The Heikki Lunta Snow Dance Song

Heikki Lunta is the Finnish snow god, born in 1970 in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. That may sound strange, but it's another of those things that just snowball when people want to have a little fun. Houghton County, Michigan, has a large concentration of people with Finnish ancestry, and they know how to enjoy snow. But when you have a snow event planned, and the weather doesn't cooperate, you have to take things into your own hands.

There's a little town called Atlantic Mine about five miles away from Houghton where they hold an annual snowmobile race every winter. In 1970 the race was at risk of being cancelled because there wasn’t any snow. The race was sponsored by radio station WMPL in nearby Hancock. With no snow in sight, one of the station’s salesmen, David Riutta, composed a song called the "Heikki Lunta Snowdance Song." It took him about twenty minutes to invent the lyrics. "Heikki Lunta," it turns out, means “Henry Snow” in Finnish, and Riutta chose the name because his favorite musician was country western singer Hank Snow. Heikki Lunta was said to live in the back woods of a Finnish farming community south of Houghton, and he reportedly had the ability to do a dance which would cause snow to fall from the skies. Riutta’s song asked "Heikki Lunta" to do his dance to make it snow in time for the snowmobile race. They started playing the song on WMLP, it immediately became a local hit, and, lo and behold, it soon began snowing. According to local lore, it snowed and snowed for days. So much so that they had to cancel the snowmobile race.

(YouTube link)

The snow got the song on the news, and soon other radio stations were playing it. That sparked a backlash from people who didn't care for snowstorms, until Ruitta recorded another song called "Heikki Lunta Go Away," that ended up as the B-side of "Heikki Lunta." The legend stuck around. Da Yoopers recorded a different song, also called "Heikki Lunta" on their album Yoopy do Wah in 1991.

(YouTube link)

You'll hear that version of the song often during the annual Heikki Lunta Festival, taking place January 19-20, 2018 in Negaunee, Michigan. -via a comment at Metafilter

(Image credit: Heikki Lunta 2018)


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