“Hearts of Vilnius Burn Yellow Blue”: Vilnius Supports Ukraine With Remake of Ukrainian Eurovision Hit
This year’s Lithuania’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, Monika Liu, used the power of music to show support to Ukraine and its Eurovision finalist Kalush Orchestra. Not only did she wave the Ukrainian flag during the live semi-final and final shows, but also joined an initiative in Vilnius, the capital, where the country’s famous musicians, the soloists of the National Opera and Ballet Theatre, and a children’s choir manifested musical solidarity, urging to continue supporting Ukraine during and after the Eurovision Song Contest.
Monika Liu together with other Lithuanian performers sang Ukraine’s Eurovision entry song Stefania in a new video, filmed on the streets of Vilnius. The initiative highlighted Vilnius’ continuous support to Ukraine ever since the beginning of the war on February 24th and showed solidarity with the war refugees.
Alongside the original lyrics, translated into English, the remake of the Ukrainian Eurovision hit featured a new verse: “Hearts of Vilnius / Burn yellow and blue / Long as we are free / We will stand by you.” According to the creators of the remake, this is the sentiment that has been evident in the capital and entire country throughout the entire invasion of Ukraine.
The joint musical collaboration was also initiated to celebrate the Ukrainian Days in Vilnius Vilniushyvanka—coined by fusing Vilnius and vyshyvanka, the national Ukrainian shirt embroidered with colorful traditional patterns—on May 13th-15th. The event sheds light on Ukrainian culture, art, and history. Vilnius’ residents and visitors are invited to admire the old-age traditional Ukrainian costumes, participate in a flash mob and hybrid dance festival, wander in the streets on an educational route pinpointing the Lithuanian and Ukrainian ties throughout history, and taste Ukraine’s national dishes in pop-up restaurants.
“Vilnius has become a home for many Ukrainian refugees, our residents being active supporters of Ukraine through donations, humanitarian aid, and volunteer work since the beginning of the war,” said Remigijus Šimašius, Mayor of Vilnius. “Last year we celebrated the Eurovision with city-wide decorations and concerts, but this time it’s all about solidarity, unity, and being there for everyone affected by the war. Therefore, the remake of Ukraine’s Eurovision song Stefania is another way to make a firm stand that we are together with Ukraine now and always.”
Last year Vilnius organized a large-scale celebration to support The Roop and its Eurovision song Discoteque: the capital dressed its statues with yellow accessories to match the band’s Eurovision costumes. This year’s Eurovision celebrations, however, are more demure due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.