SHANKAR/SHENKAR: A Voice of Mystery.... A Voice of Beauty.

A voice of mystery.... that is one of the only ways I can describe the voice of Shenkar. Or is it Shankar? Or is it both? A mystery that has plagued me for a couple years. It finally...yes, FINALLY, after two years, drove me to search Shankar on Wikipedia.

It all began two years ago, when the television show, HEROES, made it's debut. At first, I was extremely surprised to see that the score was done by WENDY & LISA, best known for their work with PRINCE & THE REVOLUTION. An extremely full and artistic career, taking yet another turn.... but then, as I continued watching the opening credits of HEROES, it stated that the music of Wendy & Lisa featured the voice of SHENKAR. Now... who is Shenkar? I had heard of SHANKAR, the vocalist and midi-violin player, who was prominently featured on PETER GABRIEL's "SECRET WORLD TOUR", back in 1993. I have owned that video (and subsequent DVD release) for over fifteen years, and it remains one of my favorite concert videos of all time. And, I might add, Shankar had a lot to do with that. The beauty of his violin work, and the haunting sound of his voice, added a beautiful ambience to the already artistic and thought provoking music of Peter Gabriel. Below is a link to their incredible collaboration "ACROSS THE RIVER" from Peter Gabriel's "SECRET WORLD LIVE".

Anyhow, as I watched HEROES, I thought to myself how similar the voice was to that of Shankar. I dismissed it, thinking that any "Middle Eastern" sounding voice could be made to sound like Shankar. And, like the British duo of YAZOO, names could be similar enough, but not identical to other artists (hence the need for YAZOO to go by the name YAZ, in the United States). So, I just went on...for two years...thinking that the world had a mysterious vocalist named Shenkar, in addition to the talented Shankar.

Enter the latest studio release by TOTO, "FALLING IN BETWEEN". I had just checked the CD out of the library, and on several tracks, I heard a voice similar to both Shankar AND Shenkar. I opened the liner notes, and saw that the artist was, in fact, Shenkar... and he also contributed on the violin. Now, things were getting really weird. It was becoming too much to be considered a coincidence. I got home from work, and promptly did a Wikipedia search for Shankar. And what did I find?

The artists behind the haunting music was born
Lakshminarayanan Shankar, in India, in 1950. His father was a music at the Jaffna College of Music, hence Shankar began his musical life at an early age. He was singing by the age two, and playing violin at the age of 5. He continued to develop his musical skills, learning other instruments along the way.

So... there's a good chance that I'm the only one that has been perplexed by this mystery... but if not, if YOU have also wondered this...hopefully this will put you at ease. You can search him on Wikipedia to learn more... it's interesting stuff, IF you can understand all the funny Sanskrit words!