Ukrainian former entrants at the Eurovision Song Contest who will be performing during the grand final have said Liverpool is “almost like home” after seeing the city’s celebration of their country.
Four-piece band Go_A, formed in 2012, experimented with blending Ukrainian folk songs and electronic music before entering Eurovision and finishing fifth in 2021.
Two years later the band are taking to the Eurovision stage once more, to perform during the flag parade at the opening of the grand final.
“There are a lot of different Ukrainian installations and everything is painted in the colours of the Ukrainian flag,” Schevchenko said, adding: “It’s almost like home.”
The band members were enthusiastic about Liverpool hosting Eurovision this year, in part due to the city’s reputation as the home of world-renowned British talent.
Pavlenko said: “It’s the city of the Beatles and Stevie G and I love this person so much, so for me it’s a great experience to be here and feel the atmosphere of this city.”
Go_A will be among several Ukrainian former contestants who will be singing along to British classics during the flag parade on Saturday.
Pavlenko added: “We will collaborate with a band from Great Britain – the Chemical Brothers – and we are happy because it is a great band and we like this music, so it’s a big pleasure.”
The collaboration between British and Ukrainian artists sends a “strong message for everybody that we are part of something bigger”, Schevchenko said.
The band members also said they will be performing their popular 2021 Eurovision entry Shum, a dance track with a strong folklore influence which marked the first time Ukraine had submitted a song entirely in Ukrainian.
Despite the glitz and glamour of the Eurovision Song Contest, Go_A still have the war back home on their mind.
The performance was part of a line-up of Ukrainian acts such as rock band Antytila and this year’s submission from Ukraine, electronic duo TVORCHI.
Schevchenko said their country’s resounding victory at last year’s contest, achieved by rap group Kalush Orchestra three months after Russia invaded their country, was a “big moment for Ukraine and all Ukrainians”.
He added: “It really raised our spirits and helped us to feel like we could do something in the war.
“It was a very emotional moment for everybody.”
“Right now we even have a lot of jokes about air alarms, because we hear them constantly,” Schevchenko said.
The band are encouraging Europeans to “continue supporting Ukraine, because we’re not fighting only for our freedom, but we are fighting for the very existence of democracy”, Schevchenko said.
He added: “If something happens to Ukraine, the next step is that war can come to every doorstep.”
Despite the hardship at home, the band have travelled to Liverpool with a fighting spirit.
“We are ready and we are willing to struggle for our freedom and do whatever is necessary to win,” Schevchenko said.