Born: December 15, 1975
Rayna Gellert plays her great-grandfather’s fiddle—the same one he was playing in 1917 when, as a Hungarian orchestral musician aboard an ocean liner, he wowed the U.S. Ambassador with a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and earned an invitation to America.
Rayna’s father played that fiddle too. The honest inheritor of his family’s musical legacy, Dan Gellert took a job as a meter reader, immersed himself in the old, weird music of America, and became the greatest fiddler you’ve never heard of.
Then it was Rayna’s turn. She picked up the instrument when she was 10, recorded her first album of fiddle tunes at 24, joined the celebrated string band Uncle Earl, and played her great-grandfather’s fiddle on recordings she made with John Paul Jones, Robyn Hitchcock, and Loudon Wainwright III....