Pink Floyd have released their first new music in decades with ‘Hey Hey Rise Up’, a song featuring a sample of Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk that will raise funds for war relief.
‘Hey Hey Rise Up’, the band’s first original recorded music since 1994’s ‘The Division Bell’, hears them join up with Khlyvnyuk from the band Boombox to use his singing sample from the Ukrainian protest song, ‘The Red Viburnum In The Meadow’, for the moving track.
All proceeds from the song will go to Ukraine Humanitarian Relief.
The track hears guitarist/singer David Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason being joined by long-time Pink Floyd bass player Guy Pratt and Nitin Sawhney on keyboards. You can watch the Mat Whitecross-directed video below.
Recorded last Wednesday (March 30), the song uses Khlyvnyuk’s vocals taken from an Instagram video of him singing in Kyiv’s Sofiyskaya Square. The title of the Pink Floyd track is taken from the last line of the song, which translates as, “Hey Hey Rise up and rejoice“, and has been adopted as a Ukrainian protest song over the weeks since Russia invaded the country.
Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren, said: “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”.
He went on to explain how he came to know Khlyvnyuk and his band Boombox. “In 2015, I played a show at Koko in London in support of the Belarus Free Theatre, whose members have been imprisoned. Pussy Riot and the Ukrainian band, Boombox, were also on the bill. They were supposed to do their own set, but their singer Andriy had visa problems, so the rest of the band backed me for my set – we played ‘Wish You Were Here’ for Andriy that night.
“Recently I read that Andriy had left his American tour with Boombox, had gone back to Ukraine, and joined up with the Territorial Defense. 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.”
Gilmour arranged to speak to Khlyvnyuk from his hospital bed in Kyiv where he was recovering from a mortar shrapnel injury. “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,” he said.
Addressing the new song further, Gilmour said: “I hope it will receive wide support and publicity. 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.”
For the video for ‘Hey Hey Rise Up’, Gilmour added: “We recorded the track and video in our barn where we did all our Von Trapped Family live streams during lockdown. It’s the same room that we did the ‘Barn Jams’ with Rick Wright back in 2007. Janina Pedan made the set in a day and we had Andriy singing on the screen while we played, so the four of us had a vocalist, albeit not one who was physically present with us.”
The artwork for ‘Hey Hey Rise Up’ features a painting of the national flower of Ukraine, the sunflower, by the Cuban artist Yosan Leon. Its cover art is 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 have seen several regroupings over the years after entering a protracted hiatus in 1994, reuniting in 2005 as well as for a couple of years from 2012.
Last month, Pink Floyd and Gilmour removed their music from streaming services in Russia and Belarus to show their support for Ukraine.