Itkuvirsi sodissa kaatuneille

Language: Finnish

List of versions

Related Songs

Ystävyyden marssi
(Veikko Lavi)
Hyvä Suomi

[ab. 1914?]
Recorded by Kimmo Pohjonen and Heikki Laitinen
Album / Albumi: Murhaballadeja [2012]


"Itkuvirsi sodissa kaatuneille is a fine tale of the pioneer of Finnish folk music research, Armas Otto Väisänen. The vocal samples used so well in the performance are from Väisänen’s lament recordings made in Mordova, Russia in 1914. Pohjonen plays the accordion impressively throughout."

Finnish Music Quarterly

Heikki Laitinen and Kimmo Pohjonen.
Heikki Laitinen and Kimmo Pohjonen.

This song is called “Lament for Those Fallen in Wars”; it has been recorded by Kimmo Pohjonen and Heikki Laitinen in their (wonderful) 2012 album Murhaballadeja (“Murder Ballads”). I have tried to translate the lyrics, but this task has proved far beyond my current possibilities. I can only grasp the general meaning of the song lyrics, but no full translation is possible to me. I kindly ask Juha Rämö to translate it in no hurry, and thank him in advance. [RV]
Miksis sie heittelit miun aniarmottomaks,
Miksis sie jättelit miun niille ikuikäväisille,
Niille ikuikäväisille

Milläs mie suututtelin sen,
Suloisen suuren luojaisen
Milläs mie vihastuttelin sen
Ylhäisen yhen jumalaisen

Kun hän heitteli miun tukiturvattomaks,
Kun hän jätteli miun niille ikuikäväisille
Nyt sie oot peitelty niillä ikupeittehoisil

Nyt sie oot kateltu niillä ikukattehoisil
Ei ne paista nyt ne jumalan tuuloset
Eihän ne tuule nyt ne jumalan tuuloset
Eikä saa'a nyt ne ikusatteet

Kuuluuthan ne kumiaiset kelloset
Avahuuthan ne taivaan rantaset
Ei avahu armottoman mielalaset.

Contributed by Riccardo Venturi - 2021/3/29 - 12:23

Language: English

Traduzione inglese / English translation / Traduction anglaise / Englanninkielinen käännös: Juha Rämö

Lament singing is an old tradition among the Baltic Finnic peoples. Laments were sung, usually by older women, at funerals and weddings and at the time of men setting off for war. Lamenting is an ancient way of releasing emotions when one is feeling overwhelmed by grief, sadness, pain or anger. Lamenting is rife with symbolism and rarely uses straightforward descriptions. While previous generations of lament singers have died out, a new generation has arisen in Finland, keen on both preserving the traditions of old, and adapting them to suit modern issues.

Why did you leave me without all mercy,
Without support and safety?
Why did you give me this eternal longing,
This eternal longing?

What did I do to deserve the anger
Of the sweet great Creator?
What did I do to deserve the wrath
Of the one and only God Almighty?

He left me without all mercy,
Without support and safety.
He gave me this eternal longing
And now you lie beneath these eternal covers.

Now that you lie beneath these eternal covers,
God's winds won't be blowing any longer.
God's winds won't be blowing,
Nor will the eternal rain be falling.

Bells may be tolling
And skies may open up
But the soul of the one left without mercy
Will remain closed.

Contributed by Juha Rämö - 2021/3/30 - 10:50

Language: Italian

Traduzione italiana / Italian translation / Traduction italienne / Italiankielinen käännös:
Riccardo Venturi, 30-3-2021 20:07
(Dalla traduzione inglese di Juha Rämö
From Juha Rämö's English translation
D'après la traduction anglaise de Juha Rämö
Juha Rämön englanninkielisesta käännöksestä)

Armas Otto Väisänen nel 1913 (con quel che sembra un incisore di cilindri fonici)
Armas Otto Väisänen nel 1913 (con quel che sembra un incisore di cilindri fonici)

"Il canto di lamentazione è un'antica tradizione presso i popoli Baltofinnici. I lamenti venivano cantati, di solito da donne anziane, in occasione di funerali e matrimoni, e quando gli uomini partivano per la guerra. Il lamento era un antico modo di dare sfogo alle emozioni quando qualcuno si sentiva sopraffatto dalla pena, dalla tristezza o dalla collera. Il lamento abbonda di simbolismo ed usa raramente descrizioni esplicite. Le precedenti generazioni di cantori di lamenti sono scomparse, ma ne è sorta una nuova generazione in Finlandia, che conserva con passione le antiche tematiche tradizionali, adattandole ai tempi che corrono." [Juha Rämö]

Perché mi hai abbandonato senza nessuna pietà,
Senza sostegno e senza aiuto?
Perché mi hai dato questa brama eterna,
Questa brama eterna?

