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

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

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

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

The cash goes to the Serhiy Prytula Charity Basis, a company based by a Ukrainian TV presenter, and might be used to purchase three drones that the military can use for surveillance, mentioned Maria Pysarenko, a spokeswoman for the muse.

The trophy, a home made glass microphone designed by the Swedish artist Kjell Engman, was auctioned in cryptocurrency, Ms. Pysarenko mentioned.

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 an enormous quantity, however we perceive that the purpose is far greater,” mentioned Margarita Populan, a spokeswoman at WhiteBIT, including that her firm had labored to offer and coordinate assist for Ukraine because the starting of the conflict.

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 price 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 an everyday donor to Mr. Prytula’s charity, received the prize. He mentioned 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 profitable 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 post selling the public sale.

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

Kalush Orchestra’s profitable track, “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 exhibits wrecked buildings and ladies troopers carrying youngsters amid the rubble, in a transparent reference to the conflict. It has been seen practically 20 million instances.

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

John Ismay contributed reporting.

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