Ukrainian Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra to perform first UK concert at Glastonbury | Music


Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian group who triumphed at the 2022 Eurovision song contest, are to perform at Glastonbury festival for their first ever UK concert.

Their winning song Stefania blended hip-hop with the intricate flutes and heartfelt vocals of their national folk music, and saw a huge response from the public, who swept them to victory in the Eurovision phone voting – a clear demonstration of solidarity with Ukraine during the war with Russia.

The sextet will appear at the Truth stage on Friday night (technically early Saturday morning, at 1.10am), in the festival’s fantastical, highly politicised Shangri-La area.

Frontman Oleh Psiuk said: “This is the perfect place for our first ever British performance and we hope it will be the start of many in the UK. We are very grateful for all the support we receive from the people of Britain, both for us and our country, and we are preparing a very special Ukrainian surprise for the fans at Glastonbury. What is it? You’ll soon see.”

Chris “Tofu” Macmeikan, director of Shangri-La, said it was a privilege to welcome the group, adding: “We’re honoured to have the chance to show our solidarity with Ukraine. On the Truth stage we have always championed Roma and Eastern European music, remixed for the 21st century, so they are the perfect fit.”

Glastonbury welcomes another Ukrainian Eurovision act, 2021 entrants Go_A who came in fifth place (and were voted second in the public vote). The two groups share a band member, Ihor Didenchuk, and, like Kalush Orchestra, Go_A blend traditional Ukrainian songwriting with contemporary influences, resulting in an astonishing high-tempo fusion of folk and techno on their Eurovision entry song Shum. They perform on the John Peel stage at 11.30am on Saturday.

Appearing on the Pyramid stage at 12.45, just before Herbie Hancock, is the Ukrainian group DakhaBrakha. Known for their striking stage outfits, and featuring three singers who studied as ethnomusicologists, the quartet use a globe-spanning variety of instruments to make stirring folk songs.

At noon on Friday, a talk event on the Left Field stage, co-curated by Billy Bragg, will express solidarity with the people of Ukraine, with panellists including Ukrainian activists alongside the Guardian journalists Emma Graham-Harrison and John Harris, plus others.

Kalush Orchestra expressed their disappointment this week at the proposal by Eurovision organisers that the 2023 contest – which normally would have been hosted in the winning country of Ukraine – will take place in the UK, due to security reasons.

“Our team is very disappointed with the EBU’s decision and has high hopes that it is possible to change it,” Psiuk said. “We really want to hold this Eurovision song contest in Ukraine and our armed forces will do everything possible to make it safe for everyone. Just give us a little time and we will prove to you that everything will be as it should be.”

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