Some Ukrainian people in Ireland are gearing up to watch the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final tonight as the country is the favourite to win by a landslide.
nna Yemelianova arrived in Ireland a month ago and is living with her five-year-old son Mikhail with a host family in Newbridge, Co Kildare.
The mother said the song contest is very popular back in Ukraine, so she is looking forward to watching it and taking her mind away from the war for the short period of time.
"I will be watching Eurovision. I like this song contest, it’s very popular in Ukraine,” she said.
"We always get together with friends and watch it at some bar or at home. In Ukraine it’s like a holiday, you can come to every restaurant or bar and there will be Eurovision on a big screen.”
Ms Yemelianova said she hopes her native country wins as she is a fan of its entry this year, Stefania by folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra.
"I think Ukraine can be a winner because of the political situation now, people all over the world support Ukraine, they want to show their sympathy to Ukraine,” she said.
“I have never thought it’s political but we can’t prohibit people to feel sympathy. I still think Eurovision is about music and people's preferences in music.
"I always agree with the results and Ukraine always shows very good results. We hosted the contest in Kyiv twice because of our great singers.”
Ukrainian artist Martisha Sea fled her home country a month ago and is now living in Galway with a couple who have given her a room.
She said art, whether that is painting or music, is important when the world is going through such hardships, and she hopes to spread her message to the people of Ireland by participating in gallery showcases.
Currently, she is selling her art online through her Instagram (@Martina_in_the_sea) and her Etsy shop, but she wants to get involved with artist initiatives in Galway to showcase her paintings.
The artist said she hopes the Ukrainian entry will win this year's competition but admits that it’s impossible to separate politics from the television show, as artists always look at what’s going on in the world for inspiration.
“I like the Eurovision as it shows the cultures of different countries, but it also depends on the quality of songs and musicians who represent certain countries,” she said.
“Definitely the Ukrainian group should win, Ukraine is a beautiful country with a deep and ancient culture, which is revealed thanks to the Eurovision participants.
“It is impossible to avoid politics, as artists of any direction always mirror what is happening in the country, their soul, and society as a whole. it is impossible to turn a blind eye to the brutal war that Russia started by attacking Ukraine.”
Tonight’s semi-final will see 17 countries, including Ukraine, compete for one of 10 slots in the final on Saturday.
Tomorrow, Ireland will be against 17 other countries for one of 10 slots in the final with our entry That’s Rich by Brooke.
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