Eurovision winners release powerful clip from official film shot in war-torn Ukraine

The winners of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest have released the official music video for their song, Stefania, which has become the anthem of war-ravaged Ukraine.

Kalush Orchestra waited until after the competition to post the video, which garnered over 7.5 million views in less than two days.

Excerpt from a film shot in a war zone

The clip was shot in Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka and Hostomel, suburbs on the outskirts of kyiv occupied by Russian troops at the start of the war.

Russian forces withdrew from these areas in late March and early April, leaving behind horrific scenes and traumatized survivors.

Buildings were destroyed, bodies littered the streets and mass graves were left behind by the Russian army.

The footage was shot on the outskirts of kyiv.

Throughout the clip, members of the Kalush Orchestra band perform among the ruins of bombed-out buildings with a primary focus on female soldiers.

Women in military uniforms walk through war zones and rubble with children in their arms.

One reunites a child with its mother in a bomb shelter, while other soldiers are shown leaving their children in the care of others so they can fight in the war.

A haunting drone shot shows a woman with a child in a bombed-out building, the camera panning to reveal the extent of the destruction.

The clip ends with a message that dedicates the song to the “brave people of Ukraine”.

“The war in Ukraine has many faces, but it is our mother’s face that keeps our hearts alive in the darkest times,” he said.

The song takes on new meaning

The song was written about band leader Oleh Psiuk’s mother before Russia invaded Ukraine.

However, since the February invasion, lyrics such as “I will always find my way home, even if all the roads are destroyed” have become even more poignant.

A member of the Kalush Orchestra in a burned building.
Oleh Psiuk originally wrote the song about his mother.(Provided: Kalush Orchestra)

“I once dedicated this song to my mother, and when the war broke out, the song took on a lot of new meanings,” Psiuk said.

“Although there was not a word about the war in the song, many people started associating the song with mother Ukraine.

“Plus, society has started calling it our wartime anthem.

“But if Stefania is now the anthem of our war, I would like her to become the anthem of our victory.”

What are Stefania’s English lyrics?

Mother Stefania, mother Stefania
The field blooms, but her hair turns gray
Mother, sing me the lullaby
I want to hear your dear word.

She rocked me baby, she gave me a beat
And you can’t take my will, like I got from her
I think she knew more than King Solomon
I will always find the way back, even if all the roads are destroyed
She wouldn’t wake me even if there was a storm outside
Or if there was a storm between her and grandma
She trusted me more than anyone
Even when she was tired, she kept rocking me.

Lully-lully-lullaby

Mother Stefania, mother Stefania
The field blooms, but her hair turns gray
Mother, sing me the lullaby
I want to hear your dear word.

I’m no longer a child, but she’ll always treat me like one
I’m no longer a child, but she still worries about me, every time I go out
Mother, you are still young
If I don’t appreciate your kindness, I’m going to a dead end
But my love for you has no end.

Lully-lully-lullaby

Mother Stefania, mother Stefania
The field blooms, but her hair turns gray
Mother, sing me the lullaby
I want to hear your dear word.

The group returns to Ukraine

Men between the ages of 18 and 60 were banned from leaving Ukraine to participate in the war effort.

However, the group received special permission to leave the country to represent Ukraine at Eurovision.

One of the original members stayed to fight and the others returned two days after the contest final.

Oleh Psiuk kisses his girlfriend before getting into a car.  He wears a pink bucket hat and a backpack.
Oleh Psiuk – pictured here with his girlfriend as the group left Italy – only had temporary permission to leave Ukraine. (PA: Luca Bruno)

Asked what he plans to do when he returns to Ukraine, Psuik told the winners’ press conference that it was “hard to say”.

“Like any Ukrainian, I am ready to fight and go all the way,” he said.

    Kalush Orchestra waving a Ukrainian flag with a group of soldiers.
Men of fighting age were banned from leaving Ukraine, but soldiers welcomed Eurovision winners home. (PA: Mykola Tys)

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