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In the spotlight: Kalush Orchestra

Eurovision week has arrived. Tomorrow night is  the first semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. One of the contenders for the win this Saturday is Ukraine, which is represented by the group Kalush Orchestra. But who are they?

Kalush Orchestra is a Ukrainian rap group that was founded in 2019 as Kalush. The group consists of founder and rapper Oleh Psiuk, multi-instrumentalist Igor Didenchuk, and DJ MC Kilimmen. Didenchuk is also a member of electro-folk band Go_A, which took part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2021.

Kalush was founded in 2019 and named after Psiuk’s place of birth, Kalush (Калуш) in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. (An oblast is an administrative unit, comparable to a province)

Kalush Orchestra on during the Turquois Carpet Ceremony

The band’s first music video, for the song ‘Ne marynui’ (Не маринуй), was released on October 17, 2019.

The clip’s director, Delta Arthur, directed previously many music videos of Ukrainian rapper Alyona Alyona. The video was shot on the streets of Kalush.

After the release of their second music video ‘Ty honysh’ (Ти гониш) in November 2019, Kalush signed a recording contract with American hip-hop label Def Jam Recordings. The debut album Hotin was released on February 19, 2021, followed by the successor Yo-yo (Йо-йо) on July 21, 2021. The latter record was made by the band with rapper Skofka.

The band announced the launch of a parallel project called Kalush Orchestra in 2021. This project doesn’t solely focus on rap, but rather on a mix of rap with folk motifs and Ukrainian traditional music. The core members of Kalush are joined for this project by multi-instrumentalists Tymofii Muzychuk and Vitalii Duzhyk.

Kalush Orchestra took part in the preliminaries for the Eurovision Song Contest on February 12, 2022.

They did this with the song ‘Stefania’. They finished in second place, after rapper Alina Pasj. After controversy arose over Pash’s visit to Crimea, she was forced to withdraw. As a result we will see Kalush Orchestra on stage at the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin, Italy.

We are confident that Kalush will qualify for the final tomorrow. But will they also win? Who knows. In any case, we wish Kalush Orchestra every success!


Photo credits: EBU





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