Gingger Shankar

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Gingger Shankar
Gingger Shankar—an Indian woman in a black dress and black boots, with long black hair—plays 10-string violin onstage.
Shankar performing with The Smashing Pumpkins in 2008
Background information
Also known as Gingger Shankar
Origin Los Angeles, United States
Genres World, Pop, Electronica, Carnatic
Occupation(s) Singer-Songwriter, Violinist, Composer
Instruments Vocals, double violin, violin, viola

Gingger Shankar is an Indian American singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist. She has scored several award-winning films, including Passion of the Christ and Circumstance.

Early life[edit]

Shankar was born in Los Angeles, California and raised there and in India. She is the eldest daughter of violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam. Her mother, Viji Subramaniam, was a classical singer and as was her grandmother Lakshmi Shankar (the sister-in-law of noted sitarist Ravi Shankar).[1] As a child, she learned to sing, dance, and play violin and piano and attended the Kalakshetra creative arts school in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Later, she studied opera vocals with professional opera singer Tantoo Cardinal in Sherman Oaks, California. She also modeled and acted in stage productions. She began performing professionally at age 14.


Shankar plays the violin and piano. She is the only female in the world to play the double violin.[1] This ten-string, stereophonic instrument was designed by her uncle L. Shankar and built by guitar maker Ken Parker. The instrument covers the entire orchestral range, including double bass, cello, viola and violin.[2]


Motion pictures[edit]

In 2004, she collaborated with L. Shankar and composer John Debney on the Oscar-nominated score for the movie The Passion of the Christ. Her voice and double violin can be heard throughout the movie, and she is also credited with co-composing several musical cues.[citation needed]

Shankar has been associated with the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.[3] She has performed for them several times, as well as receiving their scoring achievement award for her contribution to The Passion of the Christ.[citation needed]

She composed music for Al Massad's Sundance award-winning documentary Recycle as well as his documentary This is My Picture When I Was Dead, which won first prize for best documentary at the Dubai International Film Festival.[citation needed]

In 2007, Shankar was chosen as one of six film composers chosen to attend the Sundance Institute Composer's Lab.[4]

She is also credited with co-writing and performing for the 2007 film Charlie Wilson's War, alongside composer James Newton Howard.[5]

Shankar contributed to the 2008 film The Forbidden Kingdom.[1]

Shankar was one of five composer/musicians to perform at the Sundance Film Festival's Artist at the Table on opening night in 2010.[citation needed]

She composed music for the 2011 film, Circumstance, which won the Sundance Audience Choice Award.[6]


Shankar has toured with L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, and Vikku Vinayakram.[citation needed] and has performed in numerous festivals and venues alongside acts such as Smashing Pumpkins, Tony Levin, Steve Vai, Steve Lukather, Sussan Deyhim,[7] James Newton Howard, Talvin Singh, and Rabbit in the Moon.[citation needed]

She performs on a track in the 2007 Saul Williams album Niggy Tardust, produced by Trent Reznor.[8]

In March 2007, she was one of the headliners of San Diego Indie Music Festival.[9]

In July 2007, Shankar appeared in two Sgt. Pepper's 40th Year Anniversary Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.[10]

In 2008, she made her debut as a soprano with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Osvaldo Golijov's opera Ainadamar, and later performed the role at Carnegie Hall.[citation needed]

She performed with former Dirty Vegas frontman Steve Smith at the Sundance Film Festival.[citation needed]

In 2008-09, she joined the Smashing Pumpkins for their 20th anniversary tour, singing and playing the double violin. She can also be seen in their music video for the song "G.L.O.W.".[citation needed]

Shankar is working on her upcoming album with Adam Aaronson (formerly of High Speed Scene), Chris Haynes, Scott Seiver, and others. She has previously worked with Rabbit in the Moon, collaborating with them for the Ultra Music Festival in 2007. On July 16, 2012 she appeared in the music video "Love All Humans" alongside guitarist Anthony Gallo, actress Kate Kelton, model Tara Bre and others.[11]


Film scores[edit]

Music albums[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Gingger Shankar: Bio". Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ "L. Shankar: Short Biography". World Music Central. Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Six musicians selected for the 2007 Sundance Institute Composers Lab". 23 July 2007. 
  5. ^ "Charlie Wilson's War". Music from the Movies. [dead link]
  6. ^ Fleming, Mike (2011-01-29). "Sundance: 2011 Winners: ‘Like Crazy’ Wins Grand Jury Dramatic Prize, ‘How To Die In Oregon’ Wins Documentary". Deadline New York. 
  7. ^ Ehrenreich, Ben (2005-07-28). "Minuteman Divisions". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  8. ^ "Saul Williams– The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of NiggyTardust". Discogs. 
  9. ^ Varga, George (1 March 2007). "Who made you God?". San Diego Tribune. 
  10. ^ Ginell, Richard S. (13 August 2007). "Variety Review:Sgt. Pepper's at 40: A Beatles Celebration". Variety. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "Cast & Crew". Retrieved 2013-07-16. 

External links[edit]