Säkkijärven polkka

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Säkkijärven polkka ("the Säkkijärvi polka"), also called the "Karelian-Finnish Polka," is a well-known folk tune from Finland, very popular with Finnish accordionists. It was especially popularized by Viljo "Vili" Vesterinen (1907–1961). The tune was first recorded in Säkkijärvi (now Kondratyevo in the Leningrad Oblast, Russia), and the lyrics sometimes sung with the tune state that while Säkkijärvi itself might have been lost (ceded to the Soviet Union in 1940), the Finns at least still had the polka.

Military use[edit]

During the Continuation War, the Finnish Army discovered that the retreating Soviets had scattered radio-controlled mines throughout the re-captured city of Viipuri. These mines were set off when a three-note chord was played on the frequency the radio was tuned to, causing three tuning forks (of which each mine had a unique combination) to vibrate at once. Once the Army and Yleisradio experts discovered how the mines worked, an Yleisradio mobile transmitter was brought to Viipuri, and Vesterinen's recording of the polka was played on the same frequencies the mines used. The song was played continuously for about 1,500 times in the beginning of September 1941, after which alternative equipment was used to continue the radio jamming operation until 2 February 1942.

Lyrics[edit]

The lyrics to the polkka are seen here in Finnish and English

Säkkijärvi Polkka Lyrics in Finnish Säkkijärven Polkka Lyrics In English
On kauniina muistona Karjalan maa,

mutta vieläkin syömmestä soinnahtaa,

kun soittajan sormista kuulla saa,

Säkkijärven polkkaa!

Se polkka taas menneitä mieleen tuo

ja se outoa kaipuuta rintaan luo.

Hei, soittaja, haitarin soida suo

Säkkijärven polkkaa!

Nuoren ja vanhan se tanssiin vie,

ei sille polkalle vertaa lie!

Sen kanssa on vaikka mierontie

Säkkijärven polkkaa!

Siinä on liplatus laineitten,

siinä on huojunta honkien.

Karjala soi - kaikki tietää sen -

Säkkijärven polkkaa!

Tule, tule tyttö, nyt kanssani tanssiin,

kun polkka niin herkästi helkähtää.

Hoi! Hepo surkoon ja hammasta purkoon,

kun sillä on ihmeesti suurempi pää!

Tule, tule, tyttö, nyt kanssani tanssiin

kun meillä on riemu ja suvinen sää!

Säkkijärvi se meiltä on pois,

mutta jäi toki sentään polkka!

Kun rakkaimmat rannat on jääneet taa,

niin vieraissa kulkija lohdun saa,

kun kuuntelee soittoa kaihoisaa:

Säkkijärven polkkaa!

Se polkka on vain, mutta sellainen,

että tielle se johtavi muistojen.

On sointuna Karjalan kaunoisen:

Säkkijärven polkka!

Nuoren ja vanhan se tanssiin vie,

ei sille polkalle vertaa lie!

Sen kanssa on vaikka mierontie

Säkkijärven polkkaa!

Siinä on liplatus laineitten,

siinä on huojunta honkien.

Karjala soi - kaikki tietää sen -

Säkkijärven polkkaa!

Tule, tule tyttö, nyt kanssani tanssiin,

kun polkka niin herkästi helkähtää.

Hoi! Hepo surkoon ja hammasta purkoon,

kun sillä on ihmeesti suurempi pää!

Tule, tule, tyttö, nyt kanssani tanssiin

kun meillä on riemu ja suvinen sää!

Säkkijärvi se meiltä on pois,

mutta jäi toki sentään polkka!

Kun rakkaimmat rannat on jääneet taa,

niin vieraissa kulkija lohdun saa,

kun kuuntelee soittoa kaihoisaa:

Säkkijärven polkkaa!

Se polkka on vain, mutta sellainen,

että tielle se johtavi muistojen.

On sointuna Karjalan kaunoisen:

Säkkijärven polkka!

The land of Karelia is only a beautiful memory,

but music still sounds from the heart,

when the musician's fingers let you hear,

the Säkkijärvi Polka!

That polka brings past times to mind

and creates a strange longing in the chest.

Hey, musician, let the accordion play

the Säkkijärvi Polka!

It takes the young and the old to dancing,

nothing compares to that polka!

With it even living without a roof is

Säkkijärvi Polka!

It has the rippling of the waves,

it has the waver of the pine trees.

Karelia sounds - everybody knows it -

the Säkkijärvi Polka!

Come, come girl, dance with me now,

when the polka jingles so delicately.

Hoi! Let the horse lament and clench its teeth,

when it has a larger head!

Come, come, girl, dance with me now

when we have joy and a summerly weather!

We have lost Säkkijärvi,

but we still have the polka left!

When the dearest strands have been left behind,

a wanderer in foreign places finds solace,

when listening to the wistful music:

the Säkkijärvi Polka!

It is only polka, but the kind,

that leads to the path of memories.

The sound of the beautiful Karelia is:

the Säkkijärvi Polka!

It takes the young and the old to dancing,

nothing compares to that polka!

With it even living without a roof is

Säkkijärvi Polka!

It has the rippling of the waves,

it has the waver of the pine trees.

Karelia sounds - everybody knows it -

the Säkkijärvi Polka!

Come, come girl, dance with me now,

when the polka jingles so delicately.

Hoi! Let the horse lament and clench its teeth,

when it has a larger head!

Come, come, girl, dance with me now

when we have joy and a summerly weather!

We have lost Säkkijärvi,

but we still have the polka left!

When the dearest strands have been left behind,

a wanderer in foreign places finds solace,

when listening to the wistful music:

the Säkkijärvi Polka!

It is only polka, but the kind,

that leads to the path of memories.

The sound of the beautiful Karelia is:

the Säkkijärvi Polka!

Other[edit]

Säkkijärven polkka is also the title of the eponymous film directed by Viljo Salminen (1908–1992) in 1955.

The Leningrad Cowboys play the song in the 1989 movie Leningrad Cowboys Go America. An additional mambo rendition is played during the end credits and included in the soundtrack album.

An electronic version of the song, titled Hardcore of the North, appears in the music video game In The Groove, commercial multi player machine dance game IDance and iDance2.

An instrumental piece of the music was featured in the movie Girls und Panzer der Film.

Canadian folk punk band The Dreadnoughts does a version called The Skrigjaargen Polka on their 2009 album Victory Square.

External links[edit]