Mateli Magdalena Kuivalatar

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Mateli Magdalena Kuivalatar (8 May 1777 - 29 December 1846), was a Finnish-Karelian folksinger. She is regarded as the most noted among the known Finnish-Karelian folksongers of her sex. Her influence upon Kanteletar by Elias Lönnrot is regarded to be great.


She belonged to the peasantry and was the 6th of eleven children to Antti Antinpoika Kuivalainen (d. 1741) and Valpuri Matintytär Muroke Tohmajärven Oskolasta. She married Pietari (Pekka) Antinpoika Ikosen in 1793 and had eleven children. She was widowed in 1832. Kuivalatar was active as a folksinger, a seer and a cunning woman.

Elias Lönnrot encountered her in September 1838. He was by then almost done with the Kanteletar, but after meeting her and realizing her knowledge in the subject, he revised his work and started all over again. Her folk songs were rare, and often centered around a young man's longing for love. Her poems also included events of the Kalevala.

She died of cancer.


  • Apo, Sato: The History of Nordic Women’s Literature
  • Haavio Martti, Viimeiset runonlaulajat, WSOY Porvoo 1943.
  • Oja, Aulis: Mateli Kuivalatar ja hänen sukunsa. Kalevalaseuran vuosikirja, 1957, 37. vsk, s. 181-186. Porvoo: Kalevalaseura. (suomeksi)
  • Turunen Aimo, Mateli Kuivalatar – Koitereen laulaja, Kantelettaren runotar, Karjalaisen kulttuurin edistämissäätiö, Joensuu 1985.