Ananda Shankar

Ananda Shankar (11 December 1942 – 26 March 1999) was an Indian musician, singer, and composer best known for fusing Western and Eastern musical styles.[1][2] He was married to dancer and choreographer Tanusree Shankar.[3]

Ananda Shankar
Birth nameAnanda Shankar
Born(1942-12-11)December 11, 1942
Almora, United Provinces, British India
Died26 March 1999(1999-03-26) (aged 56)
GenresWorld music
  • Musician
  • singer
  • composer


Born in Almora in Uttar Pradesh(now in Uttarakhand), India, Shankar was the son of Amala Shankar and Uday Shankar, popular dancers, and also the nephew of sitar player Ravi Shankar. He studied in The Scindia School, Gwalior.[4] Ananda did not learn sitar from his uncle but studied instead with Lalmani Misra at Banaras Hindu University.[4] He died in Kolkata on 26 March 1999 aged 56 from cardiac failure.[5]

Professional careerEdit

In the late 1960s, Shankar travelled to Los Angeles, where he played with many contemporary musicians including Jimi Hendrix. There he was signed to Reprise Records and released his first album, Ananda Shankar, in 1970, with original Indian classical material alongside sitar-based cover versions of popular hits, The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and The Doors' "Light My Fire". The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[6]

Returning to India in the early 1970s, Shankar continued to experiment musically and in 1975 released his most critically acclaimed album, Ananda Shankar and His Music, a jazz-funk mix of Eastern sitar, Western rock guitar, tabla and mridangam, drums and Moog synthesizers. Out of print for many years, the album was re-released on CD in 2005.[7]

After working in India during the late 1970s and 1980s, Shankar's profile in the West began to rise again in the mid-1990s as his music found its way into club DJ sets, particularly in London.[8] His music was brought to a wider audience with the release of Blue Note Records' 1996 rare groove compilation album, Blue Juice Vol. 1., including two tracks from Ananda Shankar and His Music, "Dancing Drums" and "Streets of Calcutta".[9]

In the late 1990s, Shankar worked and toured in the United Kingdom with the London DJ State of Bengal and others, a collaboration that resulted in the Walking On album, featuring Shankar's trademark sitar soundscapes mixed with breakbeat and hip hop. Walking On was released in 2000 after Shankar's death the previous year.[10]

In 2005 his music was said to be a major inspiration to the DJ duo Amorphous Androgynous / The Future Sound of London on their live show on BBC 6Mix called A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind vol. 7[11]

In 2010 and 2011, his music appeared in the following episodes of the NBC comedy show Outsourced:

Episode Name of episode Date originally aired Music
103 Party of Five 7 October 2010 "Night in the Forest"
105 Touched by an Anglo 21 October 2010 "Dancing Drums"
106 Bolloween 28 October 2010 "Radha"—inst.
107 Truly, Madly, Pradeeply 4 November 2010 "Dancing Drums"
109 Temporary Monsanity 18 November 2010 "Dancing Drums"
110 Homesick to my Stomach 2 December 2010 "Renunciation"
112 Sari Charlie 27 January 2011 "Exploration"
114 The Todd Couple 20 February 2011 "Cyrus"

In 2015, his cover of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" was featured in an episode of Master of None.


  • Ananda Shankar, 1970 (LP, Reprise 6398; CD, Collectors' Choice CCM-545)
  • Ananda Shankar and His Music, 1975 (EMI India)
  • India Remembers Elvis, 1977 (EP, EMI India S/7EPE. 3201)
  • Missing You, 1977 (EMI India)
  • A Musical Discovery of India, 1978 (EMI India)
  • Sa-Re-Ga Machan, 1981 (EMI India)
  • 2001, 1984 (EMI India)
  • Temptations, 1992 (Gramaphone Company of India)
  • Ananda Shankar: Shubh – The Auspicious, 1995
  • Ananda, 1999 (EMI India)
  • Arpan, 2000 (EMI India)
  • Walking On, 2000 (Real World 48118-2, with State of Bengal)
  • Ananda Shankar: A Life in Music – The Best of the EMI Years, 2005 (Times Square TSQ-CD-9052)


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Rolling Stone Discography". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 9 February 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  3. ^ Bhattacharjee, Rudradeep. "Ananda Shankar's enduring genius: 'A musician of the world before the term world music was invented'". Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b Students' Britannica India, Volumes 1–5. Popular Prakashan. 2000. p. 377. ISBN 978-0-85229-760-5.
  5. ^ Haresh Pandya (27 April 1999). "Obituary : Ananda Shankar". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  6. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  7. ^ "The Ananda Shankar Experience". Real World Records. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  8. ^ Rabe, Nate. "Five psychedelic sitar classics by Ananda Shankar". Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Ananda Shankar | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  10. ^ Pandya, Haresh (27 April 1999). "Ananda Shankar". Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  11. ^ "FSOL - A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Exploding in Your Mind vol. 7". Mixcloud. BBC 6Mix. Event occurs at 01:05:00. Retrieved 12 January 2021.

External linksEdit