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Kalush Orchestra perform first UK gig at Glastonbury Festival – with set written in just days 

Kalush Orchestra, Eurovision winner for war-torn Ukraine, performed their first UK gig at Glastonbury Festival.

Folk rap group Shangri-La opened their set on Saturday morning at Shangri-La’s Truth Stage with 13 songs. Twelve of these were written in a matter of 10 days according to their team.

Their setlist included the crowd-pleasing Stephania, which became an anthem for their country after their victory at the Eurovision Festival. It was also played as their final track due in part to popular demand.

The band, who had just weeks prior to their Eurovision victory in Turin, were fighting in Ukraine’s resistance against Russia.


The band posted a photo of themselves outside Big Ben in London on the morning of their performance, along with the message “Yo, today, we perform at one the largest festivals in the world @glastofest. We will be performing at the same event as @billieeilish & @kendricklamar. Every day, we visit a different country and city but always receive the same feedback: “Boys of Ukraine performed the coolest.” Next – More …”

On stage, rapper Oleh Psiuk (in his trademark pink bucket hat), multi-instrumentalist Ihor Didenchuk, and dancer Vlad Kurochka led the collective, who sang largely in Ukrainian, with some English language lines and raps. On stage, a translator was also present.

Despite only one song being known by the crowd (Stephania), they were quickly able to pick up the tunes and began singing along.

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Psiuk, who joked that “Who doesn’t know the Ukrainian language?” was the reason the call-and-reply section of the set was so successful. Oh dear…”

Psiuk said to the audience, “Just Imagine It’s The Last Party of Your Life” before the song Love Train. This was a powerful thought for someone performing an act while their countrymen fight for the lives they have.

Festival goers were particularly pleased by Stomba Womba, an earworm that they sang along to as if it were a familiar song, and not something new.

Oh Mamon was another song that echoed Stephania’s theme, and celebrated the role of a mother in the family.

The Ukrainian pipe, which was heard in Stephania, made a regular (and welcome) appearance.

Psiuk, the frontman of the band, told Sky News that they wanted to share their culture and music ahead of their performance. Eurovision was one of the points where we showcased our Ukrainian music, and we want to spread it around the world.

“We are super happy to be here, and we want to impress everyone here.

“Right now I feel an overwhelming support from all over the globe. It is wonderful that people from this country also support Ukraine. We are grateful to everyone who supports Ukraine.

Worthy Farm is their first performance on British soil. The band has become a global star following their Eurovision win in Eurovision with Stefania. This was dedicated to Psiuk’s mother.

They were welcomed warmly by the festival crowd, despite them likely not having known them until a few months ago.

After forming in 2019, the band signed to Sony Music and has released two albums.

The band has been touring around Europe and Ukraine since their victory to promote Stefania’s music video.

To raise funds for the Ukrainian Army, they also auctioned the Eurovision glass microphone trophy.

After the European Broadcasting Union ruled that it couldn’t proceed in war-torn Ukraine next season in the tradition for the winner country hosting, it was announced last week that the BBC was in negotiations with the European Broadcasting Union to host Eurovision.

Psuik commented on the decision and said to Sky News that “the Ukrainians are very upset by this news that Eurovision may not be in Ukraine. But we hope there are discussions going on right now. We hope Eurovision will remain in Ukraine.

Glastonbury will host a variety of Ukrainian acts in spite of Russia’s invasion.

Go_A will perform electronic folk music and high-pitched vocal melodies on Saturday at the John Peel Stage.

The 2012-formed group represented Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with the anthem Shum. They placed fifth.

Ihor Didenchuk, a band member, is also a member Kalush Orchestra.

On Sunday afternoon, the Pyramid stage will host a performance by DakhaBrakha, a Kyiv folk band.

They combine the music styles of many local ethnic groups and call themselves “ambassadors for free Ukraine”. They have used their performances for years to protest war and Vladimir Putin’s policies.

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Zelenskyy addresses Glastonbury

In the meantime, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the world to spread the truth about Russia’s invasion by calling for a video message on Friday. This message was shown on the large screens at The Other Stage.

Mzelenskyy called Glastonbury “the greatest concentration of freedom” and stated that it was “the festival resumes this season after a two year break. The pandemic had put on hold the lives of millions around the globe, but has not broken [us].

“We, the Ukrainians, would like to have the same life and enjoy freedom and the wonderful summer that we had before Russia invaded our peace.

The message was concluded by him saying “Slava Ukraini”, which means “glory to Ukraine”. Festival goers responded with loud and enthusiastic cheers.


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