as a motherland.
- Why It Matters: Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra won Eurovision 2022, receiving record amounts of votes from national juries and viewers at home. The win demonstrated Europe’s unified support for Ukraine and its culture as the war with Russia continues.
- Background: Eurovision is the world’s largest live music competition; 40 countries participated in this year’s competition, with over 200 million people watching. Past winners include well-known names such as Abba and Celine Dion.
- Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra is a six-member, all-male band. They were given special permission to attend the contest this year (though one of the original members stayed behind to fight) and must return Monday (two days after their victory). Most Ukrainian men ages 18-60 are barred from leaving the country in case they are needed to aid in the war effort.
- It’s traditional for the winning country to host the following year’s competition. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine “will do our best” to host in Mariupol, which is largely occupied by Russian forces. President Zelensky also added to a post on Telegram: “I am sure our victorious chord in the battle with the enemy is not far off.”
Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra wins Eurovision amid war (Associated Press)
Ukraine wins the Eurovision Song Contest (New York Times)
by Jenna Lee,