Polska efter Pusten
This Polska efter Pusten is a very special tune in Sweden. It is from the repertoire of a fiddler named Jonas Persson Wik, who lived from 1895 to 1891. Wik was known as “Pusten”, some say because of his leather breeches puffing air when he walked – “pust” being the sound made.
Pusten was an influential fiddler from the village of Rogsta, in Hälsingland. Among the tunes in his repertoire are several polskas unique to his legacy alone. They have no variants in other parts of Sweden.
I was told once that a Hälsingland fiddler played some of Pusten’s tunes in Norway once, and an elderly woman told him that she recognized them as tunes her father had played. Her father was from Russia. Rogsta is near the Baltic coast, and Russian ships used to go to Sweden for both peaceful and warlike purposes. It is very possible that some Russian musician met Pusten on some occasion and exchanged some tunes with him.
This particular Pusten Polska is nicknamed “Höga Pusten” (“High Pusten”) to differentiate it from some of the others. It is one of the first Hälsingland tunes I learned on my first time in Sweden, in 1974.
Here is a YouTube recording of it from 2004. It was played by a class of young people in a workshop of Hälsingland tunes. It is played first on recorder with pump organ backup, but finishes with the whole group in grand style.
To the left is a photo of the old fishermen’s huts in Hudiksvall, the port city just south of the village of Rogsta.
Here is a video of me playing “Höga Pusten”, with the ornamentation I first learned with it.