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"Ievan Polkka" or "Ievan Polokka" (Savo Finnish for "Eva's Polka") is a popular Finnish song with lyrics written in the early 1930s by Eino Kettunen to a traditional Finnish polka tune. The name is commonly misspelled Levan polkka, due to the similarity of lower-case L and upper-case i in sans-serif fonts. It is also known as "Loituma's Polka" (or "Loituma's Polkka").
The melody of "Ievan Polkka" is very similar to Savitaipaleen polkka, and in South Karelia the Ievan Polkka is also known as "Savitaipaleen polkka". The melody is also very similar to a folk dance from the area of Smolensk in Western Russia, which is known as Smolenski gusačok ("смоленский гусачок"/"Small Gander in Smolensk").
The melody can be traced back to the Viipuri Province in the 18th century when the border with the Kingdom of Sweden ran west of the province. The number of Russian soldiers stationed in the border area outnumbered the locals for many decades. At the beginning of the 19th century collectors of Finnish folk dances and folk songs all mention that the dances in the area of Luumäki-Savitaipale were Russian dances only and didn't write them down. Locals who are well-versed in folk music agree the melody is very old and likely to have been known back in the early 19th century and therefore probably of even older origin. However, the polka genre is of much later date. Polka was introduced in northern Europe during the late 19th century, which implies that the actual tune as it is known today originates from this era.
The Loituma version of the song includes an intermezzo of phonetically inspired gibberish containing only a few Finnish words; it is not part of the original song written by Eino Kettunen. The content of the intermezzo varies from one performance to another and is not listed on most lyrics. It is similar to scat in jazz.
The song takes the point of view of a young man. He wants to dance with Ieva (Eva or Eeva in Savo), but her mother won't let him. They sneak away to someone else's house, where everyone is dancing to a polka, and dance all night. When he follows her home, her angry mother is waiting for them, but he tells her straight out that Ieva and he will be together no matter what.
Very popular after World War II, the song was almost forgotten during the late 1970s and 1980s. The song resurfaced after an a cappella performance by the Finnish quartet Loituma, which was first released on their debut album, Loituma, in 1995. The album was released in the United States as Things of Beauty in 1998.
The a cappella version of the song acquired greater international popularity as part of an Internet meme in the spring of 2006. The flash animation "Loituma Girl" (also known as "Leek Spin") which starred the character Orihime Inoue from the Japanese anime Bleach, twirling a leek and singing along to the song. For the animation, only the second half of the fifth stanza (four lines) and the complete sixth stanza (eight lines) are used.
The song is also very popular in the Czech city of Brno, where it is played after home victories by the city's hockey club HC Kometa Brno in honor of the team's star Finnish goalkeeper, Sasu Hovi.
Furthermore, mobile ringtones based on various mixes of "Ievan Polkka" gained a wide popularity among Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States mobile subscribers in late 2006. The tune is also the theme song to the Internet sitcom Break a Leg.; it was remixed by DJ Basshunter of Sweden, DJ Sharpnel of Japan, and Beatnick of Poland; and a version of the song was part of a Ready Brek television advert aired in the United Kingdom. Also, some videos show a Farfetch'd spinning a leek.
The "Dolly Song" by Holly Dolly is used as the theme song of a Greek TV series called Η οικογένεια βλάπτει (I oikogeneia vlaptei) shown by Mega Channel.
The song also appears in Korpiklaani's 2012 album, Manala.
- Matti Jurva (1937)
- Onni Laihanen (1947)
- Jorma Ikävalko (1950) Link
- Tukkilais Orchestra (1952)
- Nummi Kvartetti (1953)
- Arttu Suuntala (1966)
- Jaakko Salo (1972)
- Pauli Räsänen (1972)
- Loituma (1995)
- Six B Rothers (1995)
- Kuplettiryhmä (1998)
- DJ Sharpnel (as "PRETTY GREEN ONIONS") (2006)
- DJ Slon - Финская Полька (Finnish Polka), sung in Russian (2006)
- Recall Project - "Як Цуп Цоп (Loituma Polkka)" (Yak Tsup Tsop) (2006)
- Holly Dolly (as "Dolly Song [Ieva's Polka]") (2006)
- Lena & Laurin - Der Kleine Eskimo, sung in German(2006)
- Delin (as "Dilidala (Eva's Polka)") (2006)
- Basshunter (2007)
- Hatsune Miku (2007) - A singing synthesizer software
- Vocaloid - Kagamine Rin/Len (2008) - A singing synthesizer software
- The Vienna Boys Choir (2008)
- Vocaloid - Megurine Luka (2009) - A singing synthesizer software
- Miku Hatsune -Project DIVA- (2009) – Link
- Vox Nova (2009) Link
- Maskottina (Tonia Cestari) on YouTube (2007) and at Caserta Vecchia (Italy 2010)
- Korpiklaani (2012)
- Red. Greger Andersson, Musik i Norden, Musikaliska akad. Stockholm 1997, article "Spelmannen och hans musik"
- Paul Brown (1 July 2009). "TV Ad Music » Ready Brek – Ready For Anything". Retrieved 15 November 2009.
- Original Loituma Site (Flash version)
- Loituma Flash (Flash version)
- Loituma's version (on YouTube)
- Loituma's version with lyrics (on YouTube)
- Arttu Suuntala's version (on YouTube)
- Pauli Räsänen's version (on YouTube)
- A live video clip with Loituma singing the complete song (Flash format)
- Ready Brek advertisement (on YouTube)
- Hatsune Miku's version (on YouTube)
- Kagamine Len's version (on YouTube)
- Lumberjack band's version from movie On lautalla pienoinen kahvila (1952) (on YouTube)
- Basshunter's version On Bass Generation (on YouTube)