We don’t want to jinx this because it’s only February, but it looks like Ukraine has picked their song for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Go_A formed in the early 2010s with the idea of combining traditional folk music with electronic music. They had their first hit when their song “Веснянка” was named Best Track in Ukraine and entered heavy rotation on KISS-FM. (Does every country have a radio station called KISS-FM?) Singer Kateryna Pavlenko studied folklore when she attended university and she and bandmate Taras Shevchenko used a traditional song she found in her research as the foundation for “Solovey.”
The first thing we thought we when we saw Go_A’s initial performance in the Vidbir semifinals was, “This is what Tulia was going for at last year’s Eurovision, except less metal and more Afro Celt Sound System.” Needless to say, we’re fans. Kateryna’s vocal is nasal and shrill in the best way possible. Her tone and her performance give “Solovey” a sense of being both traditional and otherworldly. It’s sort of like the whole of Ukraine’s musical history appeared like a ghost on stage before us.
Go_A are uncompromising in their presentation, with the only nod towards Eurovision convention being their guitar that shoots sparks. Their roots are firmly planted; you can take their vision or leave it, but they won’t let you ignore them. Hey, it’s worked for Ukraine before.