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Pink Floyd reform to release new track in support of Ukraine

By | Published on Friday 8 April 2022

Pink Floyd "Hey Hey Raise Up"

Pink Floyd have come back together and released a new track in order to raise funds for Ukraine Humanitarian Relief. The track is called ‘Hey, Hey, Rise Up’ and features a sample of Andriy Khlyvnyuk, singer with the Ukrainian band Boombox.

From the classic Pink Floyd line-up, David Gilmour and Nick Mason are both involved in the new recording. They are joined on the track by bassist Guy Pratt – who, of course, has collaborated with Gilmour, Mason and Pink Floyd since the late 1980s – and, on keyboards, by Nitin Sawheny.

Gilmour performed live with BoomBox in 2015 at a benefit gig in aid of the Belarus Free Theatre in London. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Khlyvnyuk called off a US tour in order to join the military defence of his country.

The impetus for ‘Hey, Hey, Rise Up’ came when Gilmour saw a video on social media in which Khlyvnyuk – wearing military fatigues and standing in front of Kyiv’s St Sofia Cathedral – sang the patriotic Ukrainian song ‘Oh, The Red Viburnum In The Meadow’.

According to The Guardian, Gilmour explains: “I thought: that is pretty magical and maybe I can do something with this. I’ve got a big platform that [Pink Floyd] have worked on for all these years. It’s a really difficult and frustrating thing to see this extraordinarily crazy, unjust attack by a major power on an independent, peaceful, democratic nation. The frustration of seeing that and thinking ‘what the fuck can I do?’ is sort of unbearable”.

On his decision to release the track as Pink Floyd, he adds: “I rang Nick up and said: ‘listen, I want to do this thing for Ukraine. I’d be really happy if you played on it and I’d also be really happy if you’d agree to us putting it out as Pink Floyd’. And he was absolutely on for that. It’s Pink Floyd if it’s me and Nick, and that is the biggest promotional vehicle; that is, as I said, the platform that I’ve been working on for my whole adult life, since I was 21″.

“I wouldn’t do this with many more things”, he goes on, “but it’s so vitally, vitally important that people understand what’s going on there and do everything within their power to change that situation. And the thought, also, that mine and Pink Floyd’s support of the Ukrainians could help boost morale in those areas: they need to know the whole world supports them”.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it took Gilmour several attempts to get in touch with Khlyvnyuk to discuss the project. “When I spoke to Andriy”, he says, “he was telling me about the things he’d seen, and I said to him, ‘you know this has been on the BBC here in England, and on television around the world? Everyone is seeing these terrible things that are happening’”.

“And he said, ‘Oh really? I didn’t know’. I don’t think that most people there have got such great communication and they don’t really understand that actually, the things they are going through are being shown to the world”.

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