Following their second rehearsal for Eurovision 2022, Rory had the chance to speak to Oleh Psiuk, lead singer of Kalush Orchestra. The band will represent Ukraine at the Contest with their song “Stefania”. They discuss how their rehearsals went, the inspiration behind their iconic costumes and the need to represent their country on such a big stage.
- Hi guys! How are you doing? How has your time in Turin been so far?
Holding on! We feel the incredible support of the world community. We are actively preparing for the performances, we have already held two rehearsals. We try to communicate with local and other countries media as much as we can. Very tight schedule actually. But we have already tasted Italian coffee.
- What has it been like rehearsing on the stage for the first time? How has it been to rehearse in a room together after spending so much time apart?
In fact, before that we also managed to hold the first rehearsal in Ukraine. For a long time there was no such opportunity to meet physically in Ukraine, so we rehearsed online. Then the whole group gathered in Lviv to spend our first rehearsal finally together offline.
Of course, the preparations for Eurovision-2022 were challenging for us because of this war, but we are doing our best to bring the best performance for you.
We are very glad to have such an opportunity to gather on this world stage in Turin and represent our country. Very soon you will see the result of our efforts and rehearsals.
- After being on the stage twice now, what are you making of your performance, are there any tweaks you feel you need to change?
As you have already noticed, our costumes and stage design have completely changed. The screen content is focused on the limitless universe, with its vast coldness and emptiness, but it becomes alive in the light of Kalush Orchestra’s motherland – Ukraine. And. the core elements used on stage are mother’s eyes, filled with tears because of the lost spring, and her hands that protect the yellow-and-blue universe. Wait and see for yourself.
- Can you tell us a bit about your outfits and what they signify? Is it rooted in Ukrainian culture or is it an elevation of what we saw in Vidbir?
The main message of the staging is unconditional mother’s love that revives the universe and gives life. Different symbolic images of the mothers are used on screens: the cosmic that gives life to everything on the Earth; the physical that gives birth and cares for her children; and the spiritual that protects and inspires us.
“Stefania” staging shows bravery and the strength of Ukrainian spirit as well as unique and rich culture that is under attack now. The stage costumes reinforce this message and pay tribute to Ukrainian roots.
Lead vocalists of Kalush Orchestra are dressed in real Ukrainian historical costumes from the early 20th century: I am wearing an authentic festive keptar, a vest from Hutsul, an ethnic group living in the Carpathian Mountains, and Tymofiy is in the full costume of the same traditional origin.
- Ukraine is one of the favourites to win the Contest. Does it add pressure to the performance you are preparing?
Representing Ukraine in this time – is very responsible. We are now another voice of Ukraine. Although this is a music competition, we show our aesthetics, our culture. This is another info story about Ukraine, so that everyone remembers that we are.
- How important is it to you to represent Ukraine in such a tumultuous time in the country’s history?
Participating in the Eurovision is an opportunity to present our culture at the international level and show the strength of the Ukrainian spirit and bravery in the music arena as well.
Our mission in the Contest is to be the voice of Ukrainian people and to make Ukrainian music popular not only in Ukraine but all over the world.
And we want to show Ukrainians on Eurovision night that they are not alone, that all Europe is watching us fighting in this brutal war and supporting us. That there is no other way, we will win.
- Have you seen much support from the other artists? Have you made any friends?
During the promotional tour we were getting along well with most of the guys. Still I should say It was nice to meet Lauri Ylonen, the leader of The Rasmus, in person. Everyone has probably heard their songs, and now we are performing on the same stage. Also, it is very nice that the guys from The Rasmus really support Ukraine.
What is the one message you would like to share with our readers at ‘That Eurovision Site’?
Don’t pretend that the war in Ukraine that is happening now is a distant movie you are watching. Something that is far away. Ukraine is the center of Europe, and this brutal war is happening exactly there. When you wake up and hear explosions. When you don’t know if your parents, your friends, your relatives are still alive. This experience drives you crazy, it destroys your mental health. The faster we come together, the more people will help, the faster the war will end. And not spread to other countries.
We would like to thank Oleh Psiuk and Kalush Orchestra for their time and would like to wish them the best of luck for their semi-final performance.
Ukraine’s Eurovision journey
Ukraine is one of the most successful countries to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. The country has scored seven top-five placements, with an extra three top-ten finishes. Ukraine won the Contest in 2004 with Ruslana’s “Wild Dances” and again in 2016 with Jamala’s “1944”. Jamala’s win made history for Ukraine, as it became the first ex-Soviet country to win the Contest more than once.
In 2021, Go_A represented Ukraine in the 65th edition of the Contest with their song “SHUM”. The band scored 364 points, finishing in fifth place.
What do you think of Kalush Orchestra’s song for Eurovision? Do you think Ukraine will qualify for the final? Where does ‘Stefania’ finish in your rankings? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below! As well as this, be sure to follow ‘That Eurovision Site’ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for all things Eurovision 2022!
News Source: That Eurovision Site
Photo Credit: EBU / Corinne Cumming