After previously announcing they are removing all of their music from 1987 onward from digital music providers in Russia and Belarus, Pink Floyd is releasing their first single in 28 years in support of the people of Ukraine.
The band’s new single, “Hey Hey Rise Up,” is the first new original music they have recorded together as a band since 1994. The track includes guitarist David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason, long-time Pink Floyd bass player Guy Pratt and Nitin Sawhney on keyboards. It also features Ukrainian musician Andriy Khlyvnyuk, who left a tour in the U.S. to return home and fight in Ukraine. The choral parts of the song are by Ukrainian VERYOVKA Folk Song and Dance Ensemble.
The song includes Khlyvnyuk’s vocals taken from an Instagram post where he sang in Kyiv’s Sofiyskaya Square. The song he was singing, “The Red Viburnum In The Meadow,” is a Ukrainian protest song written during World War I, but it has been become popular in protest of the current Russian invasion of Ukraine. The title of the Pink Floyd song is taken from a lyric of “The Red Viburnum In The Meadow,” which translates to ‘Hey Hey Rise up and rejoice’.
“We, like so many, have been feeling the fury and the frustration of this vile act of an independent, peaceful democratic country being invaded and having its people murdered by one of the world’s major powers,” Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren, said in a statement.
Gilmour came to know Khlyvnyuk in 2015 after a show in support of the Belarus Free Theatre, whose members were imprisoned. Khlyvnyuk’s band, Boombox, was also set to perform, but due to problems with Khlyvnyuk’s visa, the rest of the band instead backed up Gilmour for his set.
“Recently I read that Andriy had left his American tour with Boombox, had gone back to Ukraine, and joined up with the Territorial Defense,” Gilmour said. “Then I saw this incredible video on Instagram, where he stands in a square in Kyiv with this beautiful gold-domed church and sings in the silence of a city with no traffic or background noise because of the war. It was a powerful moment that made me want to put it to music.”
Khlyvnyuk was hospitalized in Kyiv, recovering from a mortar shrapnel injury, when Gilmour was writing the song, but the two were able to speak. Gilmour says he played some of the track over the phone and Khlyvnyuk gave him his blessing.
“I hope it (the song) will receive wide support and publicity,” Gilmour said. “We want to raise funds for humanitarian charities and raise morale. We want to express our support for Ukraine and, in that way, show that most of the world thinks that it is totally wrong for a superpower to invade the independent democratic country that Ukraine has become.”
The artwork for the track features a painting of the national flower of Ukraine, the sunflower, and is also a reference to the viral video of a woman who was seen giving sunflower seeds to Russian soldiers and telling them to carry them in their pockets so that when they die, sunflowers will grow.
The “Hey Hey Rise Up” music video features the band and Khlyvnyuk, along with footage from Ukraine. You can watch it below:
The single is available now on all streaming and download platforms, with all proceeds going toward Ukrainian humanitarian relief.