Shenkar (aka L.Shankar, Shankar) is widely considered a living legend, a pioneer and a musical genius by his peers who hold him in the highest esteem. Shenkar has enthralled audiences and critics alike all over the world. A child prodigy who is a virtuoso vocalist, violinist, composer and record producer who has sold over 100 million albums through his solo projects and collaborations with other superstar musicians throughout the world. Shankar was born in Madras, his parents from Kerala, he grew up in Jaffna, Sri Lanka where his father V. Lakshminarayana was a professor at the Jaffna College of Music. Shankar was exposed to Carnatic music and other styles from an early age. He started studying the vocals at the age of two then violin at five then mridangam at seven. His father was an esteemed violinist, vocalist, his mother L. Seethalakshmi played the veena and sang; all his five older siblings were also proficient in music. At the age of seven, Shankar gave his first public concert, at a Ceylonese temple, Nallur Kandaswarmy. He gained a large following performing with some of the most eminent names in Carnatic music, playing all through India, such as Chembai Vaithyanatha Baghavatar, Palghat Mani Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Alathur Srinivasa Iyer and many other leading musicians. Following the ethnic riots in Sri Lanka, his family escaped to India.
Shenkar created and designed his own invention, first of it's kind the 10 string stereophonic Double Violin, built by Ken Parker. The Double Violin covers the entire range of the orchestra. He formed the groundbreaking band Shakti with the British guitarist John Mclaughlin, Zakir Hussain and Vikku Vinayakram and toured the world. He also performed extensively his Indian classical tours with Zakir Hussain and Vinayakram. He recorded 8 world music albums for the reputed German label ECM and toured extensively featuring the renowned Sax Player Jan Garbarek, Kenny Wheeler, Don Cherry, Ed Blackwell, Trilok Gurtu in many Jazz and world music festivals organized by his label ECM featuring other ECM artists such as Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette etc.
Shenkar is one of a kind musician venturing in different genres of music. Besides his numerous classical albums he has released worldwide several pop, rock, electronic dance music hit albums and videos including the musical composition of the 2005 Oscar winning documentary, “Born Into Brothels”. In 1990, Shenkar co-produced a one-hour BBC film directed by award winning director H.O. Nazareth. It was nominated as one of the best documentaries at the Cannes Film Festival. Shenkar’s work has been featured in the following films: “Queen of The Damned”, “Ali”, “Jennifer 8ʺ, “Robin Hood”, “Jacobs Ladder” and more. Shankar's pop, rock, electronic dance music albums have featured guest artists such as Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, John Waite, Stewart Copeland (The Police), Ginger Baker, Toto, Johnathon Davis (Korn), Natasha Bedingfield, Pat Monahan (Train),Randy Jackson (American Idol) and Patrick Leonard (Madonna) amongst others.Read more