A look at Gingger Shankar's Nari (Part 2 of 3)
Part one of our three-part series highlighted the multi-talented and accomplished artist Gingger Shankar. However, no one is more aware than Gingger that she stands on the shoulders of giants – especially her mother (Viji Shankar) and grandmother (Lakshmi Shankar) – who were trailblazers in their own right and who she continues to pay tribute to through her current projects. Strong, talented women appear to run in Gingger’s family as her relatives Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar (Lakshmi’s brother-in-law, Ravi Shankar’s daughters) carry forward the mantle as empowered women, themselves. Part two takes us a little deeper inside the Shankar family history and their vast accomplishments.
We are “Family & Friends”…
You most likely have heard of Ravi Shankar given his profound and much recognized influence on George Harrison and the Beatles. He was also nominated for an Oscar in 1982 for best original score for the Academy Award winning movie, “Gandhi” (including Best Picture and Best Director). You may even know that in 1974 Harrison produced the album “Shankar Family & Friends,” which was one of the first releases on Harrison’s Dark Horse Label. Harrison and Shankar would go on to release a four disc compilation box set entitled, “Collaborations.”
What you likely don’t know is that one of the key artists involved in the making of that historic collaboration was Lakshmi Shankar, Ravi’s sister-in-law. Lakshmi was a noted classical dancer and vocalist who even conducted Ravi’s musicians after his heart attack during the “Family & Friends” tour. She is perhaps most recognized in America for singing the vocals for the song “I Am Missing You” from the aforementioned Shankar album. The song was produced and arranged by Harrison.
From one generation to the next…
Lakshmi Shankar’s daughter Viji (Ginger’s mother) was also a talented composer, musician, and singer. In 1974, along with her mother and aunt Kamala Chakavarty, Viji Shankar joined the “Music Festival from India” revue sponsored by Harrison. Viji also sang on Ravi Shankar’s studio album of the same name, produced by Harrison, and later toured with Harrison and Shankar.
Viji’s husband, Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramaniam, is both a physician and an accomplished musician in his own right. He is an internationally renowned violinist, composer, conductor, arranger and record producer. Both Dr. Subramaniam and his wife Viji earned their Master’s degrees from the California Institute of the Arts. Viji and her husband would go on to compose for Mira Nair’s Academy Award winning film “Salam Bombay!” and record Viji’s ground-breaking hit “Mississippi Masala.” Viji also sang on the film’s soundtrack.
Not to be outdone, Dr. Subramaniam performed as the featured violinist for the films “Little Buddha” and “Cotton Mary.” In 2012, Dr. Subramaniam performed with Stevie Wonder at the United Nations Concert Delivering “A Message of Peace.”
…And the next… The multi-talented couple raised four children, including the supremely talented Gingger Shankar. In 1995, the Shankar family and world grieved the loss of Viji to her battle with cancer. Dr. Subramaniam remarried world famous singer Kavita Krishnamurthy in 1999.
Today, Gingger Shankar continues to carry the legacy forward of her famous family with aplomb and we can’t wait to see what she does next. Stay tuned for more…