Ukrainian punk band Beton (Бетон) have recorded a version of The Clash’s 1979 hit ‘London Calling’. Beton reimagine ‘London Calling’ as a song of Ukrainian resistance, altering the lyrics and dubbing it ‘Kyiv Calling’.
“Kyiv calling to the whole world / Come out of neutrality all you boys and girls,” go the opening lines. “Kyiv calling now don’t look to us / Phoney Putin-mania has bitten the dust.”
The track has gained international attention and even gained the blessing of The Clash (or whoever runs the band’s Facebook page), who reposted it on their own social media accounts. British musician and socialist activist Billy Bragg initially reposted Beton’s revamp of ‘London Calling’, however Bragg withdrew his support for Beton after learning of the band members’ affection for Ukrainian far right politician Stepan Bandera.
“[Bandera] collaborated with the Nazis during the occupation of Ukraine and [his] followers were complicit in the Holocaust,” wrote Bragg.
The band responded, saying that “Stepan Bandera is a hero to many Ukrainians, a symbol of resistance to Russian occupation, a symbol of Maidan.” Maidan is Ukrainian shorthand for political uprising.”
They went on: “[Bandera] also spent many years in a Nazi concentration camp as a prisoner. We understand and we condemn that some people could do some atrocities while using Bandera’s name.”
Beton add, “We recorded the track because we love The Clash and their stance on resistance to oppression. Like them we are anti-fascist and anti-racist. We want to live in a democratic country free from war where everyone is welcome from every race and creed.”
Listen to ‘Kyiv Calling’ below.