Against the background of a brutal and illegal war in their homeland, Australian-Ukrainians feel uplifted today by the stunning, emotional victory of the Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Stephania”, dedicated to the mothers of Ukraine.
“In front of hundreds of millions of viewers from around the world, Kalush Orchestra’s victory offered an overwhelming show of popular support for Ukraine that went beyond the music,” said Mr Stefan Romaniw OAM, Co-Chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO).
“Viewers resoundingly sent a signal that Ukraine matters, Ukrainian culture exists and the values of freedom and peace reflect the world people want to live in,” said Mr Romaniw.
“Kalush Orchestra has shown the world that Ukrainian culture is well and truly rich and alive, by mixing traditional folk melodies and contemporary hip hop. This has become even more important as Russia tries to deny Ukrainians their own culture and identity,” said Mr Romaniw.
“We also applaud Kalush Orchestra’s front man, Oleg Psiuk, for his impassioned plea to free the remaining Ukrainian defenders trapped by Russian forces beneath the Azovstal plant. We need the support of the world to help Ukraine in this bitter struggle to release the fighters,” said Mr Romaniw.
“We join Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in looking forward to next year’s contest being held in Mariupol, and his call to the world to help Ukraine ensure Mariupol can be free, peaceful, and eventually rebuilt!”
The Australian-Ukrainian community also congratulate singer Sheldon Riley for securing Australia a place in the semi-final and delivering a moving performance of his song “Not the Same”.