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Pink Floyd reunite to record new song, Hey Hey Rise Up, in support of Ukraine

(from left) Nitin Sawhney, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Guy Pratt
(Image credit: Press)

Pink Floyd – David Gilmour, Nick Mason and longtime bass guitar player Guy Pratt – have reunited to record a new song in support of the people of Ukraine.

Featuring Nitin Sawhney on keyboards and vocals from Andriy Khlyvnyuk, of the Ukrainian band BoomBox, the song is titled Hey Hey Rise Up.

In February, Khlyvnyuk posted a video of himself singing the World War I-era Ukranian protest song, The Red Viburnum In The Meadow, in Kyiv’s then-empty Sofiyskaya Square on his Instagram page. The recording went viral, and forms the basis of Hey Hey Rise Up.

The powerful song features a stunning, and classically Gilmour, display of lead guitar prowess, packed with the wailing and emotive bends, perfect attack, and glass-like tone that have long been his trademarks. You can hear it below.

“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," Gilmour – whose has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren – said in a statement.

Of how he came to know Khlyvnyuk, Gilmour said, “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. 

The cover of Pink Floyd's forthcoming single, Hey Hey Rise Up

(Image credit: Press)

"Recently I read that Andriy had left his American tour with BoomBox, had gone back to Ukraine, and joined up with the Territorial Defense. 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 managed to get ahold of Khlyvnyuk from his hospital bed in Kyiv, where he was recovering from a mortar shrapnel injury. “I played him a little bit of the song down the phone line and he gave me his blessing," he said. "We both hope to do something together in person in the future.”

Of the song, Gilmour said, “I hope it will receive wide support and publicity. We want to raise funds for humanitarian charities, and raise morale. We want 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 song is the first release of any kind from Pink Floyd since their 2014 album, The Endless River, which itself was comprised of recordings Gilmour, Mason and late Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright had made two decades before, during the sessions for their 1994 album, The Division Bell.

Hey Hey Rise Up will be available at midnight tomorrow, April 8, on all streaming services. Starting then, you can listen to the song on Pink Floyd's website.

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.