How popular is the baby name Karlo in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Karlo.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Karlo


Posts that Mention the Name Karlo

Popular Baby Names in Croatia, 2019

According to Croatia’s Ministry of Public Administration, the most popular baby names in the country in 2019 were Mia and Luka.

Here are Croatia’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2019:

Girl Names

  1. Mia, 563 baby girls
  2. Ema, 409
  3. Lucija, 375
  4. Sara, 374
  5. Nika, 344
  6. Marta, 337
  7. Petra, 322
  8. Ana, 321
  9. Rita, 318
  10. Iva, 292

Boy Names

  1. Luka, 894 baby boys
  2. David, 568
  3. Jakov, 500
  4. Ivan, 482
  5. Petar, 431
  6. Matej, 360
  7. Karlo, 359
  8. Mateo, 355
  9. Roko (the Croatian form of Rocco), 352
  10. Borna (derived from a Slavic element meaning “fight, battle”), 347

I’ve never posted the Croatian rankings before, but one of my sources mentioned that the top two names (Mia and Luka) were the same in 2018.

Sources: The most popular baby names in Croatia in 2019, Most popular baby names in Croatia in 2019 revealed, Borna – Behind the Name

Korla, the “Godfather of Exotica” Baby Name

television, music, history, 1950s, korla pandit,
Korla Pandit, early 1950s

Behind today’s name is a fascinating story involving early television, exotic music, racial identity, and clever deception.

The name is Korla, which, along with variant Corla, first appeared in the SSA’s baby name data in 1951:

Year Korla usage Corla usage
1953 . .
1952 6 baby girls (5 in Calif.) .
1951 6 baby girls [debut] 8 baby girls [debut]
1950 . .

A bit of research reveals that most of these early ’50s Korlas and Corlas — mainly females, but also a few males — were born in California specifically. This location is already pretty telling, but the smoking gun is this middle name:

  • Karlo Pandit Lindsay, male, born in November, 1950, in Los Angeles
  • Korla Ponda Williams, female, born in March, 1951, in Los Angeles
  • Korla Pandit Lord, male, born in September, 1953, in San Francisco

So what’s the influence here?

Korla Pandit, the mystical musician whose Los Angeles-based TV show Adventures in Music made him famous, particularly on the West Coast, in the early ’50s.

Pandit first appeared on TV in the spring of 1949. In each episode of Adventures in Music, Pandit wore a jeweled turban and gazed hypnotically at the camera, never speaking — just playing otherworldly music on a Hammond organ. His show, which aired on KTLA, was soon picked up by other California stations.

Some early recordings of Korla prominently feature his name, but I’m not sure if the live show Adventures in Music did. (If not, this could account for why “Corla” debuted higher than “Korla” in the data.)

korla pandit, organ, 1950s, television, name

Korla Pandit was an immediate hit, particularly among suburban housewives. He received an impressive amount of fan mail.

He also started putting out albums, eventually releasing well over a dozen on various labels.

In 1951, after shooting hundreds of shows for KTLA, he left to film a series of short musical performances for Snader Telescriptions. These Snader clips introduced Pandit to a national audience.

But Pandit didn’t stay with Snader long, instead leaving to do other things (including start a new live TV show).

According to the 1952 ad below, his songs were “bringing dollars to the cash register and wild acclaim from feminine hearts.”

music, 1950s, korla pandit, advertisement
Korla Pandit ad in Billboard magazine, 1952

His music helped set the stage for the late ’50s Exotica craze. In fact, some people have since dubbed Korla the “Godfather of Exotica,” though the title has also been given to other musicians (including Les Baxter).

As the decade wore on, Pandit’s fame began to wane. But he did spend the rest of his life recording and performing — and always wearing that bejeweled turban.

He passed away in 1998, leaving behind his American wife Beryl and their two sons, Shari and Koram.

…But the story doesn’t end there.

Because, a few years after that, a Los Angeles journalist discovered that Korla Pandit was not the half-Indian, half-French man from New Delhi he had claimed to be. Instead, he was an African-American man named John Roland Redd from Columbia, Missouri.

Adopting a non-black identity had allowed Redd to have advantages that he couldn’t have had otherwise in 1950s America. He was one of the first African-Americans with a television show, but, ironically, if the public had known he was black, it’s highly unlikely that audiences (especially those entranced housewives) would have responded as enthusiastically as they did.

Redd took his adopted identity to the grave. Not even his sons were aware of their father’s true origin. (His wife must have known the secret, but she never openly admitted it.)

Notably, “Korla Pandit” was Redd’s second adopted persona. In the ’40s he had assumed the name “Juan Rolando,” which helped him get gigs during the Latin music craze of the time and, more importantly, allowed him to join the white L.A. musicians union as opposed to the black one, which afforded him more career opportunities.

It’s not hard to see how he got Juan from John, but I do wonder how he came up with Korla.

What are your thoughts on the name Korla? And on the story of Korla Pandit?

Sources:

P.S. After Pandit left Snader Telescriptions, the company found a replacement: a young Las Vegas pianist, originally from Wisconsin, by the name of Władziu Valentino Liberace