A Latvian prone to violins

Perhaps you have heard the late Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner,” played on electric guitar. But what about Armands Melnbārdis’ rendition of the American national anthem on electric seven-string violin?

Melnbārdis heads up a Daytona Beach, Fla., ensemble called Vio7. We’re not sure how to categorize the sound, except to say that it’s often loud and includes titles like “Day from Hell” and “Sick Dance.”

Vio7’s Web site includes downloadable MP3s of some of the band’s music, including an English version of the super-sad folk song “Gula meitiņa” (read the lyrics at Dziesmas.lv) that is translated as “Love Forever” and sung by fellow Latvian Dace Kamaly. Also available is a video of Melnbārdis performing “Star Spangled Banner.”

Melnbārdis and Vio7 also can be found on MySpace and draugiem.lv.

Thanks to Jānis Bībelnieks for sending us the link!

Armands Melnbārdis

Armands Melnbārdis and his seven-string electric violin head up the Florida ensemble Vio7.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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