Ukranian Eurovision winner: Singing about truth "can really touch people"


Eurovision Song Contest 2016 - Final

The Ukrainian singer who pulled off a surprising victory at the Eurovision Song Contest said "if you sing about truth, it can really touch people" after she defeated musical and political rival Russia.

Jamala, who is a Tatar, had insisted her song about Stalin, Crimea and claims of ethnic cleansing did not break Eurovision's ban on political songs because it was a tribute to her great-grandmother.

Jamala (Martin Meissner/AP/PA)

Her triumph pushed Russia, who had been the favourite ahead of the final, into third place behind Australia.

The song 1944 opens with the English lyrics: "When strangers are coming, they come to your house, they kill you all and say 'We're not guilty'."

Jamala of Ukraine kisses the trophy at the press conference after winning the Eurovision Song Contest final in Stockholm, Sweden
Kissing her trophy (Martin Meissner/AP)

It could be regarded as an attack on Russia, but Jamala has insisted there is no political context, saying: "For me personally, music is about feelings. Politics doesn't have feelings."

The track was allowed because officials said the lyrics alluded to history rather than politics.

In a press conference after her win, she said: "I was sure that if you sing, if you talk about truth, it can really touch people and I was right."

Jamala at a press conference after her win
(Martin Meissner/AP)

She said she had listened to the soundtrack to Holocaust movie Schindler's List while preparing for the competition and added: "I would prefer all these terrible things never happened to my grandmother. I would prefer the song did not exist at all."

British hopefuls Joe and Jake came a disappointing 24th out of 26 in the contest with their pop song You're Not Alone, although their performance still won praise from fans.