Pink Floyd‘s David Gilmour and Nick Mason have recorded the band’s first new original material since 1994’s Division Bell album, the song “Hey Hey Rise Up.” The track is in support of the people of Ukraine in the midst of the horrific, unprovoked war launched in February by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Due out on Friday (April 8), it features the Floyd guitarist/vocalist and drummer joined by longtime PF bass player Guy Pratt and Nitin Sawhney on keyboards, as well as vocals by Andriy Khlyvnyuk of the Ukrainian band Boombox.
“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,” said Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren. The track was recorded on March 30 and features a cappella vocals lifted from this Instagram post from Khlyvnyuk singing in Sofiyskaya Square in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
“I played him a little bit of the song down the phone line and he gave me his blessing. We both hope to do something together in person in the future,” Gilmour said in a statement about the song, which weaves in Khlyvnyuk’s version of the Ukrainian protest song “The Red Viburnum in the Meadow,” written during WWI and adopted lately as a global rallying cry against the war. The title of the new song was inspired by the last line of “Meadow,” which translates into “Hey hey rise up and rejoice.”
The slow march tune is anchored by Khlyvnyuk’s forceful vocals over one of Gilmour’s signature keening guitar solos and the video features emotional footage of women, children and families impacted by the war, which has displaced more than 10 million Ukrainians to date. The clip was directed by Mat Whitecross (Coldplay, Rolling Stones) and shot the same day the track was recorded in the barn where Gilmour and his family recorded their pandemic “Von Trapped” livestream session during lockdown; it was also the spot where the guitarist recorded his “Barn Jams” with late PF founding member keyboardist Richard Wright in 2007.
According to the statement, Gilmour spoke to Khlyvnyuk from his hospital bed in Kyiv, where the Boombox singer is recovering from a mortar shrapnel injury. “I hope it will receive wide support and publicity,” said Gilmour. “We want to raise funds for humanitarian charities, and raise morale. We want 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 (seen below) features a painting of the sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine, by Cuban artist Yosan Leon; it is described as a “direct reference to the woman who was seen around the world giving sunflower seeds to Russian soldiers and telling them to carry them in their pockets so that when they die sunflowers will grow.”
Pink Floyd join a growing roster of artists performing and releasing music in support of the besieged people of Ukraine. On Tuesday, an additional roster of artists and entertainers were announced as part of the Stand Up for Ukraine social media movement, which was featured in the 2022 Grammy telecast when Ukraine President Zelenskyy appeared via video.
The new list of names includes Adam Lambert, Alex Len of the Sacramento Kings, Antykila, Arlo Parks, Ashlee Simpson, Au/Ra, Axelle Red, Barenaked Ladies, Bastille, Becky Lynch, Bevy Smith, Billy Porter, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Springsteen, Carole King, Chris Tomlin, Christine and the Queens, Connie Britton, Dave Matthews, Daymond John, Dora Jar, Drew McIntyre, Dylan Dunlap, Ellen DeGeneres, Ellie Goulding, Evan Ross, Fall Out Boy, Finn Bälor, Gelila Assefa Puck, Hozier, Isha Sesay, Jamala, Jesse McCartney, Jon Bon Jovi, Julian Lennon, KD Lang, Kalush, Kesha, Lennon Stella, Little Big, Lola Lennox, Luis Fonsi, MÅNESKIN, Masha Efrosinina, Max Kilman, Metallica, Michael Blackson, Miyavi, Nicky Jam, Nigel Barker, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Noah Cyrus, Nuno Bettencourt, Padma Lakshmi, Panic! At The Disco, Rachel Brosnahan, Rita Ora, Rufus Wainwright, Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins, SOFI TUKKER, Sviatoslav “Svi” Mykhailiuk of the Toronto Raptors, Third Eye Blind, Ukulele U, Vitaly Potapenko of the Memphis Grizzlies, Weezer, Within Temptation, Zucchero, 5 Seconds of Summer, the NBA, NBPA, NHL Alumni Association and WWE.
They join a long list of previously announced acts that includes The Weeknd, Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, Green Day, Finneas, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Pearl Jam, Madonna, U2, Tame Impala and many more.
Proceeds from sales of “Hey Hey Rise Up” will benefit the Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund.
Check out the cover, listen to Khlyynyuk’s original vocal and watch the official video below.