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Shining a spotlight on names in the news

Viola

Lukas Forchhammer is the frontman for Danish pop band Lukas Graham. Last September he and girlfriend MarieLouise “Rillo” Schwartz welcomed their first child. While they announced the birth via Rillo’s Instagram, they didn’t immediately share the name.

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During the 59th Grammy Awards, we learned that their new daughter’s name is Viola.

Viola sounds appropriately musical for a singer’s daughter, but it’s actually the Latin word for violet. It’s also a serious Shakespearean name, thanks to the heroine of The Twelfth Night.

Fun fact: the instrument takes its name from the Medieval Latin word vitula – stringed instrument. In turn, Vitula appears to have been the name of a minor Roman goddess of joy and exaltation.

Viola was even a favorite from the late nineteenth century into the 1920s in the US, making the name a vintage revival candidate. But it remains rare today, while Violet reigns as the undisputed Top 100 favorite.

But Viola has increased in use in recent years. It’s still outside of the US Top 1000, but 188 girls were given the name in 2015. Actors Megan Hilty and Brian Gallagher welcomed daughter Viola Philomena in 2014. Emmy-winning actress Viola Davis helps keep the name in the spotlight, too.

If you’re looking for a name that’s on-trend and unexpected at the same time, Viola is one to consider.