View Full Version : Accordion princess Viola Turpeinen

01-01-05, 17:19
Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat had on friday a story about Viola Turpeinen
She was known in her time as the Accordion Princess. Viola played all over the United States and visited Finland. She made her first records in 1928-29 in New York and Chicago.

She made over 100 records. These recordings have now been republished on CD.

Viola Turpeinen was born. 15 nov. 1909 in Champion, North Michigan, died. 26 Dec. 1958. In 1952 she moved with her husband William Syrjälä (1893-1993) to Lake Worth, Florida. They performed together and went on their last tour in 1957, Her ashes are buried together with her husband in Shell Lake Cemetery, Wisconsin.

According to the article there were 28 Finnish music records made in the USA in 1928 and 90 in 1929. The most popular Finnish record singer in the USA those days was Leo Kauppi, born in Kotka. His most popular tune vas Antti Kosolan valssi (Antti Kosola’s Walz). It sold 30 000 records.

All-in-all there were about 500 Finnish 78 rpm records made in the USA, i.e. 1000 tunes. They were recorded in the same studios where Paul Whiteman, Duke Ellington and the Carter Family made their recordings.


01-01-05, 20:54
I remember Viola and Bill coming to Southern New Jersey to play on a Saturday night at the Normandia Club Hall in Vineland. They stayed overnight once or twice at our home. My mother was Viola's age and knew her from their New York days and the 5th Avenue Hall. The dances were well attended with Finns, Swedes and Norwegians ( with a couple of Germans & Italians thrown-in by marriage) coming from all over New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and some times from Connecticut.