Pink Floyd Release First New Song in Nearly 30 Years for Ukraine

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

At midnight, the morning of April 8, Pink Floyd will release their first song in nearly three decades to help raise money for Ukraine Humanitarian Relief.

The band will release the single and video for “Hey Hey Rise Up,” their first release since the 1994 release The Division Bell. The band released their 15th and final album, The Endless River, in 2014, which was mostly instrumental and ambient music without vocals.

Hey Hey Rise Up” finds Pink Floyd guitarist and singer David Gilmour with drummer Nick Mason, along with longtime bass player Guy Pratt and Nitin Sawhney on keyboards. (Roger Waters, who split from the group in the mid-1980s, did not participate on the track.)

The track features the vocals of Andriy Khlyvnyuk, lead singer of Ukrainian band Boombox, pulled from an Instagram post of the artist singing the Ukrainian WWI protest song “The Red Viburnum In The Meadow” in an empty Sofiyskaya Square in Kyiv. Recorded in Gilmour’s barn in Sussex, England, the title of the song is pulled from the last line of the song, which translates as 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,” said Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren, in a statement.

Recently Khlyvnyuk had left his American tour with Boombox and returned to Ukraine to join 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,” said Gilmour. “It was a powerful moment that made me want to put it to music.”

Gilmour recently shared a portion of the song with Khlyvnyuk, who is now in a hospital in Kyiv after suffering a mortar shrapnel wound. “I played him a little bit of the song down the phone line and he gave me his blessing,” said Gilmour. “We both hope to do something together in person in the future.”

Gilmour was first introduced to the band Boombox in 2015 when he played a benefit show in London with Pussy Riot for the imprisoned members of a Belarus theater troupe, The Belarus Free Theatre. Khlyvnyuk was unable to attend due to a visa problem, so his bandmates backed Gilmour during their set and dedicated “Wish You Were Here” to the singer.

Using footage of the band during their recording session, a music video for “Hey Hey Rise Up” was shot and directed by Mat Whitecross on March 30. “We recorded the track and video in our barn where we did all our Von Trapped Family live streams during the lockdown,” said Gilmour. “It’s the same room that we did the ‘Barn Jams’ with Rick Wright [Pink Floyd’s now-deceased keyboard player] back in 2007.” Gilmour added, “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.”

Cuban artist Yosan Leon was enlisted for the single artwork, a painting of the sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine. The cover of the single references to the woman seen giving sunflower seeds to Russian soldiers and telling them to carry them in their pockets so that when they die, sunflowers will grow.

“I hope it will receive wide support and publicity,” said Gilmour, “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 track is available HERE.

“Hey Hey Rise Up” Lyrics

In the meadow a red viburnum has bent down low 
Our glorious Ukraine has been troubled so
And we’ll take that red viburnum and we will raise it up
And we, our glorious Ukraine shall, hey – hey, rise up – and rejoice!
And we’ll take that red viburnum and we will raise it up
And we, our glorious Ukraine shall, hey – hey, rise up and rejoice!

Photo: Courtesy Pink Floyd

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