Che cosa ho fatto per meritar la collera
Del gran soave Creatore?
Che cosa ho fatto per meritare l'ira
Dell'unico e solo Iddio onnipotente?

Mi ha abbandonato senza nessuna pietà,
Senza sostegno e senza aiuto.
Egli mi ha dato questa brama eterna,
Ed ora giaci sotto queste coperte eterne.

Ora che giaci sotto queste coperte eterne,
I vènti di Dio non soffieranno più.
Non soffieranno i vènti di Dio,
Né cadrà la pioggia eterna.

Posson suonare le campane
E spalancarsi i cieli,
Ma l'anima di chi è stato spietatamente abbandonato
Rimarrà chiusa.

2021/3/30 - 20:08

@ Riccardo Venturi
I don't blame you for your choice. The text written in archaic Finnish was truly a tough nut to crack and I'm still not quite confident about the outcome. Where did you find the text?

Juha Rämö - 2021/3/30 - 10:51

@ Juha Rämö

I was looking for Finnish old murder ballads, so I ran across an entire album of murhaballadeja with its unbelievable (and terrible) cover -I think it must be a very old image of two Finnish outlaws sitting in chains and fetters, like animals in a zoo. Happily enough, the song titles are simple Finnish (btw, the name of Armas Otto Väisänen wasn't unknown to me). The lyrics are quite easy to find through Google by simply typing something like "itkuvirsi sodissa kaatuneille lyrics". That's what I did. Well, then I tried to translate them, an' I found mesell at ae loss (Scottish utterance). I must confess I gave up after the first aniarmottomaks, not to say of the various ikuikäväisille's and ikupeittehoisil's...

Of course, I thank you heartily for your translation, I think it's something that only a native Finn can do. This song -and the whole Murhaballadeja album, I think- deserve to be better known and that's what we are there for. Thank you again!

Riccardo Venturi - 2021/3/30 - 13:51

@ Riccardo Venturi
The terrible picture from 1869 on the album cover is quite well known in Finland. The two men in the picture are Antti Rannanjärvi and Antti Isotalo, two farmers from Härmä in Finnish Ostrobothnia. Known as puukkojunkkari or häjy they led a criminal gang called Isoo-joukko (Big Gang) from 1856 to 1867. In modern Finland, the two criminals are still remembered from the Song Isontalon Antti ja Rannanjärvi.

Juha Rämö - 2021/3/30 - 16:09

@ Juha Rämö

In my opinion, it is really interesting to point out that the so-called “European Union” generally rejects all cultural issues that really unite it. The tradition of lament singing is one: I think it used to be, and still is, widespread in all European countries from Finland to Sicily and Greece, through French complaintes, British laments, Spanish llantos, Greek miroloya and so on. Lament singing must be something coming directly from people's heart; sadness, grief, pain or anger (and I add poverty and injustice) have no borders, not even language borders. I was really struck by the image of the old lament singer Paraskeva Mitronen, btw bearing an old orthodox Russian name (of Greek origin, Παρασκευή) and a Finnish family name: if you don't know she is from Finland, you could take her for an old lament singer from Southern Italy or Greece -except these old women were generally dressed in black. Well, that's my Europe, and it has nothing to do with economical policies and banks. The day will come (tiocfaidh ar lá) when all this will be blown away.

Riccardo Venturi - 2021/3/30 - 21:10

@ Riccardo Venturi

Hear, hear! The European Union is not the first one of its kind in the history of the Finnish people. In the 15th and 16th century, we were a part of the Kalmar Union which came to a violent end in 1520 when the Danish king Christian II decided to attack union partner Sweden and have 80 people, including 2 bishops and 14 noblemen, beheaded or hanged in a massacre called the Stockholm Bloodbath. One can only hope that the end of the EU, that may well start with an imminent vaccine war, will be less bloody.

Juha Rämö - 2021/3/30 - 22:57

Main Page

Please report any error in lyrics or commentaries to

Note for non-Italian users: Sorry, though the interface of this website is translated into English, most commentaries and biographies are in Italian and/or in other languages like French, German, Spanish, Russian etc.

hosted by