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.
Background information
Also known as Gingger Shankar
Origin Los Angeles, United States
Genres Pop, Rock, Electronica, World, Carnatic
Occupation(s) Singer-Songwriter, Violinist, Composer
Instruments Vocals, double violin, violin, viola
Associated acts The Smashing Pumpkins, Katy Perry, Rabbit in the Moon

Gingger Shankar is an Indian American singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist. She has scored several award-winning films, including 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 just like her grandmother Lakshmi Shankar, 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, cello and piano. She is the only female in the world to play the double violin.[1] This ten-string, stereophonic instrument covers the entire orchestral range, including double bass, cello, viola and violin.[2]


Motion pictures[edit]

In 2004, she collaborated with 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]

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

In 2012, she debuted her multi-media project Himalaya Song at the Sundance Film Festival. It was a project about climate change in the Himalayas with live film, narration and music created by Gingger, Mridu Chandra and Dave Liang of the Shanghai Restoration Project. It was chosen as one of the 10 Best Music Films at Sundance by Rolling Stone Magazine.[7]

In May 2013, Monsoon Shootout, a thriller she scored for director Amit Kumar premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.[8]

In 2014, she scored Water & Power, a thriller directed by Richard Montoya of Culture Clash (performance troupe). It stars Enrique Murciano, Emilio Rivera, Clancy Brown and is executive produced by Edward James Olmos. The score features music from Chicano Batman, Las Cafeteras, One Day as a Lion and others.

In 2014, Brahmin Bulls, a film she scored for director Mahesh Pailoor opened in the US. Starring Sendhil Ramamurthy, Roshan Seth and Mary Steenburgen, it won film festival awards.[9]

In 2015, she composed the music for the virtual reality 'Project Syria' created by Nonny De La Peña which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.[10]

In 2016, she scored the film The Salton Sea for writer-director Veena Sud.


Shankar has performed in numerous festivals and venues alongside acts such as Smashing Pumpkins, Tony Levin, Steve Vai, Steve Lukather, Sussan Deyhim,[11]

She performs on a track in the 2007 Saul Williams album Niggy Tardust, produced by Trent Reznor.[12]

In July 2008, Shankar appeared in two Sgt. Pepper's 40th-anniversary concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.[13]

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.[14]

In 2014, she guested on Katy Perry's album, Prism. Her double violin can be heard on Legendary Lovers produced by Dr. Luke.

In 2014, she performed at the George Fest in Los Angeles with the Flaming Lips honoring George Harrison. Other artists included Weird Al Yankovic, Brandon Flowers, Norah Jones, Dhani Harrison, Brian Wilson and more.[15]

In 2014 she released music video cover of U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday directed by Nicholas Bruckman through Paste Magazine.[16]

Shankar is working on her upcoming album. She has been collaborating with Linda Perry, Sarah DeAun, Holmes Music, Devin Parker, Daniel Crean and others.[citation needed]


Film scores[edit]

Music albums[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Gingger Shankar: Bio". Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Gingger Shankar: I am a Hybrid". Retrieved April 9, 2011. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Six musicians selected for the 2007 Sundance Institute Composers Lab". 23 July 2007. 
  5. ^ "Charlie Wilson's War". Music from the Movies. Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. 
  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. ^ Hyman, Dan (2012-01-17). "Rolling Stone: 10 Best Music Films". Rolling Stone. 
  8. ^ Lee, Maggie (2013-05-20). "Variety: Monsoon Shootout". Variety. 
  9. ^ Donadoni, Serena (2014-11-12). "Village Voice: Brahmin Bulls". Village Voice. 
  10. ^ "Project Syria". Sundance Institute. 
  11. ^ Ehrenreich, Ben (2005-07-28). "Minuteman Divisions". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2013-07-16. [permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Saul Williams– The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of NiggyTardust". Discogs. 
  13. ^ Ginell, Richard S. (13 August 2007). "Variety Review:Sgt. Pepper's at 40: A Beatles Celebration". Variety. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "Cast & Crew". Retrieved 2013-07-16. [permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Fest, Best (28 September 2014). "The Best Fest". Archived from the original on 4 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  16. ^ Dunaway, Michael (14 June 2014). "Catching Up With Gingger Shankar and Nicholas Bruckman". Retrieved June 14, 2014. 

External links[edit]