From our special correspondent in Amsterdam (Netherlands),
“It is very important for us to seize the opportunity to represent our country and be of as much use to it as possible. It is essential that Ukraine is not forgotten,” he told 20 minutes who meets him in Amsterdam (Netherlands). Looking serious, barely brightened by the pink bob which he never separates and which covers part of his eyes, Oleh Psiuk, this Saturday continues interviews with the international media to which, via his translator, he more or less repeats the same things.
The rapper and the members of his group, Kalush Orchestra, obtained last week a special authorization from the Ukrainian State to leave the territory and take part in the promotional concerts organized ahead of Eurovision where, in a month, they will defend Ukrainian chances.
A QR Code to collect donations
This is an opportunity for them to speak for their country at war. “We want to encourage everyone to help us end the war as soon as possible. The more people speak out, the more they will motivate their decision-makers to act, the sooner the war will end”, pleads Oleh Psiuk, from microphone to microphone.
On Monday, the Kalush Orchestra arrived in Tel Aviv to Call of Israelan event spanning several days and culminating on Thursday with a major concert bringing together twenty-four of the forty artists in the running for Eurovision 2022. In the meantime, they passed through the headquarters of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem, where they performed two songs in front of an audience of young Ukrainian refugees.
On Friday, it was on Dutch television that the Ukrainian group was invited. The next day, he appeared at Eurovision In Concert, at AFAS Live in Amsterdam. In front of the cosmopolitan crowd, in which there were spectators from, among others, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Ireland or France, the Ukrainians sang their title for the competition while , in the background, the QR Code referring to the site set up to collect donations for Ukraine.
“Ukrainian musicians are very united, very active”
Since the beginning of the war, on February 24, the members of Kalush Orchestra have mobilized in their own way. Oleh Psiuk thus created an organization to collect and distribute food, medicine and clothing to people in need.
Social networks, hitherto intended for promotion, have become privileged channels to alert on the situation in Ukraine, to disseminate information, to federate solidarity. “Ukrainian musicians are very united, very active”, underlines the rapper with 20 minutes. “Some write committed, relevant songs,” he adds, making it clear that artistic creation has not been put on hold by the Russian invasion.
StephanieKalush Orchestra’s song for Eurovision, it has taken on a symbolic dimension over the weeks. The lyrics are those of a child realizing that his mother is aging and paying tribute to her for her strength, her courage and all that she has given her. The text says, for example: “She rocked me, gave me the rhythm and undoubtedly the power of the will. She took nothing, but gave everything” or “I will always walk towards you through rough roads”. “At first, I wrote it and dedicated it to my mother, whose name is Stefania, explains Oleh Psiuk. Since the war, it has taken on another meaning for Ukrainians. Some think of the Motherland, others of their mother who they miss. It is a song that speaks closely to the hearts of my compatriots. »
“Any victory is good for Ukraine”
An emotion which, at Eurovision, could well transcend land and linguistic borders, Stephanie is sung entirely in Ukrainian. Its musical qualities, mixing rap and folk sounds, coupled with the possibility of votes as a sign of solidarity, make the Kalush Orchestra the big favorites to win in Turin on May 14, according to the bookmakers.
The group does not take the contest lightly. “We believe that any victory is good for Ukraine, assures Oleh Psiuk to 20 minutes. We want to show the world how good, authentic and original Ukrainian music can be and we want this music to be heard. »
Literally, as well as figuratively, Eurovision is for Ukraine a way of taking part in the great concert of European nations, of presenting itself as a country turned towards the West. On Friday, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, gave the Ukrainian Head of State Volodymyr Zelensky the documents to apply for membership of the European Union (EU). Information that Oleh Psiuk sees with a good eye. “We Ukrainians have had this dream for years of joining the EU,” he said. 20 minutes. We could also bring him because we are really united, open, we are good people. »