A Ukrainian punk band has rerecorded the Clash’s classic “London Calling” as a protest song and a resistance anthem against the Russian invasion.
Beton, a punk-hardcore trio, received permission from the surviving members of the Clash before recording “Kyiv Calling,” which changes the lyrics of the 1979 single as a call-to-action to fellow Ukrainians and the rest of the world. The track was recorded in a studio in Lviv, Ukraine on March 17 and 18, the same day Russians fired missiles at the city that’s become a hub for displaced citizens.
“Many Ukrainian musicians are now on battlefields or in territorial defense,” Beton singer Andriy Zholob told the Guardian. “They’ve changed guitars to guns. We hope this song shows Ukrainians’ spirit and our defiance to Russian aggression. We are glad it is going to be played around the world as a symbol of solidarity and hope.”
“Kyiv calling to the faraway towns / Now war is declared and battle come down,” Zholob sings on the updated version. “Kyiv calling to the whole world / Come out of neutrality, you boys and girls / Kyiv calling, now don’t look to us / Phony Putinmania has bitten the dust.”
Danny Saber, a former Joe Strummer collaborator, mixed “Kyiv Calling,” all proceeds of which will go to the citizen-led organization Free Ukraine Resistance Movement (FURM).
In addition to being a punk rocker, Zholob is an orthopedic doctor who is currently war victims and soldiers, while his bandmates — Bohdan Hrynko and Oleg Hula — are both members of the Ukrainian territorial defense.
“The Clash were one of our inspirations when we fell in love with punk rock and music in general, there is no snobbery or pretentiousness to the music, they had something to say and voiced their opinions against human anger,” Zholob told NME. “‘London Calling’ epitomizes all of that and we are very happy to be able to take this iconic classic and turn it into our own anthem with new meaning and life.”
Lviv is also where many of the organizers of the Kyiv-based Atlas music festival have relocated to; as they recently told Rolling Stone, the festival has donated almost all its supplies from the canceled fest — including water, raincoats and gloves — for humanitarian and military efforts.