Chris Hadfield, Barenaked Ladies song from space premieres

Barenaked Ladies frontman Ed Robertson remains a bit awestruck at the band's latest collaboration: teaming up with Chris Hadfield on a new song recorded while the Canadian astronaut is ensconced at the International Space Station.

"Chris and I were able to write a song together while he was training in Russia for the mission that he's currently on and then we were able to record the song with him in space. It's really incredible when you think about it," Robertson told CBC News.

"When I started this band, I didn't have a cellphone and nobody had really heard of the internet. And now I can work with a man who's in space and [we can] make a music track together!"

Their song — titled I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing) — debuts Friday morning on CBCMusic.ca, CBC-TV and CBC Radio.

Hadfield first approached the band while he was stationed at NASA Mission Control in Houston and the band was touring the southern U.S. about a decade ago, Robertson recalled. Over the years, Hadfield — who becomes the space station commander in March — has bonded with the singer-songwriter over shared interests, from performing music to flying airplanes to refinishing old trucks.

Their song collaboration was officially commissioned by CBC Music and the Coalition for Music Education for the upcoming Music Monday celebrations, the annual initiative championing music education.

Though the members of the Barenaked Ladies have a busy schedule right now — they're recording a new album, prepping a summer tour and writing music for a Broadway production of Animal House — joining Hadfield on a song from space was irresistible.

"When Chris Hadfield calls and says 'Hey I wanna write a song with you!' — you've gotta clear your schedule for that," Robertson said.

Hadfield was a great songwriting partner as well, he added.

"It shocked me. I was like 'Dude, you're a high-functioning individual. You're training to command the ISS and writing beautiful poetry,'" he said.

"Chris is one of those renaissance guys. He has a love and an appreciation for arts and he's obviously a very technical, a very competent and accomplished person: everything from flying fighter planes to the shuttle to commanding the ISS."

Their song — which invokes a sense of loneliness, longing and missing home — also features the voices of Toronto's Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts glee choir.

"It's a really great opportunity and we're really happy to be working with such amazing people," said choir member Torri Webster.

"It's a really neat thing to hear that schools and choirs all over the country are going to be singing this song [on Music Monday in May]," added fellow singer Gray Monczka.

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