Pink Floyd is gearing up to release their first new music in 28 years, with a track supporting the people of Ukraine.
The song is called Hey Hey Rise Up and will be released on April 8 with proceeds going to Ukrainian Humanitarian Relief.
It will be the first original music recorded together as a band since 1994’s The Division Bell.
David Gilmour, 76, and Nick Mason, 78, we’re joined by long-time Pink Floyd bass player Guy Pratt, 60, and Nitin Sawhney, 57, on keyboards during a secret recording session last Wednesday.
The track also features vocals from Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk, from rock and pop band Boombox, taken from a clip he posted on Instagram which features him singing in Kyiv’s Sofiyskaya Square.
He sung a patriotic Ukrainian protest song, Oh, The Red Viburnum In The Meadow, written in the First World War.
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’.
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 explained how he came across Boombox many years ago, saying: ‘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.’
Speaking about the song, he added: ‘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.’
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’.
The music video for the track was filmed by acclaimed director Mat Whitecross and shot on the same day as the track was recorded, with Andriy singing on the screen while the band played.
Gilmour explained: ‘We recorded the track and video in our barn where we did all our Von Trapped Family live streams during the lockdown. It’s the same room that we did the ‘Barn Jams’ with Rick Wright back in 2007.
‘Janina Pedan [Gilmour’s daughter-in-law] 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 the track features a painting of a sunflower – the national flower of Ukraine – by the Cuban artist, Yosan Leon.
It is in reference to the woman who confronted Russian soldiers telling them to take sunflower seeds from her to carry in their pockets so when they died, sunflowers would grow.