Ananda Shankar

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Not to be confused with Anand Shankar.
Ananda Shankar
Birth name Ananda Shankar Roy
Born December 11, 1942
Almora, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died March 26, 1999(1999-03-26) (aged 56)
Genres World music
Occupation(s) Musician, singer

Ananda Shankar (11 December 1942 – 26 March 1999) was a Bengali musician best known for fusing Western and Eastern musical styles.[1] He was married to Tanusree Shankar.

Early life[edit]

Born in Almora in Uttar Pradesh, India, Shankar was the son of Amala and Uday Shankar, popular dancers, and also the nephew of the renowned sitar player Ravi Shankar. He studied in The Scindia School, Gwalior.[2] Ananda did not learn sitar from his uncle but studied instead with Lalmani Misra at Banaras Hindu University.[2]

Professional career[edit]

In the late 1960s, Shankar travelled to Los Angeles, where he played with many contemporary musicians including Jimi Hendrix. There he was signed to Reprise Records and released his first album, the self-titled Ananda Shankar, in 1970, with original Indian classical material alongside sitar-based cover versions of popular hits, The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and The Doors' "Light My Fire". The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[3]

Returning to India in the early 1970s, Shankar continued to experiment musically and in 1975 released his most critically acclaimed album, Ananda Shankar and His Music, a jazz-funk mix of Eastern sitar, Western rock guitar, tabla and mridangam, drums and Moog synthesizers. Out of print for many years, the album was re-released on CD in 2005.

After working in India during the late 1970s and 1980s, Shankar's profile in the West began to rise again in the mid-1990s as his music found its way into club DJ sets, particularly in London. His music was brought to a wider audience with the release of Blue Note Records' popular 1996 rare groove compilation album, Blue Juice Vol. 1., including two tracks from Ananda Shankar And His Music, "Dancing Drums" and "Streets of Calcutta".

In the late 1990s, Shankar worked and toured in the United Kingdom with the London DJ State of Bengal and others, a collaboration that resulted in the Walking On album, featuring Shankar's trademark sitar soundscapes mixed with breakbeat and hip hop. Walking On was released in 2000 after Shankar's sudden death from heart failure the year before.

In 2005, his song "Raghupati" was used on the Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories soundtrack, and in 2008 his song "Dancing Drums" was used on the LittleBigPlanet soundtrack.

His music was also used on the television show Byomkesh Bakshi, broadcast on Doordarshan, India's free-to-air public broadcast channel.

In 2010 and 2011, his music appeared in the following episodes of the popular NBC comedy show Outsourced:

Episode Name of episode Date originally aired Music
103 Party of Five 7 October 2010 "Night in the Forest"
105 Touched by an Anglo 21 October 2010 "Dancing Drums"
106 Bolloween 28 October 2010 "Radha"—inst.
107 Truly, Madly, Pradeeply 4 November 2010 "Dancing Drums"
109 Temporary Monsanity 18 November 2010 "Dancing Drums"
110 Homesick to my Stomach 2 December 2010 "Renunciation"
112 Sari Charlie 27 January 2011 "Exploration"
114 The Todd Couple 20 February 2011 "Cyrus"


  • Ananda Shankar, 1970 (LP, Reprise 6398/CD, Collectors' Choice CCM-545)
  • Ananda Shankar And His Music, 1975 (EMI India)
  • India Remembers Elvis, 1977 (EP EMI India S/7EPE. 3201)
  • Missing You, 1977 (EMI India)
  • A Musical Discovery of India, 1978 (EMI India)
  • Sa-Re-Ga Machan, 1981 (EMI India)
  • 2001, 1984 (EMI India)
  • Temptations, 1992 (Gramaphone Company of India)
  • Ananda Shankar: Shubh- The Auspicious, 1995
  • Ananda, 1999 (EMI India)
  • Arpan, 2000 (EMI India)
  • Walking On, 2000 (Real World 48118-2, with State of Bengal)
  • Ananda Shankar: A Life in Music - The Best of the EMI Years, 2005 (Times Square TSQ-CD-9052)


  1. ^ Ananda Shankar Foundation Biography Page
    - Rolling Stone Discography
  2. ^ a b Students' Britannica India, Volumes 1-5. Popular Prakashan. 2000. p. 377. ISBN 978-0-85229-760-5. 
  3. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5. 

External links[edit]