The Finnish song “Ieva’s Polkka” may be an excellent alternative to waterboarding.
What do 19th century Finnish villagers, 21st century nerds, dancing donkey girls, and Darth Vader have in common? Well, the “Ievan Polkka”, of course. We’ve touched on Internet memes before, but one that somehow escaped our attention was the Loituma Girl and the Finnish band Loituma’s version (clip below) of the Ievan Polkka. Our apologies in advance for the earworm infection you’re likely to contract if you actually watch these clips, you may need the aural equivalent of eye bleach when you’re done. We recommend something a little easier on the brain, like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. So what’s this all about? Well, it started innocently enough, with a catchy Finnish folk song. The haunting and bittersweet kind you write when it’s dark all the time because you live in the arctic circle, and with gibberish words in the lyrics so you can still sing it when you’re bombed on vodka. Fast forward a couple hundred years. A Finnish pop band called “Loituma” does a catchy version of it that becomes an international hit. Then – as is inevitable when Finnish pop bands have international hits based on 200 year old polkas – a Swedish DJ named Basshunter does a really bad rave remix of the tune. From there the history gets a little muddled, but like many Internet memes, it basically boils down to a question of whether you’re the kind of person who would say “Yes, I absolutely understand the humor in a female Japanese cartoon character spinning a leek while a Finnish polka plays” or the kind of person who would say “Wow. I really don’t see the humor in a female Japanese cartoon character spinning a leek while a Finnish polka plays“. From there, much like the Crazy Frog (strangely, also a Swedish creation) the meme took on a life of its own, so we end up with the song set to everything from the original “Loituma Girl” swinging her leek to Darth Vader swinging a light saber (Flash). And thanks to Internet Rule 34, there are hundreds of pornographic versions as well. For a slightly NSFW version (it’s a Hentai character shaking her breasts in a sheer top) see the Hentai Ievan Polkka (Flash). And if you want to watch the time pass as you listen to the tune 24 hours a day, there’s even a Loituma Girl Clock. We’ve rounded up a few of the more popular renditions below, let us know if we’ve missed anything important.
This is the original light-hearted video for Loituma’s rendition:
The DJ Basshunter Version:
Here’s a basic techno version of the Loituma Girl that starts out a capella:
The “Darth Vader Swinging A Light Saber” version:
This is the Holly Dolly version, which is hard to find in an embeddable format. For some reason that eludes simple logic, Universal Music Group finds this a valuable property that they don’t want “spreading all over the Internet or something”.
And we would’ve shared the Pinhead & the Pinguins version, but for reasons probably related to national security or something, Warner Music Group doesn’t want us watching it in the US: