Hey Hey: Musical Calls to Rise Up for Ukraine and Mental Health


Music may be providing an important psychological message.




My eldest grandchild, now 19, gave me the name Hey Hey when he was an infant in response to my coming into his house calling out “Hey Hey” to him. As I heard on last Friday morning’s news, the first new song by Pink Floyd in 30 years is titled “Hey Hey, Rise Up!”, which will raise money for the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. I interpreted it as a call of love to Ukrainians and at least a temporary resolution of the group’s internal interpersonal conflicts. The song also features the special appearance of Andriy Khlyvnuk, the lead singer of the popular Ukrainian band Boombox.

The song is a Ukrainian protest song called “The Red Viburnum,” and sung in their language. An English translation goes like this:

“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.”

Later that morning, my wife and I attended the last day of a Korngold Symposia at the University of Chicago. Erich Wolfgang Korngold was a Jewish composer from Vienna, who came to Hollywood with his family in the early 1930s to escape the Nazis, and became well known for his film musical scores, especially for The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938. Of course, Robin Hood can be viewed as a metaphor of a small force fighting against a powerful oppressor.

In one way or another, the personal is always involved in these wider societal interactions. Korngold was reported as struggling with how much to compose the serious classical music that his journalist father desired. Julian Lennon has been reported as struggling about whether to ever sing his estranged father’s famous song for peace, “Imagine,” and just did so for Ukraine.

These popular musical examples may be providing an important psychological message: What we in social psychiatry must value the most is personal mental health that is connected to societal support in a feedback loop of health and healing.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.

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