Toivo Kärki (December 3, 1915 - April 30, 1992) is regarded as one of the most prolific Non-Argentinian tango composers of the 20th century. Kärki was from Finland, and worked as a songwriter, composer, arranger, pianist, producer and publicist. Kärki also composed in the Jenkka (pronounced [yeng-ka]) tradition, which is a Finnish folk dance. However, his original passion was jazz, particularly the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong. It was this music that inspired him to participate in many songwriting competitions, and in 1939 he received the first prize from Rhythm Magazine in London.
Kärki planned a migration to the United States, but the Finnish-Soviet Winter War later that same year changed his life forever. After the second world war, Kärki incorporated his strong passion for jazz as a professional, yet subtle, element in his firm dedication to write music for a wide audience. Kärki worked for several decades as a songwriter but was also as a prominent music publisher. He used his musicality, professionalism and knowledge to serve the convalescing Finnish audience by providing popular music of the highest quality.
Today, Kärki is regarded the father of Finnish Tango and one of the most influential craftsmen in the Finnish songwriting tradition. Together with his lyricists and several vocalists, mainly Reino Helismaa, Tapio Rautavaara, Olavi Virta, Kauko Käyhkö and Henry Theel, Kärki's legacy is the foundation of what is considered the Songs of the Midnight Sun.