Monday, October 20, 2008

Frogg No 2 - Saku Sammakko

Here's the one song that I - until recently - thought was a genuine Finnish children song. But how wrong can one be. Brita Koivunen (see previous entry) recorded "Saku Sammakko" (Saku The Frog) in 1961 together with Four Cats. It was a huge hit among both children and adults, and has since been one of the most sung number in sing-a-longs. Everybody knows "Saku Sammakko". The original song is an extremely old English folk ballad. "Frog Went A-Courtin'" has been sung with slightly different title and lyrics for over 400 years! The story is however always the same; what happened when a frog went courting. The oldest known musical version is from the year 1611. The lyrically modernized pop music version was done by Brothers Four. As to emphasize the difference between the original and the new version, they renamed it to "Frogg No 2". The Brothers Four were an American folk group founded in 1957 in Seattle, Washington. Bob Flick, John Paine, Mike Kirkland, and Dick Foley met at the University of Washington in 1956. They are frequently credited as the 'composers' of the song, but the right term would be 'innovative arranging'. The group is generally known as the performers of such evergreens (sic) as "Greenfields" and "Greenleaves of Summer". The frog song has been recorded by several big names including Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. But as an example of an interpretation prior to Brothers Four's version, let's listen to Burl Ives, a famous American actor and singer, sing about how "Mr. Froggie Went A-Courtin".

Here's the triplet:

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