L. Shankar

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L. Shankar
Shankar in 1978
Shankar in 1978
Background information
Birth nameLakshminarayana Shankar
Born (1950-04-26) 26 April 1950 (age 70)
Madras, Madras State, India
  • Pop
  • rock
  • indian classical
  • world music
  • soundtrack
  • Musician
  • composer
  • producer
  • Violin
  • keyboards
Years active1972–present
Associated acts

Lakshminarayana Shankar (born 26 April 1950), known as L. Shankar, Shankar and Shenkar, is an Indian violinist, vocalist, composer and record producer.


Shankar formed the band Shakti with British guitarist John Mclaughlin, alongside Zakir Hussain and Vikku Vinayakram, and toured the world. He extensively performed his Indian classical tours with Hussain and Vinayakram.

Shankar recorded eight world music albums for the German label ECM and toured extensively, featuring sax player Jan Garbarek, Kenny Wheeler, Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Trilok Gurtu in Jazz and world music festivals, organized by his label ECM, featuring other ECM artists such as Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette etc.

Shankar's pop DVD One in a Million became the number one DVD in the US, spending four weeks on top of the US Soundscan/Billboard charts. Shankar has also collaborated with Frank Zappa (who produced Shankar's solo record for Zappa Records), Talking Heads, Pete Townsend, Lou Reed, Marianne Faithful, Sting, Jeff Beck, U2, The Pretenders, Echo & the Bunnymen, John Lydon, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Dave Stewart, Pete Townsend (The Who), Peter Gabriel, Jonathan Davis (Korn), Robert Trujillo (Metallica) and Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction), among others.

Shankar has worked on numerous soundtracks, including the Grammy award winning and controversial The Last Temptation of Christ, by film maker Martin Scorsese. He co-wrote tracks with Peter Gabriel, and his vocals are featured in the movie. In 2004, Shankar composed and performed vocals on Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

Additional special projects have included The Prince's Trust rock concerts with Princess Diana in England, the United Nations Peace Day festivals, and Nelson Mandela's 80th Birthday celebrations. The Human Rights Now! world tour in 1988 featured Shankar's own group, who were joined in performance by Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel, in addition to several other musicians.

Shankar collaborated with the music duo Wendy & Lisa (Prince) on their original score for the NBC TV series Heroes. Shankar is the featured lead vocalist on the theme and all episodes of the series. He can also be heard in the Heroes Reborn TV series, as well as in Fear the Walking Dead.

Shankar moved to India in January 2016, following the invitation from Sri Thirumeni Guruji at Chepleeri Siva Temple in Kattukulam, Punchapadam, 30 km (19 mi) from Pallakad. Sri Thirumeni Guruji and Shankar started Shiva Conservatory 3 1/2 years ago, headquartered at Chepleeri Shiva Temple and other branches, including at Palakkad Public Library in Palakkad headed by T.R.Ajayan, Chennai, Hosur, Los Angeles. There, several prominent musicians take master classes under Shankar and many other students from different genres of music. Since then he has been living there and touring extensively in India and abroad. He has been conducting Master Classes jointly presented by Swaralaya & Shiva Conservatory at the Palakkad Public Library organized by Sri T.R.Ajayan.

During his stay in Kerala he has completed his album Chepleeri Dream, which features Sri Thirumeni Guruji's vedic chants among others. Through this album, Shankar wanted to put Kerala on the horizon for musical fans all over the world, from different genres of music. The album features artists such as Jonathan Davis (Korn), Scott Page (Pink Floyd), Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction), Norwood Fisher (Fishbone), Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel), Chester Thompson (Phil Collins, Genesis), Josh Lopez (will.i.am, Black Eyed Peas), Dileep Palakkad, Zack Baird (Korn, Beyonce, Jay-Z), and Neel Agrawal.


  • Shakti, with Shakti (1975)
  • A Handful of Beauty, with Shakti (1976)
  • Natural Elements, with Shakti (1977)
  • Touch Me There (1979)
  • Who's to Know (1980)
  • Vision (1983)
  • Song for Everyone (1985)
  • The Epidemics (1986)
  • Evening Concert (1986)
  • Do What You Do (1986)
  • Eye Catcher (1987)
  • Two Musical Traditions of India (1987)
  • Pancha Nadai Pallavi (1989)
  • M.R.C.S (1989)
  • Nobody Told Me (1990)
  • Songs of Devotion (1990)
  • Soul Searcher (1990)
  • Raga Aberi (1995)
  • Enlightenment (1999)
  • Live in London, Vol. 1 (2000)
  • Eternal Light (2000)
  • One in a Million, with Gingger Shankar (2001)
  • Celestial Body (2004)[1]
  • Open the Door (2007)
  • In a Box (2012)
  • The Revelation (2013)
  • Champion (2014)
  • Transcend (2015)
  • Face to Face (2019)
  • Chepleeri Dream (2020)


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