The collaboration sees the outfit combine the sound of the Telenka (a Ukrainian wind instrument), a powerful chorus, and Oleg Psiuk’s fast-paced rap with The Rasmus’ classic rock style.
Per a press release, The Rasmus’ original 2003 track struck a chord in Ukraine upon its initial release. The band, who represented Finland at this year’s Eurovision, met Kalush Orchestra in Turin, Italy this year where they soon began a creative relationship.
While both acts were in the city for the competition, they joined forces for an impromptu performance in the town square.
“We immediately loved the original sound of Kalush Orchestra – Ukrainian folk, singing, flute, rap,” explained Lauri Ylönen, co-founder and frontman of The Rasmus, in a statement.
“It was inspiring to hear how this song can be reborn like that! And the lyrics are unfortunately even more relevant to what is happening now, in Ukraine and around the world.”
The song contains the line: “They say that I must learn to kill before I can feel safe/ But I’d rather kill myself than turn into their slave.”
Psiuk said: “Probably all Ukrainians of my age and a little older remember this track by The Rasmus really well. I was 17 years old when I heard it for the first time and had it in on repeat. I could never have imagined that I would not only meet The Rasmus in person, but collaborate on a new version of this iconic song.
“We were glad to reunite with The Rasmus and work together with these cool musicians. We appreciate their music and their support of Ukraine. And they are such sincere and open people.”
He continued: “We decided straight away that we wanted to make a video for the song, so people could not only hear, but also see everything that we want to convey to the world with our new work.”
The black-and-white visuals in question, directed by Leonid Kolosovsky, reference the history of Ukraine and the experience of the country in the modern day. It was created by a mostly Ukrainian creative team.
Recalling the shoot, Ylönen said: “There was a feeling that everyone wanted to make a maximum effort for a common goal.
“Our mission is to let as many people as possible know about this war and the courage of the Ukrainian people. That’s why we decided to shoot a video for this song.”
The group raised $900,000 (£739k) by auctioning off their Eurovision trophy after winning the contest in May. An additional $370,000 (£301k) was generated by raffling off the pink bucket hat that frontman Psiuk wore during their victorious performance.
Kalush Orchestra are currently out on a North American headline tour. A portion of the funds raised from tickets will be donated to Ukrainian relief efforts via the charities Gate To Ukraine and Help Heroes Of Ukraine.
Psiuk added: “I would also like to remind everyone that it is our mission to make sure that the next Eurovision Song Contest 2024 will take place in Kyiv.”