Lappkungens Polska

  Lappkungens Polska is a very special tune from the Province of Jämtland.  The title, “The Lapp-King’s Polska”, uses a term that is deeply historical in both the Swedish and English languages, but is seldom used in modern terms any more.

  The nomadic people of the far north prefer to be called the “Sami” people now, in the same way that Indigenous Americans don’t like the term “American Indians”.  “Lapps” and “Lappland” were names given by outsiders, whereas “Sami” is what they have always called themselves.

At any rate, there never was a “king” of the Sami people, but  there was a man who used that appellation.

Jon Jonsson Holm was born in 1839, and became wealthy dealing with the Sami.   He would buy reindeer calves using liquor for payment, and got more animals and money gambling with less competent card players.  His ownership of large herds of reindeer earned him the name “Lappkungen”. By the time Sweden passed a law forbidding landowners from owning reindeer, Lappkungen had already sold most of them, anyway.

  He was a fiddler, and was known to play often with the famous Lapp-Nils, who composed this tune in his honor.  Lappkungen died in 1895.

Here is a YouTube video of Lappkungens Polska with a nice arrangement of fiddle and guitar.

To the left is a treestump carving of a fiddle scroll in Offerdal, where Lapp-Nils lived.