Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour joined CNN on Monday to talk about why the band decided to record its first music in nearly 30 years — a song in support of Ukraine featuring vocals by a Ukrainian soldier.
The legendary rock band released the new single “Hey Hey Rise Up” last week in support of the people of Ukraine, the band said in a statement. It’s the first new music from the band since 1994, and all proceeds will go to Ukrainian humanitarian relief, the statement added.
The song is performed by Gilmour and drummer Nick Mason, with bass player Guy Pratt and Nitin Sawhney on keyboard. The song features vocals by Andriy Khlyvnyuk from the Ukrainian band Boombox. The band used audio of Khlyvnyuk singing in central Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, where he performed “a rousing Ukrainian protest song written during the first World War which has been taken up across the world over the past month in protest” against the Russian invasion.
Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren, said in the statement that he felt moved by Khlyvnyuk’s performance “in a square in Kyiv with this beautiful gold-domed church and … in the silence of a city with no traffic or background noise because of the war.”
On Monday, Gilmour talked about how his family members sent him the clip of Khlyvnyuk singing that song in the square.
“It’s just a very, very striking performance and of course, due to the fact it’s a cappella and there’s no other instruments backing it. So you can easily take it to a studio and do something with it,” he said.
Gilmour said at the time he was “already very frustrated by my own inability to do anything much” for Ukraine. He called Russia’s attack on Ukraine “appalling.”
Gilmour said it is an “awful thing that’s going on in Ukraine” and this song “seemed like a great thing to arrive at my feet that I could then turn it into something which was actively, I hope, do some positive good.”
Asked if he could imagine the band doing a live performance with Khlyvnyuk in the future, Gilmour said, “I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.”
“It would be great if we can make something like that work. And he’s very keen on the idea. I have spoken to him several times in the last three weeks,” he added.
Gilmour said that one of those conversations he had with the singer, who is fighting in the war, happened while “he was in a hospital bed having been struck by a piece of mortar shrapnel.”
“He was there with a big black eye, a bandage all over his face. The reality of what he’s living, other people are living through there is just beyond what most of us can really understand or believe can happen in the world.”