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Updated on March 29, 2023 6:04 am

Kalush Orchestra, Eurovision Winner, Auctions Off Trophy to Assist Ukraine Military

Ukraine’s victory on the Eurovision Tune Contest introduced nationwide pleasure, pleasure and inventive status to the nation amid the devastation of battle. Now, it can additionally assist provide drones to the Ukrainian military.

Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian band that received Eurovision after sweeping the phone-in widespread vote, put its trophy and the pink bucket hat worn by its lead singer throughout the contest up for public sale, and the gadgets netted greater than $1.2 million, the band’s spokeswoman stated in a press release on Monday.

“We imagine that that is solely the primary victory earlier than our greatest victory over the Russian aggressor,” Oleh Psiuk, the band’s lead singer, stated in a Telegram message.

The cash goes to the Serhiy Prytula Charity Basis, a corporation based by a Ukrainian TV presenter, and will probably be used to purchase three drones that the military can use for surveillance, stated Maria Pysarenko, a spokeswoman for the inspiration.

The trophy, a hand-crafted glass microphone designed by the Swedish artist Kjell Engman, was auctioned in cryptocurrency, Ms. Pysarenko stated.

WhiteBIT, a cryptocurrency alternate platform initially from Ukraine, secured the trophy on Sunday for $900,000 following competing bids within the final minutes of the public sale from businessmen from Kalush — the Ukrainian metropolis Mr. Psiuk is from — and a charity fund from Washington.

“It’s a giant quantity, however we perceive that the intention is far greater,” stated Margarita Populan, a spokeswoman at WhiteBIT, including that her firm had labored to supply and coordinate assist for Ukraine for the reason that starting of the battle.

The winner of the bucket hat “with the sweat and tears of Oleh,” as Mr. Prytula described it, was chosen at random in a separate raffle, the place every ticket value 200 Ukrainian hryvnia, or lower than $7. Greater than 30,000 folks participated, elevating greater than $300,000.

Volodymyr Onyshchuk, a Ukrainian IT engineer dwelling within the Czech Republic who’s a daily donor to Mr. Prytula’s charity, received the prize. He stated in a telephone interview that he had purchased a number of tickets as a result of he thought it was “a cool scenario,” including that he deliberate to take a “image for Fb” with the hat earlier than donating it to a museum in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, or in Kalush.

After successful Eurovision, Kalush Orchestra urged its followers to point out assist by donating to assist the Ukrainian military. “Each euro you donate will assist save the lives of Ukrainian troopers!” the band wrote in an Instagram submit selling the public sale.

Eurovision’s guidelines state that it’s a “nonpolitical occasion,” however the competitors has by no means been actually remoted from world politics.

Kalush Orchestra’s successful tune, “Stefania,” was written to honor Mr. Psiuk’s mom. Whereas it doesn’t have overtly political lyrics, it has been reinterpreted as a patriotic hymn to Ukraine as a motherland.

After the competition, the band launched a music video for “Stefania” that reveals wrecked buildings and girls troopers carrying youngsters amid the rubble, in a transparent reference to the battle. It has been considered almost 20 million occasions.

“If Stefania is now the anthem of our battle,” Mr. Psiuk wrote within the video’s caption, “I would love it to change into the anthem of our victory.”

John Ismay contributed reporting.


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