Lakshmi Shankar

Lakshmi Shankar (born Lakshmi Sastri, 16 June, 1921 – 30 December, 2013) was a noted Hindustani classical vocalist of the Patiala Gharana. She was known for her performances of khyal, thumri, and bhajan.[1][2][3] She was the sister-in-law of sitar player Ravi Shankar and the mother-in-law of violinist L. Subramaniam (her daughter Viji (Vijayashree Shankar) Subramaniam being his first wife).

Lakshmi Shankar
Birth nameLakshmi Sastri
Born(1926-06-16)16 June 1926
Jamshedpur, British India
Died30 December 2013(2013-12-30) (aged 87)
Simi Valley, California, USA
GenresHindustani classical
Occupation(s)Vocalist, dancer
Associated actsRavi Shankar, Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, Viji Subramaniam, Nirmala Devi, L. Subramaniam, Sultan Khan, Ramesh Mishra, Viji Prakash


Born in 1921, Lakshmi started her career in dancing. Her father Bhimrao Shastri was a noted Sanskritist who took active participation in India's struggle for freedom and was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. She was the co-editor of 'Harijan'. In 1939, when Uday Shankar brought his dance troupe to Madras (recently renamed Chennai), she joined the Almora Centre to learn Shankar's dance style based on the Indian classics, and became a part of the troupe. In 1941, she married Uday Shankar's younger brother, Rajendra (nicknamed Raju). Her sister Kamala was also a dancer at Uday Shankar's ballet troupe and later married film director Amiyo Chakraborty. Kamala had a long drawn affair and was in a live-in-relationship with her sister Lakshmi's brother-in-law sitarist Ravi Shankar.

During a period of illness, Lakshmi had to give up dancing, and already having had a background of Carnatic music, she undertook learning Hindustani classical music for many years under Ustad Abdul Rehman Khan. Later, she also trained with Ravi Shankar, the sitar maestro and youngest brother of Rajendra and Uday.

In 1974, Lakshmi performed in Europe as part of Ravi Shankar's Music Festival from India. Late that same year, she toured North America with Shankar and George Harrison, who produced the Shankar Family & Friends album (1974), including the pop single "I Am Missing You" with vocals by Lakshmi. Following Ravi Shankar's heart attack during the tour, she conducted his ensemble of musicians.[4]

Lakshmi has shown her versatility and adaptability by composing music for Bharatanatyam for the leading dance company Shakti School of Bharatanatyam, located in Los Angeles.

Shankar died on 30 December 2013 in California.[5]


LP Records

  • The Voice of Lakshmi Shankar – World Pacific, USA, 1969
  • Le chant indien, classique et dévotionnel – Stil discothèque (Cat No 0608 S 75), France, 1976
  • Les Heures et les Saisons – Ocora (Cat No 558615/16), France, studio 107 de Radio France 1983, 1987

Compact Discs

  • Les Heures et les Saisons – Ocora, France, studio 107 de Radio France 1983, 1989
  • Chants de dévotion / Songs of Devotion – Auvidis (Ethnic) (Cat No B 6745), France, 1990
  • Live Concert from Los Angeles – Ravi Shankar Music Circle, USA
  • Jai Uttal Footprints, featuring Lakshmi Shankar and Don Cherry – Triloka, Los Angeles, Ca, 1990
  • Live in London – Navras, UK (Cat No NRCD0006)
  • Bhakti Ras (Live in London, Vol. 2, September 1992) – Navras, UK (Cat No NRCD0056) 1995
  • Shringar: Thumris – Music Today, India
  • Ecstasy – Audiorec (Cat No 1052-2), 1991
  • Amrut Ras, Lakshmi Shankar sings songs from the devotional tradition – Audiorec Classics UK (Cat No 766032 1055-2), 2003
  • Divine Love – Navras UK (Cat No NRCD3515), 2005, 2006
  • A life of dedication – Navras UK (Cat No NRCD0202), 2006, 2006
  • Dancing in the Light – World Village (Cat No 468049), Recorded Live 9 April 2005 at On the Path Studio, Santa Monica, California, 2008


  • Live in London – Navras, UK
  • Bhakti Ras – Navras, UK
  • Songs of the Seasons – Music Today, India
  • Shringar: Thumris – Music Today, India
  • Thumris – HMV – India
  • Lakshmi Shankar Vocal with Zakir Hussain and L. Subramaniam – HMV, India


  1. ^ "Making music, with love". The Hindu. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Ageless artiste, timeless charm..." The Hindu. 24 March 2006. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Pop And Jazz Guide: Lakshmi Shankar, Shweta Jhaveri, Anuradha Pal". New York Times. 2 April 2004. p. 4. Retrieved 21 March 2013. Lakshmi Shankar's clear, supple voice has made her one of India's most acclaimed classical singers.
  4. ^ Lavezzoli, Peter (2006). The Dawn of Indian Music in the West. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 196. ISBN 0-8264-1815-5.
  5. ^ "Classical Vocalist Lakshmi Shankar Passes Away". 16 June 1926. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2014.

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