Heikki Lunta Inspires More Music

Da Yoopers publicity photo. Courtesy of Da Yoopers. Clockwise from top left: Reggie Lusardi, Lynn Anderson, Richard Bunce, Jim “Hoolie” DeCaire, Jim Bellmore, Robert Nebel, Bobby Symons, and Steve Calhoun.
Da Yoopers in performance (left). Photo Courtesy Da Yoopers.
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Da Yoopers in performance. Courtesy Da Yoopers.

After two decades of surviving through festivals and informal events, Heikki Lunta reached a wider audience when Ishpeming-based musicians and comedy act Da Yoopers released their album, Yoopy Doo Wah, featuring the song, “Heikki Lunta.” Catchy, with a fast beat, “Heikki Lunta” tells the story of three invocations of the snow god: when some hunters need snow to track deer, when children wish for snow for Christmas, and when a ski jump needs snow for skiers.

Da Yoopers, known widely for their comic portrayal of Finnish-American and Upper Peninsula stereotypes, added an important element to the Heikki Lunta story. Until their song, many of the uses of the snow god revolved around his services to businesses, and particularly, the tourism industry. With this song, Da Yoopers explored the uses of Heikki Lunta for the pleasure of locals. They represent the hunters, the carefree children and the skiers found in the local community. We see how Heikki Lunta benefits the community in new ways.

In a unique twist in the last stanza, Heikki Lunta is unable to make it snow at the Suicide ski jump, and skiers must ask another Finnish-American/Upper Peninsula luminary, Carl Pellonpaa, to help make the snow come. Pellonpaa is the host of Suomi Kutsuu [Finland Calling], the world’s only Finnish-American television program.

Another important fact about Da Yoopers’ “Heikki Lunta” is that the legend of the Snow God had spread. Popular not just in Upper Michigan, but throughout the Midwest, Da Yoopers have been instrumental in spreading the stories of the Finnish Snow God further and further.

The 1991 album, Yoopy Do Wah,” featuring the song, “Heikki Lunta.” This song helped to revitalize Heikki’s legend, bringing him to new and younger audiences.

COPYRIGHT:© Hilary Virtanen 2006
Accessibility concerns to sjziemen@wisc.edu