"Fighting for our freedom": Ukrainian act to bring message of strength to Eurovision Song Contest

Ukrainian Eurovision act TVORCHI on the Turqouise Carpet at the opening of Eurovision 2023
Ukrainian Eurovision act TVORCHI on the Turqouise Carpet at the opening of Eurovision 2023 Copyright Chloe Hashemi/EBU
Copyright Chloe Hashemi/EBU
By Theo FarrantHannah Brown
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We sat down with Tvorchi, the electronic music duo representing Ukraine at Eurovision, to delve into what it means to represent their country and the message they hope to convey to the world.

As the Grand Final of this year's Eurovision Song Contest approaches, all eyes are on Tvorchi, the electronic music duo representing Ukraine, consisting of Ukrainian-Nigerian singer, Jeffrey Kenny, and producer, Andrii Hutsuliak.


Their journey to Eurovision hasn't been easy. During their song's recording, the duo faced blackouts and air raid sirens, and the selection show for the contest was held in a bomb shelter in Kyiv. 

After Kalush Orchestra's remarkable victory last year with their powerful track 'Stefania', the pressure is on Tvorchi to deliver an equally memorable performance. 

They will perform their song, "Heart of Steel", inspired by the siege of the Azovstal steelworks by Russian forces.

As part of their Eurovision campaign, the duo have teamed up with UNITED24, the fundraising platform launched by President Zelenskyy, to raise funds for Ukrainian babies born prematurely due to the war. 

At the Eurovision Turquoise Carpet event, they donned jackets, designed Lesya Patoka, embroidered with the names and weights of several of the babies.

Before the Grand Final, Euronews Culture caught up with Tvorchi, to discuss what it means to represent Ukraine and what message they hope to convey to the world.

AP Photo
Tvorchi is made up of vocalist Jeffrey Kenny and producer Andrii HutsuliakAP Photo

Euronews Culture: Tell us about your song and the message you're trying to portray with it.

Jeffrey Kenny: Well I'll say briefly, our song is about strength, courage and bravery. And it's dedicated to all the people who, in difficult times, are able to keep a positive attitude and move forward to their goal. 

Andrii Hutsuliak: Like Jeffrey its about brave people. And we want to show by example of all Ukrainians, that we're standing strong, we're united and we're fighting for our freedom, our land and for our families.

We want to show an example to all the world that no matter how hard times are, it's important to have a good attitude in those negative situations. Because we are all humans, we all have hard times, that's normal. But we want to inspire people to be stronger, to not give up. Go forward and everything will be okay. 

We want to share our hearts of steel.

When did you write the song?

Andrii Hutsuliak: It was last year in March. Every time you make music, it's just subconscious and we don't think about anything. You just put your emotions, your feelings on the paper. 

So we were watching videos online from the defenders in the city of Mariupol and the situation down there. But the people in these videos were strong and it was a simple example of bravery. They were standing solid. And this inspired us and we transferred our feelings into music. That's how "Heart of Steel" was made. 

What does it mean to you two personally to represent Ukraine at Eurovision?

Jeffrey Kenny: Well, it's honour, and it's a big responsibility as well. 

The people chose us to represent them on such a big platform and we're going to do our best. We know the Ukrainians are behind us every step of the way. 

We've more focused on winning the war.

Hopefully we can maybe win again. I'm just joking, we're not focused on that right now. We're more focused on winning the war and I'm sure every Ukrainian can share that same sentiment. 

Andrii Hutsuliak: Yeah, we want to show how different Ukraine is because we know that in past years, we've shown great folk music. And this year we're excited to show something new. 

Music duo Tvorchi, performing on behalf of Ukraine, take part in a rehearsal ahead of the Eurovision Song contest 2023 at the M&S Bank ArenaAFP

How have rehearsals been going so far?

Jeffrey Kenny: We're doing great. Rehearsals have been fine. We have some finishing touches to put on it and then we should be good to go.  

How are you finding Liverpool?

Andrii Hutsuliak: For me it's my first time. I actually really like it. I like the architecture, the buildings and everything. We've also seen online all the things the UK has made in solidarity with Ukraine. A lot of art installations and murals between UK and Ukrainian artists. And also a lot of flags.


But we haven't seen a lot though because most of our days are busy from morning till late at night. We hope we can come back one day after Eurovision. 

How important are your outfits and fashion as a tool for self-expression and conveying a message to the audience, especially in light of the powerful statement you made with your jackets on the Turquoise Carpet?

Andrii Hutsuliak: All our performance for "Heart of Steel" started from the outfit, staging and lights. It's all about one thing. The outfit, designed by Ivan Frolov, helps to represent the song and our message. Like you can see the metal on our hands.

When we were on the Turquoise Carpet our outfits were designed by the Ukrainian designer Lesya Patoka. And on our blazers you can see the names and weights of babies born during the war. Their weights are very small as women during war feel stressed and they give birth to babies too early. Their hearts are weak.

We want to raise funds for those hearts to buy incubators for our hospitals, to give these children a chance to live in our country.

We want to raise funds for those hearts to buy incubators for our hospitals, to give these children a chance to live in our country. 

Everyone who would like to do a donation can visit the UNITED24 website and donate. We think this is very important and we appreciate everyone who supports to save those kids. 

Corinne Cumming 2023
Tvorchi posed for a photo on the Turquoise Carpet in LiverpoolCorinne Cumming 2023

Other than your own, what is your favourite song from Eurovision this year?

Jeffrey Kenny: I don't have any favourite but I have a few that I like. I like Finland, UK and Spain. I have more but I'll leave it at that. 

Andrii Hutsuliak: Music is the type of thing that everyone has different tastes. Some people like rock, some people like rap. So I think what's great about Eurovision is that you can discover the music of different countries, the culture, the language, talk to them and spend time together and be united, together. 

Any personal favourite all-time favourite Eurovision songs?

Jeffrey Kenny: I haven't followed the competition so far back but I do like the songs of Jamala, Måneskin and Sam Ryder.

Andrii Hutsuliak: ABBA and Celine Dion. 

Check out full video interview with Tvorchi in the webplayer above.

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