L. Shankar

L. Shankar

Infobox musical artist

Name = L. Shankar
Birth_name = Lakshminarayanan Shankar
Alias = Shenkar Shankar L. Shankar
| Img_capt =
Background = solo_singer
Born = birth date|1950|4|26 Madras
Died =
Instrument = Violin, double violin, viola, electric violin, percussion, synthesizers, vocals
Genre = Carnatic, classical, electronica, progressive rock, soft rock, folk, fusion, jazz, occidental, pop, hard rock
Occupation = Violinist, composer, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, arranger, record producer, engineer, pedagogue
Years_active = 1972 – present
Notable_instruments = Violin Double violin Viola Vocals

Lakshminarayanan Shankar (born April 26 1950), also known as L. Shankar, Shankar or Shenkar, is a Tamil Indian violinist, vocalist and composer.


Early life

L. Shankar was born in Madras, Tamil Nadu. Growing up in Jaffna, Ceylon, where his father V. Lakshminarayan was a professor at the Jaffna College of Music, Shankar was exposed to Carnatic music from an early age. His father was an esteemed violinist, his mother L. Seethalakshmi played the veena and all his five older siblings were also proficient in music. The most well known of his brothers is another acclaimed and renowned violinist - L. Subramaniam, who has recorded a number of records himself.

Shankar began singing at the age of two, playing violin at the age of five, and learning to play drums at seven. cite web | title= Shankar Biography | work= AllMusicGuide | url= http://wm10.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:3xfpxql5ldae~T1| accessmonthday=10 December | accessyear=2007] At the age of seven L. Shankar gave his first public concert, at the Nallur Kandaswamy temple. He gained considerable reputation in his early youth as an accompanist to some of the most eminent names in Carnatic music such as Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Chembai Vaithyanatha Baghavatar, Palghat Mani Iyer and Alathur Srinivasa lyer. Following the ethnic riots of 1953 his family moved back to India.

ummary of career

After obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Physics in India, Shankar moved to America in 1969 and earned a doctorate in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. Here he met jazz musicians Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Garrison, and John McLaughlin while working as a teaching assistant and concert master of the University Chamber Orchestra. In 1975 Shankar and McLaughlin founded Shakti, a pioneering, groundbreaking and highly influential east-meets-west collaborative, fluid sound that managed to successfully combine seemingly incompatible traditions. His first solo album, "Touch Me There", was produced by Frank Zappa in 1979.cite web | title= L. Shankar: Short Biography | work= World Music Central | url= http://www.worldmusiccentral.org/artists/artist_page.php?id=513 | accessmonthday=25 February | accessyear=2007] Shankar founded his own band - The Epidemics, in 1982, with the composer Caroline. He released three albums with the band.

During the 1980s, Shankar recorded periodically as a leader, doing both jazz-based material and Indian classical music. His 1980 release of the album "Who's To Know" on ECM introduced the unique sound of his own invention, the ten-string, stereophonic double violin. This instrument, designed by Shankar and built by noted guitar maker Ken Parker, covers the entire orchestral range, including double bass, cello, viola and violin. He has recently developed a newer version of his instrument which is much lighter than the original.

1990 saw Shankar co-producing a one hour film directed by H. O. Nazareth, which went on to be nominated for Best Documentary film at the Cannes film festival. Shankar worked on the score of the film "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988), with his music ending up on both albums of the score - "" and "Passion - Sources." He won a Grammy for his work on the latter in 1994. Shankar has performed on several of Peter Gabriel's records such as "So" and "Us". Since 1996, Shankar has toured internationally with fellow-violinist (and his niececite web | title= I had to impress my dad | work= Times of India | url= http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Kolkata/I_had_to_impress_my_dad_/articleshow/2104394.cms | accessmonthday=29 January | accessyear=2008] ) Gingger as "Shankar & Gingger", garnering critical acclaim and popularity. The two performed at events including the Concert for Global Harmony and Nelson Mandela's 80th birthday celebrations. Shankar & Gingger released their first DVD "One in a Million" in 2001. After a critically successful tour of North America, the DVD went to number 1 on the Neilsen Soundscan DVD charts and stayed there for four weeks. In 2004, Shankar composed additional music (for composer "John Debney") and performed on the score for the film "The Passion of the Christ" (2004).

Shankar has played with some of the greatest musical contemporaries of his time, including Lou Reed, Echo and the Bunnymen, Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Jonathan Davis, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Stewart Copeland, Yoko Ono, A. R. Rahman, John Waite, Steve Vai, Ginger Baker, Toto, Nils Lofgren, Mark O'Connor, and Sting. Shankar has been praised for his ability to mix Eastern and Western influences, assimilating Carnatic music with pop, rock, jazz and contemporary world music. He admits "Ultimately, I would like to bring the East and West together. That, I think, is my role," he says.

