Kateryna Pavlenko, soloist of Ukraine's band Go_A, Eurovision 2021 participant
We have some authenticity and originality that we have to share with the world
video 17.05.2021 16:30

The opening ceremony of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 took place in the Netherlands on Sunday, May 16. The event took place at the Rotterdam Cruise Terminal. The participants in the song contest walked on a turquoise carpet. Among them is the Ukrainian band Go_A, which will appear on the stage with their song "Shum" ("Noise") in the first semifinal on May 18.

Kateryna Pavlenko, the soloist of the Ukrainian band Go_A, told Ukrinform in an interview about how the team is preparing for their performance, about her mascot - a black bird, how she feels, and how she terrified the fans when she fell ill and did not appear on stage during the second rehearsal.


Question: Congratulations! Thank you for being able to meet in such a busy schedule. How are you? What are your impressions of the organization of the event and numerous tests for coronavirus? What are the conditions for contestants?

Answer: We do tests every 48 hours, but today another rule has been added. We all take PCR tests. We can't breathe in a tube. We all have sore noses, because we took tests when we left Ukraine and when we flew here, and now we do that every 48 hours. So we got such bonuses this year.

Question: Last week you skipped the second rehearsal and the press conference due to ill health, thus terrifying your team and fans. It emerged later that the PCR test for coronavirus was negative. How do you feel now and what happened that morning?

Answer: I felt very bad. It was not a cold, but more like an allergic reaction, and I had a really bad headache. So we were all very scared. I was driven to take a test. We were told that until the results are known, I had to stay in my room so as not to threaten others if the test was positive. But then the results came out...


Question: How did the team support you while you were waiting for the result?

Answer: We had to go on an excursion to Amsterdam the next day, but the guys did not go there as a sign of solidarity. So we stayed at the hotel and then I received a negative test. Everything is fine! I feel much better now. I have constant irritation in the nose due to the fact that we are constantly doing tests.

Question: You are very carefully protected from catching the coronavirus. What are the Eurovision participants allowed to do? Did you manage to get acquainted with Rotterdam?

Answer: We are delighted with the port, with how Rotterdam is surrounded by water, and with the architecture. This is despite the fact that after the war the city was destroyed, but it was rebuilt.

We are allowed to jog and look at Rotterdam from the bus window. What we saw were the coolest architectural ensembles and very interesting design solutions, some kind of modernity combined with nature. We are delighted with a phenomenon like Rotterdam.


Question: How do your fans support you?

Answer: They support us in different ways. When I got sick, my social media have just exploded. I started receiving words of support.

We feel a lot of support. In general, a lot of people from Ukraine write to us. They keep their fingers crossed for us and they believe in our victory.

Question: How are you preparing for your performance in the first semifinal on May 18?

Answer: I skipped one rehearsal, so we have to catch up on everything in the hotel room, but we will have a few more rehearsals.

Question: Do you have any superstitions, for example, walking on stage with your left foot first? Maybe you have something special that you always bring with you?

Answer: I have a black bird in my room and, in general, it is always with me. It reminds me that you should always stay calm and that everything will be fine.


Question: For the first time in 15 years at Eurovision the song will be sung in Ukrainian. What does this mean to you?

Answer: This is a very important event for us, personally for each of us, because we all care about Ukraine. And we want the Ukrainian language to be heard not only within our country, but also abroad, because it is beautiful! We have a great culture, we have great music, great folklore, and we want to convey that to other people. And we see that people need it, as we analyze the reaction of foreign fans to our music, and they really like it, because it's unusual. We have some uniqueness, some kind of authenticity and originality, which we have to show to the world and share it with the world.

Question: Isn't there a feeling that due to the fact that the song will be sung entirely in Ukrainian, not all Eurovision viewers will be able to understand what you are singing about?

Answer: We are very pleased that on social media, people from many countries, including Britain and Iceland, write to us in Ukrainian. They greet us in Ukrainian. We are very pleased that they are trying to communicate with us in our native language. People are interested in what is happening to us. They start looking for texts, wondering who we are and what we are, and why we are in a green coat. Many people write to me that they have started learning the Ukrainian language. Even today, they sent screenshots to me, because they downloaded a special program to learn the Ukrainian language - just as we have similar programs to learn English.

Taras Shevchenko (Go_A band member): In fact, a few days ago we encountered a situation on social media when people from Sweden explained to people from Britain what our song was about in English. That is, due to the fact that we do not publish press releases on what our song is about, they themselves begin to study it and immerse themselves in Ukrainian culture. We think it's great. Yesterday we received a message from a guy from Mexico who studies Ukrainian philology in Poland.

Question: What emotions do you have from the fact that you represent Ukraine at Eurovision?

Kateryna Pavlenko: There are a lot of incredible stories. In general, what is happening to us is a kind of magic. We are very pleased to be part of this story.

Iryna Drabok, The Hague

Photo credit: Go_A

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