L. Shankar (violin) is an acknowledged virtuoso of the violin. Born into a renowned family of musicians, he is the son and disciple of V. Lakshminarayana. Both of Shankar’s parents were vocalists and his entire family was into music. Shankar started learning vocal techniques at the age of two.
His parents were not just Carnatic vocalists, but had a fair bit of exposure to world music. His father was trained in Indian classical music. His mother L Sitalakshmi played the veena while his father sang and played the violin. At the age of five, Shankar started learning violin. By seven, he gave his first public concert at a temple in Ceylon during a festival.
Early in his career he built a considerable reputation as an accompanist to masters of the South Indian vocal tradition, such as Semmangudi Srinivasar, Chembai Vaithyanatha Baghavatar and Alathur Srinivasa lyer. He was also a member of a unique violin trio with his brothers L. Vaidyanathan and L. Subramaniam.
As a soloist and collaborator with such performers as tabla master Zakir Hussain and Vikku Vinayakram, he has been at the forefront in expanding the horizons of Indian music throughout the world. He has received numerous awards including Best Violinist Award from the Madras Music Academy in 1982.
Shankar’s numerous collaborations with Western musicians have brought him new international audiences. Shankar is a virtuoso vocalist and violinist whose vocal range covers five octaves. His 1980 release, Who’s To Know, and Phil Collins’ solo debut, Face Value, introduced the unique sound of Shankar’s own invention, the 10 string stereophonic Double Violin, to listeners around the world.
In 1996, Shankar formed a duo with fellow violinist Gingger. Touring internationally as Shankar & Gingger since 1996, they have garnered both critical acclaim and a growing fan base, performing at world events such as The Concert for Global Harmony and Nelson Mandella’s 80th Birthday celebrations. Shankar and Gingger’s first release in the DVD-Audio format, which presented the music in stunning six channels, surround sound.