- READ MORE: Ukrainian band Antytila talk to us from the frontline: “We try to show people some light”
Earlier this year Antytila reached out to Sheeran asking if they could perform remotely at the ‘Concert For Ukraine’ fundraiser event in Birmingham. Organisers refused because the event is “only able to focus on the humanitarian situation” and the band are currently fighting the Russians in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, but Sheeran did say he was going to be checking out their music.
Following that, they released a collaborative remix of Sheeran’s track ‘2step’ in May, with Antytila sharing screenshots of conversations they’d had with Sheeran.
“I’m up for whatever man, just please keep safe,” Sheeran wrote to the group. “The video you sent was so heartbreaking, I’m so sorry all of this is happening. It’s incredible you write lyrics like that considering all that’s going on, I really appreciate it.”
At the Warsaw gig on Friday, Antytila came across the border from Ukraine to join Sheeran for his performance. “156,000 in Warsaw! One of our favourites from the whole tour,” he wrote on Instagram after the gig.
“Thank you [Antytila] for coming across the border to sing with me, and thank you Poland! What a time.”
Antytila also shared a photo of themselves and Sheeran backstage, writing: “[Ed Sheeran] and Antytila are finally united and standing by Ukraine!
“Thank you Ed and all the team! You are great people with huge hearts!”
See the posts and footage of the performance below.
Speaking about the video, Sheeran said: “I filmed the video for ‘2step’ in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine before the devastating acts of violence started to take place. It was my first time visiting the country and I felt so welcomed during my stay there – everyone from the production crew to the many people I met across my days off.
“Ukraine is a proud and resilient country and I’m grateful to have had the chance to film my video there. I stand with Ukraine and will be donating my record royalties from YouTube streams of the video to the DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal,” he added.
Speaking about collaborating with Sheeran, Antytila’s Taras Topolia told NME: “We don’t want to disturb him. If it can be organic and true for us to have a collaboration, then that would be great. I believe in true stories. It would be a big pleasure for us to team up with Ed Sheeran and celebrate something.”