Life in the Finland Woods is a popular Scandinavian piece of music. Written by Carl Jularbo (1893-1966), it is prevalent in Canada and the USA as well as Scotland and Ireland. It was made famous in the UK and Ireland with Jimmy Shand, Foster and Allen, Seán Ryan and many others recording it. It is also known by different titles such as ‘Life in the Finnish Woods’ or “Livet i Finnskogarna”, (life in the Finn forests), and despite the name, the tune is from Malmo, Sweden. The song was written about some Finnish people who settled in the woods nearby.  Here’s what i learned on the web….

The composer Carl Jularbo was a Swedish accordion virtuoso who first recorded the tune in 1915, and it was published in a 1938 Swedish tune book Jularbos Basta. It’s also believed Pattie Page used the first two parts of the melody for her 1950’s hit song “Mockingbird Hill”. She has a stunning voice.

I learned the tune from the playing of Mick Foster of Foster and Allen. He gave me a copy of his music book in Aberdeen some twenty years ago. I still have my signed copy and I would recommend you snap up a copy for yourself.  As an accordionist or any other musician I think you need this book in your collection of scores. It will make you feel more complete and add value to your repertoire. The print is large so the score is very easy to read and there’s a good variety of melodies.

Get the Mick Foster accordion tunes book here:​ 

Foster and Allen’s recording of the song in 1987 appears on their album “Reflections”, it’s track 15.

Carl Jularbo’s 1954 recording of his original tune “Livet i Finnskogarna” on track 28 of the album De bästa soloinspelningarna 1913-1954

Well I hope this short post gives some value to your day and that you enjoyed my playing the version of Life in the Finland Woods from Mick’s book and hearing the older original version from Carl Jularbo on Amazon. It’s been an interesting exercise for me to research the tune for you and I’ve discovered another accordionist to listen to and steal ideas from. I’ll be listening to more of Carl and discovering more new tunes on the never ending journey of discovery that is music.

Leave a comment and let me know what you’d like to hear me play, or just comment for the sake of it so I know someones’ reading. We are all just joining the dots on the pages of time.

It might look like I’m listening to you, but in my head I’m playing the accordion.

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