Ievan polkka

"Ievan polkka" (Finnish for "Ieva's Polka") is a popular Finnish song with lyrics printed in 1928[1] and written by Eino Kettunen to a traditional Finnish polka tune. The song is sung in an Eastern Savonian dialect spoken in North Karelia. It's sung from the point of view of a young man, about a woman called Ieva (dialectal for the name Eva or Eeva in standard Finnish) who sneaks out and dances the polka with him all night. The song is often mistaken for a traditional folk song, but the lyrics by Eino Kettunen are still under copyright. Later, a scat singing version of the song by the band Loituma was incorporated into the viral animation Loituma Girl, sung by Hatsune Miku, with Otomania arranged the music and providing Miku's voice manipulation, bringing the tune into worldwide popular culture.


In South Karelia, Ievan Polkka is also known as "Savitaipaleen polkka", due to its similarity to a tune of that name. The melody also resembles that of the Russian folk dance Смоленский гусачок (The Smolyanin Gosling).[2][3]

The melody can be traced back to the 18th century and the Viipuri Province, when the border with the Kingdom of Sweden ran west of the province. The number of Russian soldiers stationed in the border area outnumbered the locals for many decades. At the beginning of the 19th century, collectors of Finnish folk dances and songs remarked that all the dances in the area of Luumäki-Savitaipale were Russian, and thus the collectors didn't record them. However, the polka genre is of a much later date. Polka was introduced into Northern Europe during the late 19th century, which implies that the actual tune, as it is known today, originates from this era.[4]


Owing to its viral exposure in popular culture, Ievan Polkka has become one of the most famous Finnish songs in the world.

Very popular after World War II, the song was almost forgotten during the late 1970s and 1980s. The song resurfaced after an a cappella performance by the Finnish quartet Loituma, which was first released on their debut album, Loituma, in 1995. The Loituma lyrics and arrangement are under copyright and published by Warner Chappell Music outside the Nordic countries. The album was released in the United States as Things of Beauty in 1998.

The Loituma version of the song acquired great international popularity as part of an Internet phenomenon in the spring of 2006, when the Loituma Girl (also known as Leekspin), a looped animation of anime character Orihime Inoue from the Bleach series twirling either a spring onion (in the Japanese original) or a leek (in the English dub), set to a scat singing section of the song was posted on Russian LiveJournal. For the animation, only the second half of the fifth stanza (four lines) and the complete sixth stanza (eight lines) are used. It quickly became a global hit and the song soon enjoyed overwhelming popularity as a ringtone.[5][user-generated source] Since then, the song has been circulating under several misspelled variations of its original name, including "Ievas Polkka", "Levan Polkka" (due to the similarity between the sans-serif lowercase L (l) and uppercase i (I)) and "Leekspin Song".

Fans of the Vocaloid software have made Vocaloid voicebanks, such as Megurine Luka, Kagamine Rin, and Kagamine Len cover the song. The most popular Vocaloid cover belonged to Otomania, who in 2007 made Hatsune Miku sing it with the nonsensical lyrics by Loituma. The official music video has garnered more than 6 million views on Niconico by March 2022.[6] It features a chibi derivative of Hatsune Miku, officially known as Hatchune Miku, holding a spring onion in reference to Loituma Girl, and is the origin of her association with spring onions or leeks. Its popularity resulted in its use by the Vocaloid rhythm game series Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA, mainly as tutorial music. It has also been used in a commercial promoting the LG G5 smartphone.

In 2012, the Finnish folk metal band Korpiklaani recorded a cover of the song for their eighth album Manala. Mobile ringtones based on various mixes of "Ievan Polkka" gained a wide popularity among Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States mobile subscribers in late 2006.[citation needed] The tune is also the theme song to the Internet sitcom Break a Leg;[citation needed] it was remixed by musician Basshunter of Sweden, DJ Sharpnel of Japan, and Beatnick of Poland;[citation needed] and a version of the song performed by Anne Kulonen was part of a Ready Brek television advert aired in the United Kingdom.[7]

In 2016, Erika Ikuta, a member of the Japanese girl group Nogizaka46, sang Ievan Polkka as a part of her private segment on a web TV show titled Nogizaka46 Hours TV.[8] This song then became well known among Nogizaka46's fans.[9] She later sang it on several occasions, including on the "JUNK Bananaman no Bananamoon GOLD" radio show, "Nogizaka Under Construction" on TV Aichi, and on "Banana Zero Music" on NHK.

In December 2018, a video of the visually impaired[10] Turkish street musician Bilal Göregen performing Ievan Polkka on a darbuka was uploaded on YouTube.[11] The video received over 1.9 million views in one year. A version of this video posted on Twitter in October 2020, with "CatJAM" / "Vibing Cat" (a white cat rhythmically bobbing its head) edited in, gained viral popularity as a meme template on Instagram and Reddit.[12] On November 1, 2020, Göregen uploaded a version of this video to his own YouTube channel. As of March, 2022, the video has had over 82 million views.[13] After this video was posted, interest in the song peaked once again based on Google search results. [14]

Loituma versionEdit


Chart (2007) Peak
Germany (Official German Charts)[15] 48

Other versionsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ National Library of Finland; Eino Kettunen. "Eino Kettusen savo-karjalaisia y.m. humoristisia lauluja : 9:s vihko". Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  2. ^ Carl Dennis. "Смоленский гусачок [Smolenskiy gusachok]". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  3. ^ Gennady Petrovich Gusev (2012). Народный танец [Folk dance]. ВЛАДОС. p. 488. ISBN 978-5-04-021452-5.
  4. ^ Bjørn Aksdal. "Spelmannen och hans musik". In Greger Andersson (ed.), Musik i Norden, The Royal Swedish Academy of Music, Stockholm, 1997.
  5. ^ "Як цуп цоп". Lurkmore. Archived from the original on 2012-08-10. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  6. ^ "VOCALOID2 初音ミクに「Ievan Polkka」を歌わせてみた". Niconico. Retrieved 2020-04-18.
  7. ^ "Ready Brek – Ready For Anything". TV Ad Music. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  8. ^ Ievan Polkka sung by Ikuta Erika, YouTube, posted March 8, 2016,
  9. ^ "Nogizakka 460," YouTube, posted March 13, 2017,
  10. ^ "Bilal Göregen From The "Cat Vibing to Street Musician's Ievan Polkka" Meme Fills Us In On What It's Like To Become An Internet Celebrity Overnight". Know Your Meme. Retrieved 2020-11-22.
  11. ^ "Bilal Göregen - Cat Vibing To Ievan Polkka (Official Video HD) Cat Vibing To Music | Cat Vibing Meme". Archived from the original on 2021-12-14 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ "Cat Vibing to Street Musician's Ievan Polkka". Know Your Meme. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
  13. ^ "Cat Vibing To Ievan Polkka (Official Video HD) Cat Vibing To Music | Cat Vibing Meme". Archived from the original on 2021-12-14 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "Loituma – Ieva's Polka" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  15. ^ Марина Девятова и Оркестр волынщиков Москвы "Финская полька", archived from the original on 2021-12-14, retrieved 2021-05-25
  16. ^ "TUULETAR - Ievan polkka (Loituma COVER)". Archived from the original on 2021-12-14. Retrieved 2020-12-14 – via YouTube.