Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra performed an impromptu performance of their Eurovision-winning song Stefania at the Polish border as they returned home on Monday.
The group, whose music mixes traditional folk and hip-hop, were presented with blue and yellow flowers as they were greeted at the border by military personnel, before breaking into song.
Stefania had been among the favorites to win the Eurovision Song Contest in the northern Italian city of Turin, but the decisive victory came from the public, with 439 points from the public vote placing the band first. place among the 25 finalists.
The song, which includes the lyrics: “I will always find the way back, even if all the roads are destroyed”, was written by leader Oleh Psiuk as a tribute to his mother, before finding new resonance among Ukrainians in becoming a hymn. in their war-torn country.
In an interview on Italian television on Sunday evening, Psiuk, who turned 28 on Monday, became emotional when speaking of his mother: “She stayed up until 3 a.m. to cheer us on,” he said. declared. “In our city, Kalush, the sirens sound four times a day, nothing like anywhere else.”
Kalush Orchestra, a group of six, received special permission to travel to the 66th Eurovision Song Contest – they traveled overland to Poland, before flying to Turin – although a member of the group remained in Ukraine to fight.
Psiuk said that upon returning home they would take off their stage outfits and wear Ukrainian resistance uniforms. “Like all Ukrainians, we are ready to fight as long as it takes,” he added.
He pleaded for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest to be staged in the beleaguered city of Mariupol.