In the c.1937 photo at the right is Viktor Saarnio, (left) the writer's grandfather and Aarne Koski, the founder and owner of Kouvolan Harmonikka Oy the manufacturer of the best Accordions in Finland.
Viktor, as the Karelian Representative for Kouvolan Harmonikka Oy, and expert tuner, took good care of Viljo's accordion, with which he won many awards. Vesterinen became the World Champion when the judges could not decide which of two runner-ups were best. Viljo played a tune with the accordion backwards and won. Viljo plays this old favorite in honor of Viktor.
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Karelian and East Karelian Music Section
When Russia attacked Finland in 1939, my grandfather Viktor Saarnio and family moved away from Viipuri (Vyborg) along with the entire population. In 1957, Viktor immigrated to Toronto Canada, bringing my grandmother, aunt and uncle, and some beautiful Kouvola harmonikka accordions with him. My family was by then living in Victoria BC, on the west coast of Canada. The times were changing, rock'n'roll was coming in, accordions were going out. And of course hardly anybody had seen a chromatic, which has buttons on both sides and very popular in Finland. In the mid 1960's he returned to Finland with my grandmother and uncle, back to Tampere, where he lived the rest of his life. My aunt stayed in Toronto where she had met her husband. The accordion is alive and well in Finland even today. I happened to be in Finland when Viktor turned 60. A beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived from Kouvolan harmonikka's owner Aarne Koski. The card read: "long live Viktor Saarnio and Säkkijärven Polkka." Säkkijärven Polkka, by V. Vesterinen.
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