David Gilmour said the band hoped to raise funds but also ‘raise morale’
Pink Floyd are releasing their first new music since 1994 in support of the people of Ukraine with a track called Hey Hey Rise Up.
The song marks the first original music recorded together as a collective since 1994’s The Division Bell and features vocals from Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk, from rock and pop band Boombox.
Proceeds from the song, being released on April 8, will go to Ukrainian Humanitarian Relief.
The track features David Gilmour and Nick Mason, as well as long-time collaborator and bass player Guy Pratt, with musician Nitin Sawhney on keyboards.
Recorded last week, the song features vocals from Khlyvnyuk taken from a clip he posted on Instagram which features him singing in Kyiv’s Sofiyskaya Square.
He is heard singing a patriotic Ukrainian protest song, The Red Viburnum In The Meadow, and the title of the Pink Floyd track is taken from the last line of the song.
Guitarist and vocalist 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.”
The musician, 76, said he had first come across Boombox a few years ago.
He explained: “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 Defence.
“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 spoke to Khlyvnyuk, who he said was recovering in hospital from a mortar shrapnel injury, while he was writing the song.
He said: “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.”
On March 11 a message on Gilmour’s official website said that “to stand with the world in strongly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the works of Pink Floyd, from 1987 onwards, and all of David Gilmour’s solo recordings are being removed from all digital music providers in Russia and Belarus from today”.
He said of the new song: “I hope it will receive wide support and publicity.
“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 video for the new song has been filmed by director and screenwriter Mat Whitecross.
The cover artwork for the single features a painting of a sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine, by Cuban artist Yosan Leon.
The flower is said to be a reference to the woman who confronted Russian soldiers telling them to take seeds from her and to carry them in their pockets so when they died, sunflowers would grow.
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