Iconic rock band Pink Floyd has reunited to record a song with Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk in support of the country’s battle against the attempted Russian invasion. The song — “Hey Hey Rise Up” — was announced yesterday and has been released online this morning, with the proceeds going to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.
In an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour shared that he has a strong personal connection to the country.
“I hate it when people say things like ‘As a parent, I …’, but the practicalities of having an extended Ukrainian family is part of this. My grandchildren are half-Ukrainian, my daughter-in-law Janina is Ukrainian – her grandmother was in Kharkiv until three weeks ago. She’s very old, disabled, in a wheelchair and has a carer, and Janina and her family managed to get her all the way across Ukraine to the Polish border and now they’ve managed to get her to Sweden, literally last week.”
The genesis of the song began when Gilmour saw Khlyvnyuk’s Instagram feed that featured a post in which he stood in front of Kyiv’s Sofia Cathedral in military fatigues singing the early 20th-century protest song “Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow.” Gilmour and Khlyvnyuk, who had performed together at a 2015 benefit gig, got in touch and decided to collaborate on a song.
The song was born of Gilmour’s desire to find some way to help Ukraine, with the Guardian quoting him as saying:
“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 f**k can I do?’ is sort of unbearable.”
One person not involved is former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters. While he has condemned Putin’s invasion as “the act of a gangster,” he’s also been outspoken on “propaganda to demonise Russia.” Gilmour tactfully avoided getting drawn into an argument, simply saying:
“Let’s just say I was disappointed and let’s move on. Read into that what you will.”
“Hey Hey Rise Up” is available to stream on all major music platforms and money raised will be sent to the United Nations administrated Ukraine Humanitarian Fund.