This is pretty cool. An ordinary Ukrainian soldier just entertaining his fellow soldiers on a bandura, a traditional folk instrument many consider to be Ukraine’s national instrument. According to Wikipedia, it’s a “Ukrainian plucked-string folk instrument” that “combines elements of the zither and lute” and dates back to the 1400s. To my eyes, it looks like a lute crossed with a harp. This modern iteration comes with 64 strings and looks quite daunting to play.
The choice of Metallica makes sense as they’re still wildly popular in that area of the world as they were one of the first bands to play after the collapse of the Soviet Union in a famous 1991 concert in Moscow that was attended by an estimated 1.6 million. As such, for many, they’ve since become synonymous with freedom from Soviet (Russian) imperialism and tyranny.
A Ukrainian soldier’s acoustic rendition of a Metallica song using a traditional instrument has gone viral.
In the video posted across social media, the soldier is surrounded by others in a room as he plays “Nothing Else Matters.” The hit song was released in 1992 and is one of the heavy metal band’s best-known tracks.
The soldier plays the powerful song on a bandura, a traditional Ukrainian stringed instrument that is shaped like a guitar but sounds like a harp. First posted to TikTok and then later shared to X (formerly Twitter), the video of the soldier playing has received more than 5 million views.
Ukraine seems to be important to the band as well. Just after the war began, Metallica produced t-shirts in support of Ukraine and donated proceeds.
A few months later they raised $1,000,000 for Chef José Andrés World Central Kitchen in Ukraine.
And earlier this year frontman James Hetfield visited Ukrainian soldiers in the United States for rehabilitation. Reportedly, he told them to Kill ‘Em All, a reference to Metallica’s first studio album.