U2 has released “Ahimsa,” their first new song in two years since the release of that last album 2017’s Songs of Experience.
The track is a collaboration with Indian artist A.R. Rahman, whose daughters, Khatija and Raheema, contribute vocals to the song. U2 will play India for the first time on December 15 as part of their continuing tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree.
Rahman told Rolling Stone India, “The concept of ‘ahimsa’ or non-violence — it’s Indian, it’s South Asian, it’s Buddhist… and sometimes we have to remind people about love, about ahimsa. It takes a lot of courage to be non-violent. It takes a lot of power. It’s not a weakness, it’s more power than showing might; it’s going beyond that, believing in something else which is not present… something that’s only in your spirit.”
In a statement on the song, Bono said, “We were somewhat shaped and formed by Martin Luther King who was a student of Mahatma Gandhi. Martin Luther King said ‘The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice….’ I don’t believe that anymore… It doesn’t bend towards justice, it has to be bent towards justice. We have to be actively involved in our democracy to preserve it and show people how we feel and what we care about. We come as students to the source of inspiration. That is Ahimsa… non-violence. India gave this to us… the greatest gift to the world. It is more powerful than nuclear energy, the armies, the navy’s, the British Empire. It is power itself. And it’s never been more important.”
“Ahimsa” is available for streaming/download here.