L. Shankar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

L. Shankar
Shankar in 1978
Shankar in 1978
Background information
Birth nameLakshminarayana Shankar
Born (1950-04-26) 26 April 1950 (age 72)
Madras, India
OriginCeylon (current-day Sri Lanka)
  • Musician
  • composer
  • producer
  • Violin
  • keyboards
  • vocals
Years active1972–present

Lakshminarayana Shankar (born 26 April 1950),[1] better known as L. Shankar, Shankar and Shenkar, is an Indian violinist, singer and composer.

Early life, family and education[edit]

Shankar was born in Madras, India,[1] and raised in Ceylon (current-day Sri Lanka), where his father V. Lakshminarayana, a violinist and singer, worked as a teacher at the Jaffna College of Music.[2] He learned to play the violin and first performed in public in a Ceylonese temple at the age of seven.[2]

In 1969, he went to the United States, where he studied ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University.[1]


After performing with various Indian singers for several years, Shankar founded a trio with his brothers, L. Vaidyanathan and L. Subramaniam, that performed throughout India.

While attending college at Wesleyan University, he met jazz musicians like Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Garrison, and John McLaughlin.[1] With McLaughlin, Shankar founded the group Shakti in 1975, one of the early groups in which Eastern and Western musical traditions met.[1] They released three albums: Shakti (1975), A Handful of Beauty (1976), and Natural Elements (1977).

After the band dissolved, Shankar was a violinist with Frank Zappa for a short time, and then founded the group The Epidemics and released a number of albums as a band leader.[1] With Peter Gabriel, he wrote the soundtrack for the film The Last Temptation of Christ (1989),[1] for which he received a Grammy Award. In the following years, Shankar worked on several of Gabriel's albums. Since 1996, he has been working with the violinist Gingger Shankar (she is his brother's daughter) as the duo Shankar & Gingger.

Shankar has also performed with Elton John, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Yoko Ono, Stewart Copeland, John Waite, Charly García, Steve Vai, Ginger Baker, Nils Lofgren, Jonathan Davis and The SFA and Sting.



  • Bombay Jazz (1992, documentary)[4][5]
  • Secret World Live (1994) (violin, backing vocals)
  • Queen of the damned (film) (2002) (Violin)
  • Heroes (2006–2009, TV series) (vocals)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 356. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  2. ^ a b "L. Shankar - Singer, Violinist, Composer, and Producer". lshankar.com. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  3. ^ "Celestial Body - Lakshminarayana Shankar | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  4. ^ "BBC World Service - The Documentary, Bombay Jazz". BBC. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  5. ^ "Bombay and Jazz – A documentary 1992". Bluerhythm.wordpress.com. 12 June 2011.

External links[edit]