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Pink Floyd: Ukraine song Hey Hey Rise Up explained, lyrics, who are band members, is Roger Waters involved?

The new song features vocals by Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnuk from the group Boombox

Pink Floyd have released their first new music as a collective since 1994’s The Division Bell with a new track to raise money for Ukraine, called Hey, Hey, Rise Up.

Guitarist and singer David Gilmour said that Pink Floyd wanted to “express our support for Ukraine” with the new song, as well as “raise funds for humanitarian charities, and raise morale”.

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This is everything you need to know.

What’s the new song - and is Roger Waters involved?

Hey, Hey, Rise Up features David Gilmour and Nick Mason, as well as long-time collaborator and bass player Guy Pratt, with musician Nitin Sawhney on keyboards.

Fans of the band will notice that Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters is absent from the line up.

Talking to the Guardian, Gilmour said: “I rang Nick [Mason] 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.”

David Gilmour said all the works of Pink Floyd, from 1987 onwards, and his own solo recordings, would be removed from all digital music providers in Russia and Belarus (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)

Waters famously has a strained relationship with his former Pink Floyd band mates. A week prior to the Russia invasion, Waters told Russia Today that the possibility of a Russian invasion was “bulls**t.... anybody with an IQ above room temperature knows [an invasion] is nonsense”.

When the invasion happened, Waters has since condemned it, calling it “the act of a gangster”, but also condemned “propaganda to demonise Russia”.

In his interview, it’s noted that the subject of Waters and his comments regarding the situation in Ukraine is one that Gilmour won’t comment on.

He said: “Let’s just say I was disappointed and let’s move on. Read into that what you will.”

Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd, performing on stage at the Auckland leg of his Dark Side Of The Moon Tour (Photo: Jeff Brass/Getty Images)

Waters left Pink Floyd in 1985 and subsequently launched a lawsuit against the band over the continued use of the name Pink Floyd and songs. The group and Waters eventually reached an agreement in 1987.

In 2013, Waters said in an interview with BBC’s HARDtalk that he regretted suing Gilmour and Mason over the use of the name Pink Floyd.

He said: “I was wrong! Of course I was. Who cares?”

Waters maintained that leaving the group was “the correct thing” to do, and explained that the case was settled out of court during a meeting on Gilmour’s houseboat on Christmas Eve.

He said: “It’s one of the few times that the legal profession has taught me something.

“Because when I went to these chaps and said, “Listen, we’re broke, this isn’t Pink Floyd anymore,” they went, “What do you mean? That’s irrelevant, it is a label and it has commercial value. You can’t just say it’s going to cease to exist... you obviously don’t understand English jurisprudence”.”

Why has Pink Floyd released a new 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.”

Prior to releasing their new song, 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”.

Dave Gilmour performing on stage as part of The Miller Strat Pack concert, at Wembley Arena on September 24, 2004 in London (Photo: Jo Hale/Getty Images)

The artwork for the new track features a sunflower, which is the national flower of Ukraine, by Cuban artist Yosan Leon.

The band have said that the cover of the single is “a direct reference to the woman who was seen around the world giving sunflower seeds to Russian soldiers and telling them to carry them in their pockets so that when they die, sunflowers will grow”.

Who is Andriy Khlyvnuk?

The song features Andriy Khlyvnuk, the lead singer of the Ukrainian band Boombox. The band have released nine albums together and have racked up more than 100 million views on YouTube.

They have performed in Ukrainian, Russian and English, but since 2014 have refused to play in Russia since the annexation of Crimea.

Following Vladamir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Khlyvnuk left Boombox’s US tour and travelled back to his home country to join the Ukrainian military in the fight against Russia.

Speaking to Euronews at the end of February, Khlyvnuk said: “Musicians are peacemakers. But now it’s not time for playing guitars. It’s time to take the rifles.”

Hey, Hey, Rise Up uses Khlyvnuk’s vocals from an Instagram post he shared of himself singing in Kyiv’s Sofiyskaya Square.

The song that he is singing is a Ukrainian protest song, called The Red Viburnum, with Pink Floyd’s new track getting its title from the last line of the song, which translates to: “Hey, Hey, Rise up and rejoice.”

How did David Gilmour meet Andriy Khlyvnuk?

Gilmour said that he came across Boombox a few years ago, when he played a show at Koko in London, in 2015, in support of the Belarus Free Theatre. Also on the lineup were Pussy Riot and Boombox.

Gilmor said: “[Boombox] 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.

Andriy Khlyvnuk joined the Ukrainian military to fight against the Russian invasion (Photo: Instagram/Andriy Khlyvnuk)

“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 with Khlyvnyuk, who at the time was in hospital recovering from a mortar shrapnel injury, when he was writing the song.

“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,” Gilmour said.

How will the song help Ukraine?

All proceeds from the song will go to Ukrainian Humanitarian Relief.

Speaking about Hey, Hey, Rise Up, Gilmour said: “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.”

How can I listen to Hey, Hey, Rise Up?

You can listen to the new song from Pink Floyd through all the usual channels.

The front cover of Pink Floyd’s new song Hey, Hey Rise Up (Photo: PA)

Gilmour also released the song and its video on his Instagram account.

What are the lyrics in English?

The lyrics to the new song, sung in Ukrainian, translated in English, go:

“Oh, in the meadow a red viburnum has bent down low

“For some reason, our glorious Ukraine is in sorrow

“And we’ll take that red viburnum and we will raise it up

“And we shall cheer for our glorious Ukraine, hey, hey

“And we shall cheer for our glorious Ukraine, hey, hey

“(Hey, hey)

“Oh, in the meadow a red viburnum has bent down low

“For some reason, our glorious Ukraine is in sorrow

“And we’ll take that red viburnum and we will raise it up

“And we shall cheer for our glorious Ukraine, hey, hey

“And we shall cheer for our glorious Ukraine, hey, hey”