After 28 years of hiding from the limelight, Pink Floyd returns with a new single — a protest song against the war on Ukraine. Known for their innate social commentary, this wasn’t out of character for the Rock band.
Andriy Khlyvnyuk, a Ukrainian singer from the band BoomBox caught Guitarist David Gilmour’s attention. The former returned home from playing gigs in the U.S. to fight in the war. Khlyvnyuk, whose band had played a benefit show with Gilmour, sang the WWI protest song The Red Viburnum on Instagram. The song titled Hey Hey Rise Up even samples Khlyvnyuk’s vocals from the video.
David Gilmour, with drummer Nick Mason, bassist Guy Pratt and keyboardist Nitin Sawhney reunited after their 1994 album The Division Bell to put the song together. The title of the Pink Floyd track, released on Friday, is from the last lines of The Red Viburnum. The lines translate to “hey, hey, rise up and rejoice.” The Ukrainian VERYOVKA Folk Song and Dance Ensemble designed the song’s opening choral parts.
This song might hit close to home for Gilmour who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren. He explains, “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.”
While writing the music, David had reached out to Khlyvnyuk, hospitalized in Kyiv while recovering from a mortar shrapnel injury. “I played him a 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.”
The single has already climbed the charts to reach number one on iTunes across 29 countries. Intending to raise money for Ukraine, all proceeds from the song go to the Ukrainian humanitarian relief.