Tune of the Day: Ievan Polkka
First and foremost, let's make it clear that the title of this traditional Finnish polka is spelled with an uppercase “i”, and not with a lowercase “L”, “Ieva” being the Savo Finnish version of the name “Eva”.
This polka can be traced back to the old Viipuri Province in the 18th century. 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.
This song is best known from an a cappella performance by the Finnish quartet Loituma, first released on their debut album, Loituma, in 1995. The album was released in the United States as Things of Beauty in 1998. The song acquired greater popularity via the Internet in the spring of 2006 because of a Flash animation known as “Loituma Girl”, which starred the character Orihime Inoue from the popular Japanese anime Bleach, twirling a leek and singing along to the song.
The famous Loituma version is in the key of D-sharp (or E-flat) minor, but to make things simpler we scored the tune in D minor. You can still play it in D-sharp minor by using a key signature of six sharps.