Kamala Shankar

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Vidushi Dr.Kamala Shankar
Born (1966-12-05) 5 December 1966 (age 50)
Origin Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Genres Indian classical music
Occupation(s) Musician/indian slide guitar player/classical vocal
Instruments Shankar Guitar
Years active 1984–present
Website thekamalashankar.com

Vidushi Kamala Shankar a renowned first lady Indian Classical Slide Guitar musician has enthralled the world through her immaculate and melodious rendition of Hindustani Classical music. Kamala has the credit to invent the Shankar Slide Guitar. She is known for her tremendous control and versatility along with the depth on her instrument. She has an exceptional and natural ability to play the ‘Gayaki Ang’ style.Her music is popularly referred as singing guitar.

Shankar is the first slide guitarist to receive the National Award in Music " Rashtriya Kumar Gandharva Samman" in 2013 by the Government of Madhya Pradesh.

Early years[edit]

Kamala Shankar was born in Tanjore (Tamil Nadu) and brought up in Varanasi. At the age of 4 she was initiated into vocal music by her mother and was put under the able guidance of Guru Pt. Amarnath Mishra of Varanasi and learnt Hindustani classical vocal for 8 years. The most momentous discovery was the Hawaiian slide guitar. Her initial training of Guitar started with Dr. Shivnath Bhattacharya and was given valuable guidance by Guru Padmabhushan Pt. Chhannulal Mishra of Varanasi. She has not only learnt classical but also the Poorab Ang like Thumri, Kajari, Dadra,Chaiti with Rabindra Sangeet and Bhajan. Later on she was under the able guidance of Pt. Bimalendu Mukherjee for few years.Kamala completed her Doctorate on Guitar under Dr. Gopal Shankar Mishra from Banaras Hindu University. She is a Top graded Guitar Artist of A I R and has performed many National Programmes & Radio Sangeet Sammelan of Akashawani & Doordarshan.Besides music she holds a bachelor's degree in Zoology.She got admitted to Master's and selected in Dental science also but could not join because of her passion for music which was her obvious first choice.

Performing career[edit]

She has performed in various prestigious music festivals of India.To name a few is UP Sangeet Natak Academy Lucknow,Sangeet Natak Academy Delhi,Tansen Samaroh,Sawai Gandharva samaroh Pune,Kalidas Samaroh,Taj Mahotsav,Music Academy chennai,Bihar Mahotsav Patna,Ganga Mahotsav,Soorya Festival Keral, Harvallabh Sangeet Samaroh Jalandhar,Sankat Mochan Samaroh Varanasi,ICCR, Shimla Mahotsav,Simhasth KumbhUjjain, Hornbill Festival Kohima Nagaland etc. She has performed in various countries like, U.S.A., London, Switzerland, Gulf of Dubai, Al-Sharjah, Bahrain, Muscat, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, France, Singapore etc. She has been awarded the fellowship in the field of music by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Govt. of India, "Surmani" from Sur Singar Samsad Mumbai, Kalashree Samman by Journalist association, and the most prestigious“Rashtriya Kumar Gandharva Samman” 2013. Dr. Kamala Shankar has been empaneled with ICCR since 1994 and also regularly performing for Spic-Macay all over India since 1998. She is the founder Director of Shankara Arts Foundation based in Varanasi since 2007. Kamala has the credit to innovate the standard Hawaiian guitar to Shankar Guitar.The most unique feature is that it has no sound hole unlike other guitars. It has four main strings and three chikari strings with eleven sympathetic strings.It has made up of a single piece of hollow wood and the wood is Cedar.The name of this instrument is dedicated to the deity of Varanasi Bhagwan Shankar.

Personal life[edit]

She resides in Varanasi with her father Dr.Rangaswamy Shankar, a renowned medical practitioner of Varanasi and mother Smt.Vijaya Shankar.


Kamala Shankar has many students in the country and abroad .To name a few include Dr.Sanjay Verma and Nirmal Saini etc....



  • Music Melody on Guitar By HMV(RPG) Raga Bageshri, Raga Shyam kalyan & Dhun in Mishra Kafi
  • Great Masters by Eli Lily & Company [India] Pvt.Ltd.
  • Tantarang by Mystica Music Raga Jog & Raga Miya Malhar
  • Jhankar Rich Heritage by Legendary Legacy Promotions Pvt.Ltd. Raga Bairagi, Raga Bilaskhani Todi & Mishra Pahadi Dhun

External links[edit]