Last Sept we recorded 6 Finnish tunes supported by Scandinavian Folk Arts Project (also known by the succinct alias Nordic Folklife Project) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Amerikan leski," composed by Elisa Valkama, an America widow in her own right, was published in 1905. Here, Finnish women are warned about the men who leave them behind on their way to America.
"Lumber-Jäkki" by Arthur Kylander takes a comedic approach to the life of a lumberjack while poking fun at some of the challenges that these lumberjacks endured in the woods.
“Tiskarin polka,” by Hiski Salomaa describes the working conditions of a young and overworked woman and her anticipation for Thursday and her day off and the dance at the local Finn Hall.
Written by Santeri Mäkelä and originally published in "Työväen laulukirja" (Songbook of the Working Class), a socialist songbook printed in Hancock, Michigan, in 1909, "Kaivantomiehen laulu" describes the difficult and often deadly working conditions that many Finnish migrants faced in the mines.
Written by Hiski Salomaa, "Lännen lokari" describes the romantic pursuits of a western logger. Of course, while he sings of the benefits of having a woman in every town, we are also privy to the uncertainty of work and the itinerant lifestyle that many loggers lived.
Well known in Finland by 1930 when Ernest Paananen recorded the song, "Muistatko vielä illan sen" tells of homesickness and separation.