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U2 releases first song in 2 years, ‘Ahimsa,’ featuring Oscar-winning composer

(L-R) The Edge, Larry Mullen, Bono, and Adam Clayton of U2 perform at the SCG on Nov. 22, 2019 in Sydney, Australia.
(L-R) The Edge, Larry Mullen, Bono, and Adam Clayton of U2 perform at the SCG on Nov. 22, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

U2 has just released its first new song in nearly two years. It’s called Ahimsa and is a collaborative effort with world-renowned music producer, A.R. Rahman.

Ahimsa dropped on Thursday and serves as the first piece of original music from U2 since the release of the band’s 14th studio album, Songs of Experience, in late 2017.

In the four-minute, spiritual anti-weapons track, Rahman, 52, accompanies Bono — frontman of the legendary Irish rock band — as the two bounce soothing vocals back and forth.

The Indian composer is best known for his work on a variety of film scores, including 2009’s Slumdog Millionaire — which earned him two Academy Awards.

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As well as his own contributions, Rahman, 52, enlisted his two daughters, Khatija and Raheema, to provide backup vocals on the song, including an Indian-language verse heard at the beginning of the song.

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On the meaning of Ahimsa, Rahman revealed in the official press release that is the Sanskrit word for “non-violence,”

According to the musician, “Ahimsa requires courage and strength. [It is] a quality that is impervious to weapons or power.”

“It’s a mission which is most needed to heal the modern world and it is incredible timing to collaborate with U2, with their amazing legacy, to revive this movement,” he concluded.

(L-R) A.R. Rahman and Bono of U2.
(L-R) A.R. Rahman and Bono of U2. Matt Sayles / Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File

In the joint statement, the song was described as the celebration of “spiritual diversity of India” as it “connects the ethos of U2 with the mastery of A.R. Rahman.”

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U2 guitarist The Edge shared positive sentiments on working with Rahman, too.

“It has been an absolute joy to work with A.R. on this track,” he said.

“[He’s] a superstar and a talent both towering and generous, we are especially excited to visit his homeland in just a few weeks.”

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U2 is set to bring their extensive Joshua Tree anniversary tour to Mumbai on Dec. 15. It will mark the Sunday Bloody Sunday rockers’ first-ever performance in India, and the final show of the band’s two-plus-year trek.

Ahimsa is now available through all major streaming platforms.

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For tour dates, updates and additional information, visit U2’s official website.

The full statement regarding the release of Ahimsa can be read here.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca
U2 surprises commuters on Berlin subway
U2 surprises commuters on Berlin subway