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Ukrainian pop star quits US tour to defend home; Pink Floyd, others show support

Sarah Robsdottir - published on 01/07/23

All proceeds from several video collaborations support Ukrainian humanitarian efforts.

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Over the past few weeks, several versions of the popular Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk’s rendition of the folk song “Rise Up and Rejoice!” made the rounds on social media again — its message right-on-time for the holidays. The clip first went viral 10 months ago when Khlyvnyuk, the lead singer for the popular Ukrainian band Boombox, quit his North American tour in order to defend his homeland with the Ukrainian Army.

Three days after the February 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the 42-year-old singer shared the clip of himself standing in the square in Kyiv, singing the traditional folk song with great gusto on his Instagram page. The clip immediately went viral and caught the eye of several popular musicians, including the Lithuanian National Opera, the South African Kiffness Project, and the band Pink Floyd; all three recorded video collaborations with the singer/soldier’s clip. The Kiffness Project and Pink Floyd have promised to donate all proceeds on their collaborations to humanitarian efforts for Ukrainian people.

Yasmine Leung of The Focus detailed how Pink Floyd band members tracked down Khlyvnyuk in a Ukrainian hospital after he received a facial wound from flying shrapnel in March. While information about the singer is difficult to ascertain in these uncertain times, his Wikipedia page explains that due to his injury he’s been removed from active military duty and is presently serving with the Ukrainian civilian police force.

“Rise Up and Rejoice!” was written during WWI and is known as a protest song. Its lyrics speak of the well-known Ukrainian viburnum flowering plant, which has red berries symbolic of blood spilled:

In the meadow a red viburnum has bent down low
Our glorious Ukraine has been troubled so
And we’ll take that red viburnum and we will raise it up
And we, our glorious Ukraine shall, hey, hey, rise up and rejoice!
And we’ll take that red viburnum and we will raise it up
And we, our glorious Ukraine shall, hey, hey, rise up and rejoice!

Pop MusicUkraine
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