Though Gingger Shankar has made a name for herself in American culture by scoring films such as the Oscar-nominated “The Passion of the Christ” and performing with popular rock bonds such as the Smashing Pumpkins, she is still actively carving out a name for herself in Indian culture as well.
Having already worked on Bollywood projects such as “Monsoon Shoutout,” featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and “Katiyabaaz,” the Indian American grandniece of iconic sitarist Ravi Shankar told Radioandmusic.com that she still had her sights on working with Indian singers “A.R. Rahman, Lata Mangeshkar, Alka Yagnik and Sonu Nigam, to name a few.”
Through her music production company, Little Girl and the Robot, Shankar said she also had the opportunity to work with the United Nations, the Veteran’s Administration and People’s Television, among others.
At the moment, Shankar is working on the 13-track album “Nari,” the idea for which came to her after her grandmother died.
“I wanted her and my mother’s story to be told,” Shankar told Radioandmusic.com. “It is such an important one for music, as well as for me, wanting to tell the story of two people who greatly influenced my life.”
Shankar is the eldest daughter of classical singer Viji Subramaniam, the daughter of classical singer Lakshmi Shankar, and violinist L. Subramaniam. The musician said her family was instrumental in fostering her love of music.
“I learned the violin from my grandmother, singing from my mother and grandmother,” Shankar said.
Now Shankar is the only woman in the world who can play the double violin, a sound she said is unfamiliar to most audiences but one that gives her a wide range of sounds to work with.
“It is an instrument that covers the entire orchestral range —violin, viola, bass and cello,” Shankar explained. “It provides a tone and sound unlike any other instrument.”
In addition to teaching her how to play instruments and sing, Shankar said her family exposed her to a range of different musicians from M.S. Subbulakshmi to the Beatles to Beethoven and Mozart.
“As I went into my teens, music became my life/career,” Shankar said. “I do not think I ever made a choice. It was very natural and something I always wanted to do. I love it and cannot imagine doing anything else.”