Above: U2’s Bono and The Edge with their collaborator India’s A.R. Rahman.
As U2 criss-crossed Australia for the Down-Under leg of their Joshua Tree Tour, the band was also looking ahead to its upcoming India visit, releasing a new, Indian-flavoured song promoting peace.
The track, dropped on Thursday in between the band’s Adelaide and Sydney shows, was recorded in collaboration with celebrated Indian composer and recording artist, A.R. Rahman, and is called Ahimsa – a Sanskrit word that means ‘non-violence’ and is a central virtue in religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.
The song celebrates peace and spirituality, references Hinduism in its cover art, and contains Indian lyrics, but like many a U2 track, it’s also laden with Christian and Biblical allusions.
The song references the New Testament’s depictions of believers meeting the Lord “in the air” … and speaks of a place where “there is no weeping”.
The opening lines, I’ll meet you where the sky is torn / I’ll meet you in the air, reference the New Testament’s depictions of the sky splitting, and of believers meeting the Lord “in the air” at the second coming of Jesus, while the second verse speaks of a time and place to come where “there is no weeping”. The chorus is seemingly a gentle call to spirituality, faith and peace:
This is an invitation / To a high location / From someone who wants to be loved /
This is a meditation / On your radio station / If you like it you can sing along / Ahimsa.
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The song’s release is a month out from the Joshua Tree Tour’s Mumbai show on December 15. It will be the first time U2 has been to India.