Kalush Orchestra release haunting official film clip for Eurovision-winning song shot in war-torn Ukraine

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

Kalush Orchestra waited until after the contest to publish the video, which attracted more than 7.5 million views in less than two days. 

Film clip shot in a war zone

The clip was shot in Bucha, Irpin, Borodyanka and Hostomel, suburbs on the outskirts of Kyiv that were occupied by Russian troops earlier in the war. 

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

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

The footage was shot on the outskirts of Kyiv. 

Throughout the clip, Kalush Orchestra band members perform among the ruins of shelled buildings with the focus mainly on female soldiers.

Women in military uniforms are shown passing through war zones and rubble with children in their arms. 

One reunites a child with their 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, with the camera panning out to reveal the extent of the destruction. 

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

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

Song takes on a new meaning 

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

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

A member of Kalush Orchestra in a burnt-out building.
Oleh Psiuk originally wrote the song about his mother.(Supplied: 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 is not a word about the war in the song, many people began to associate the song with mother Ukraine.

“Moreover, society began to call it the anthem of our war.

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

What are the English lyrics to Stefania?

Mother Stefania, Stefania mother
The field is blooming, but her hair is getting grey
Mother, sing me the lullaby
I want to hear your dear word.

She was rocking me as a baby, she gave me a rhythm 
And you can’t take willpower from me, as I got it from her
I think she knew more than King Solomon
I’ll always find my way home, even if all roads are destroyed 
She wouldn’t wake me up, even if there was a storm outside
Or if there was a storm between her and grandma
She trusted me over everyone else 
Even when she was tired, she just kept rocking me.


Mother Stefania, Stefania mother
The field is blooming, but her hair is getting grey
Mother, sing me the lullaby
I want to hear your dear word.

I’m not a kid anymore, but she will always treat me like one
I’m not a kid anymore, but she keeps worrying about me, any time I’m out
Mother, you are still young
If I don’t appreciate your kindness, I’m moving towards a dead-end
But my love for you has no end.


Mother Stefania, Stefania mother
The field is blooming, but her hair is getting grey
Mother, sing me the lullaby
I want to hear your dear word.

Band returns to Ukraine

Men aged 18 to 60 have been banned from leaving Ukraine to help the war effort.

However, the band was given 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’s finale.

Oleh Psiuk kisses his girlfriend before getting into a car. He's wearing a pink bucket hat and a backpack.
Oleh Psiuk — pictured here with his girlfriend as the band left Italy — only had temporary permission to leave Ukraine. (AP: Luca Bruno)

When asked about what he planned to do upon returning to Ukraine, Psuik told the winners press conference it was “hard to say”.

“Like every Ukrainian, I am ready to fight and go until the end,” he said. 

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

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