The eye-catching name Sakeena debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1957:
1961: 9 baby girls named Sakeena
1957: 8 baby girls named Sakeena [debut]
Where does it come from? I’ve traced it to jazz drummer/bandleader Arthur “Art” Blakey. He and his second wife, Diana, welcomed a baby girl named Sakeena in early 1957. The same year, Art Blakey and his band The Jazz Messengers put out at least two songs with the name Sakeena in the title:
“Sakeena” on the album Cu-Bop (1957), and
“Sweet Sakeena” on the album Hard Drive (1957).
The news of baby Sakeena’s birth didn’t seem to garner any attention, so it was either one or both of these songs that boosted the name Sakeena onto the charts.
It fell back off the charts the next year, but reappeared in 1961, after the release of a third song with Sakeena in the title: “Sakeena’s Vision” on the Art Blakey album The Big Beat (1960). This song was written by saxophonist/composer Wayne Shorter. Here’s what a biography of Shorter said about the genesis of “Sakeena’s Vision”:
Sakeena was an unusual two-year-old who had developed the precocious habit of sizing up visitors like a hanging judge the moment they stepped into the Blakey house. “If they were cool, Sakeena was cool,” Wayne said. “If they weren’t, then she wasn’t either. Art said, ‘Sakeena’s hip to them all,’ and let the child have the run of the house.” The toddler made an impression on Wayne, enough to inspire a composition with a difficult, penetrating melody line.
Do you like the name Sakeena?
P.S. Art had quite a few children in total, but the only other child he had with Diana was a son named Gamal, born in 1959.
Gourse, Leslie. Art Blakey: Jazz Messenger. New York: Schirmer Trade Books, 2002.
Mercer, Michelle. Footprints: The Life and Work of Wayne Shorter. New York: Tarcher/Penguin Books, 2007.
Egyptian politician Gamal Abdel Nasser became one of the primary leaders of Egypt following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.* He was elected president of the country on June 23, 1956.
A little more than a month after the election, on July 26, Nasser nationalized the 120-mile Suez Canal. Up to that point, the canal had been controlled jointly by Britain and France. Nasser did this in response to the U.S. and Britain withdrawing their offers to help finance the construction of the Aswan Dam, which was part of Nasser’s plan to improve Egypt’s economy and thereby modernize the country.
In late October and early November, forces from Israel, France, and Great Britain invaded Egypt. But the aggression was opposed by much of the rest of the world, including both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and the three invading countries were pressured to withdraw from Egypt over the following weeks and months.
So, Gamal Nasser emerged victorious from the Suez Crisis. (It was now “clear that the old colonial powers, Great Britain and France, had been supplanted as the world’s preeminent geopolitical forces by the United States and Soviet Union.”) And in 1957, both Gamal and Nasser saw enough usage as baby names to appear for the first time in the U.S. baby name data:
Boys named Gamal
Boys named Nasser
Many of these early Gamals and Nassers were born in New York and Illinois — likely New York City and Chicago specifically — and could therefore be babies born into Egyptian-American families.
The male names below appeared in the Open Domesday database just once, except where noted. (For the record, I overlooked entries in which one person’s name was used to refer to another person, e.g., “Aelfric’s uncle.”)
The most-mentioned name within each letter group is in bold.
If you make it all the way to the bottom, your reward is a top ten list. :)
Which male were mentioned most often in the Domesday book? The #1 name was William, followed by Robert and Ralph:
1. William (166) 2. Robert (127) 3. Ralph (124) 4. Aelfric (88) 5. Alwin (76) 5. Hugh (76) 7. Roger (73) 8. Godwin (72) 9. Walter (64) 10. Godric (59)
Though the names in the book aren’t necessarily representative of name usage in England overall, it does make sense than William took the top spot. The Domesday Book was created a couple of decades after the Norman Invasion, at a time when the name William was very fashionable, thanks to William the Conqueror.