More recently, Shankar has used a new stage name – Shenkar - and has created recordings under this name. In 2006 - 2007, Shenkar provided the vocals for the opening credit music and other themes for the all episodes of the hit TV series "Heroes". He has been lately working in Jonathan Davis' and Ana Maria Lombo's next records.

Discography (partial)

L. Shankar has served as an instrumentalist, composer, record producer, arranger and programmer on several recordings. He has released a number of his own recordings, in addition to appearing on other artists' albums. All credits are for violin, except where noted. This is not an exhaustive list of Shankar's works, but a select few titles.

olo albums

* "Touch Me There" (1979 · Zappa Records)
* "Who's to Know" (ECM, 1980)
* "Vision" (1983 · ECM)
* "Song for Everyone" (1984 · ECM)
* "Nobody Told Me" (1989 · ECM)
* "Pancha Nadai Pallavi" (1989 · ECM)
* "M.R.C.S." (1989 · ECM)
* "Soul Searcher" (1990 · Axiom / Island Records)
* "Raga Aberi" (1995 · Music of the World)
* "Enlightenment" (Ganesh music)
* "Eternal Light" (2000 · Moment! Records)
* "Open the Door" (2007 - Big Deal Records / RYKO/WEA)


* Shankar & Gingger's "One In A Million" (2001 · Silverline)

with Shakti

* "Shakti" (1975 · Columbia)
* "A Handful of Beauty" (1976)
* "Natural Elements" (1977)

with The Epidemics

*"The Epidemics" (1986)
*"Do What You Do"
*"Eye Catcher"

as Shankar and Ginnger

* "Shankar & Ginnger" (2001)
* "Celestial Body" (2004 · Mondo Melodia)

Guest albums

Compilations / Box set appearances

*"Best of Music & Rhythm" (1983) – Violin, composer, vocals, producer
*"ECM Spectrum, Vol. 1" (1987) – Violin, performer
* "CMPler" (1990) – Violin
*Peter Gabriel's "Shaking the Tree" (1990) – Double violin
*"Pioneers of the New Age" (1991) – Violin
*"Illuminations: An Axiom Compilation" (1991) – Arranger, vocals, kanjira, producer, double violin
*Yoko Ono's "Onobox" (1992) – Violin
*Lou Reed's "" (1992) – Electric violin
*"Plus from Us" (1993) – Arranger, vocals, kanjira, producer, double violin
*"Manifestation Axiom Collection 2" (1993) – Arranger
*"The Best of Shakti" (1994)
*Narada Michael Walden's "Ecstasy's Dance: The Best of Narada" (1996) – Violin
*John McLaughlin's "This is Jazz Vol. 17" (1996) – Violin
*Phil Collin's "Hits" (1998) – Violin
*"Jewels of the Subcontinent" (2000) – Performer, double violin
*"Asian Travels, Vol. 1: A Six Degrees Collection" (2000) – Performer
*Echo & the Bunnymen's "" (2001) – Strings
*"Bombay Jazz Palace" (2001) – Violin
*"Meta Collection" (2002) – Violin
*"Asana: Soul Practice" (2002) – Violin, arranger
*"Classical Indian Collection" (2003) – Violin
*"Bhakti Music: Medicine Buddha" (2003) – Photography
*Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime" (2003) – Violin
*"Left of the Dial: Dispatches of the '80s Underground" (2004) – Strings
*Phil Collins' "The Platinum Collection" (2004) – Violin, tamboura
*"Triloka Gurtu Collection" (2005) – Violin
*"Monterey Pop Festival" (2007) – Arranger
*John McLaughlin's "Eseential John McLaughlin" (2007) – Violin


Music department

*"The Last Temptation of Christ " (1988) – Double violin, violin, vocals, composer, record producer
*"Jacob's Ladder" (1990) – Violin, vocals, performer, double violin
*"White Sands" (1992) – Percussion, violin, vocals
*"Rabbit-Proof Fence" (2002) – Double violin
*"The Passion of the Christ" (2004) – Composer, vocals, double violin
*"Hidalgo" (2004) – Double violin
*"Heroes" (2006 - present) (TV series) – Vocals

Additional soundtracks

*"Ali" (2001) – Writer, performer on Track: "Dreams"
*"Queen of the Damned" (2002) – Vocals, double violin on Tracks: "Forsaken," "Redeemer," "System," "Slept So Long," "Not Meant for Me," "On the beach"
*"Born into Brothels" (2004) – Performer on Track: "Sankarabaranam Pancha Nadai Pallavi"


External links

* [http://www.shenkarworld.com/ Official Website]
* [http://www.cs.cf.ac.uk/Dave/mclaughlin/art/shankar.html L. Shankar: The "Downbeat" profile (1978)]
* [http://imdb.com/name/nm0788150/ L. Shankar's IMDB profile]

NAME= Shankar, Lakshminarayanan
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Shenkar; Shankar; Shankar, L.
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Violinist, composer, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, arranger, record producer, engineer, pedagogue
DATE OF BIRTH= 26 April 1950
PLACE OF BIRTH= Madras, India

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