Program: L. Shankar with Abhijit Banerjee and Rohan Krishnamurthy

April 03, 2022
Berklee Performance Center

L. Shankar – vocals / double violin
Abhijit Banerjee - tabla 
Rohan Krishnamurthy - percussion  

L. Shankar Biography

L Shankar (aka Shenkar, Shankar) is widely considered a living legend, a pioneer, and a musical genius by his peers who hold him in the highest esteem. He has enthralled audiences and critics alike all over the world. A child prodigy, L. Shankar 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.

L. Shankar was born in Madras, his parents from Kerala, and he grew up in Jaffna, Sri Lanka where his father V. Lakshminarayana was a professor at the Jaffna College of Music. L. Shankar was exposed to Carnatic music and other styles from an early age. He started studying vocals at the age of two, then violin at five, then mridangam at seven. His father was an esteemed violinist and vocalist, and his mother, L. Seethalakshmi, played the veena and sang.  All of his five older siblings were also proficient in music. At the age of seven, L. 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 and playing all through India with artists 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.

L. Shankar 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 on Indian classical tours with Zakir Hussain and Vinayakram. He recorded eight 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, and Trilok Gurtu in many jazz and world music festivals organized by his label ECM and featuring other ECM artists such as Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, etc.

L. Shankar is a one of a kind musician exploring different genres of music. Besides his numerous classical albums, he has released several pop, rock, and electronic dance music hit albums and videos worldwide including the musical composition of the 2005 Oscar-winning documentary, Born Into Brothels. In 1990, he 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. His work has been featured in the following films: Queen of The Damned, Ali, Jennifer 8, Robin Hood, Jacobs Ladder, and more. L. Shankar's 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), among others.

L. Shankar’s pop DVD, One In A Million, became the number one DVD in the US spending four weeks on top of the U.S. Soundscan/Billboard charts. He has also collaborated with Frank Zappa (who produced L. 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 (Public Image Ltd.), George Harrison, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Dave Stewart, Pete Townsend (The Who), Jonathan Davis (Korn), Robert Trujillo (Metallica), Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction), and many more.

L. Shankar has worked on numerous soundtracks including the Grammy-award winning and controversial The Last Temptation of Christ by the legendary film maker Martin Scorsese. He co-wrote many tracks with Peter Gabriel, and his vocals were featured in the movie.

In 2004, L. Shankar composed and performed vocals on Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. His unmistakable haunting voice was heard all through the movie. Additional special projects have included The Princess Trust Rock Concerts with Princess Diana in England, The United Nations Peace Day Festivals, and Nelson Mandela's 80th birthday celebrations. The rock extravaganza, Human Rights Now World Tour in 1988, featured L. Shankar's own group, and were joined by Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel, in addition to several other musicians.

L. Shankar collaborated with the gifted duo Wendy & Lisa (Prince) on their original score for the NBC smash hit TV series “Heroes.” L. Shankar is the featured lead vocalist on the theme and all episodes of “Heroes” and also in "Heroes- Reborn" TV series. His voice is also featured on the recent hit TV show "Fear the Walking Dead."

L. Shankar moved to India in January 2016 following the invitation from Sri Thirumeni Guruji at Chepleeri Siva Temple in Kattukulam, Punchapadam, 30 km from Pallakad. Sri Thirumeni Guruji and L. Shankar started the Shiva Conservatory three and a half years ago, headquartered at Chepleeri Shiva Temple. Other branches include the the Public Library in Palakkad headed by T.R.Ajayan, Chennai, Hosur, and Los Angeles, which has several prominent musicians taking master classes under L. 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 completed his upcoming album Chepleeri Dream to be released worldwide by Cleopatra Records from Hollywood which features Sri Thirumeni Guruji's mesmerizing vedic chants among other internationally renowned superstars. With this album, L. Shankar wishes to put Kerala on the highest horizon for musical fans all over the world from different genres of music. This album features artists such as Jonathan Davis (Korn), Scott Page (Pink Floyd), Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction), Norwood Fisher (Fishbone), Tony Levin (John Lennon, 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.

Abhijit Banerjee Biography 

Abhijit Banerjee is one of the most sought-after creative artists in the realm of Indian classical music. He has crafted a unique style and creative approach, bringing him many accolades and awards. He is known for his sensitivity, skill, and deep sense of musicality. Apart from his contribution to Indian music, he has delved into a diverse variety of world music crossover as both a performer and composer. He was steered towards the tabla at the age of four by his father. Later he also studied vocal music and violin, making him a complete musician. 

He is one of the main disciples of the illustrious guru, late Pt. Gyan Prakash Ghosh. Abhijit Banerjee has accompanied nearly all the top-ranking stars of Hindustani classical music on the tabla. As a tabla soloist, he has also left his distinct mark through numerous performances and publications in India and abroad. He has toured extensively all over the world and has performed in all of the major classical music festivals in India. 

In addition to a highly successful career in Indian classical music, his crossover work includes collaborations with international musicians. He has also produced Rabindranath Tagore’s AMI Chitrangada in collaboration with Balinese Gamelan Artiste Dewa aBerata of Cudamani group, which was later released as a music album. Pt. Banerjee founded his ensemble Tarang performing his original compositions. He has scored music for TV series, documentaries, puppet shows, dramas and short films, and has won the National Award for Documentary Music for the film about Calcutta, The Trail, which screened at international film festivals. 

Abhijit Banerjee founded and established the Dhwani Academy of Percussion in Los Angeles and Kolkata, attracting talented students from around the world. He has conducted several workshops and educational performance seminars on the intricacies of Indian music in universities and cultural centers abroad. 

Rohan Krishnamurthy Biography  

Indian-American percussionist and composer Dr. Rohan Krishnamurthy is one of the leading voices of Indian classical and cross-genre music in the South Asian diaspora. Acclaimed a  "musical ambassador" by  The Times of India, he received mridangam training from the esteemed Indian guru, Sri. Guruvayur Dorai. He studied jazz and funk drum set with Alan Hall at the California Jazz Conservatory and tabla with Pt. Swapan Chaudhuri at the Ali Akbar College of Music. Distinguished as a soloist, composer, and collaborator, Krishnamurthy performed with legendary Indian classical musicians and cross-over artists. He holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the Eastman School of Music and directs the RohanRhythm Percussion Studio.  Krishnamurthy is the recipient of prestigious international awards and grants including recent commissions from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Foundation, and Goethe Institute (Germany). He teaches in the Music Department at Ohlone College in the San Francisco Bay Area. His  patented RohanRhythm drum tuning system is available worldwide.  

For more information:
L. Shankar Website

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