Kalush Orchestra, Eurovision Winner, Auctions Off Trophy to Aid Ukraine Army

Of Ukraine win at the Eurovision Song Contest brought national pride, joy and artistic prestige to the country amid the ravages of war. Now it will also help supply drones to the Ukrainian military.

Kalush . OrchestraUkrainian band won Eurovision after passing popular vote by phone, giving their trophy and the pink hat worn by the lead singer in the contest for auction and the items collected more than 1 .2 million dollars, A spokesman for the band said in a statement Monday.

“We believe this is just the first victory against our biggest victory over the Russian invaders,” Oleh Psiuk, the band’s lead singer, said in a Telegram message.

Maria Pysarenko, a spokeswoman for the foundation, said the money would go to the Serhiy Prytula Charitable Foundation, an organization set up by a Ukrainian TV presenter and would be used to purchase three drones. which the military can use for surveillance.

The trophy, a glass microphone handcrafted by Swedish artist Kjell Engman, has been auctioned for cryptocurrency, Ms. Pysarenko said.

WhiteBIT, a cryptocurrency exchange platform originating from Ukraine, won the trophy on Sunday for $900,000 following competitive bids in the last minutes of the auction from businessmen from Kalush. – the Ukrainian city that Mr. Psiuk came from – and a charity from Washington.

Margarita Populan, a spokeswoman for WhiteBIT, said: “It’s a lot of money, but we understand that the purpose is much bigger.

The winner of the bucket hat “with Oleh’s sweat and tears,” as Prytula describes it, was chosen at random in a separate lottery, where each ticket cost 200 Ukrainian hryvnia, or under $7. Over 30,000 people participated, raising more than $300,000.

Volodymyr Onyshchuk, a Ukrainian IT engineer living in the Czech Republic who regularly donates to Mr. Prytula’s charity, won the award. He said in a phone interview that he bought multiple tickets because he thought it was “a great situation,” adding that he planned to take a “photo for Facebook” with the hat. before donating it to a museum in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, or in Kalush.

After winning Eurovision, Kalush Orchestra urged his fans to show their support by donating to help the Ukrainian army. “Every euro you donate helps save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers!” the band wrote in a Instagram post promote the auction.

The Eurovision rules state that it is a “non-political event” but competition has never really been separated from world politics.

The Kalush Orchestra’s victory song, “Stefania,” was written in honor of his mother Psiuk. Although it has no overtly political lyrics, it has been reinterpreted as a patriotic hymn to Ukraine as motherland.

After the competition, the band released a music video for “Stefania” shows ruined buildings and female soldiers holding babies among the ruins, a clear reference to the war. It has been viewed almost 20 million times.

“If Stefania is now the anthem of our war,” Psiuk wrote in the video’s caption, “I want it to be our victory anthem.”

John Ismay contribution report.

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