Gingger Shankar is an Indian American singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist. She has scored several award-winning films, including Passion of the Christ and Circumstance.
Shankar was born in Los Angeles, California and raised there and in India. She is the eldest daughter of violinist Dr. L. Subramaniam. Her mother, Viji Subramaniam, was a classical singer and as was her grandmother Lakshmi Shankar (the sister-in-law of noted sitarist Ravi Shankar). As a child, she learned to sing, dance, and play violin and piano and attended the Kalakshetra creative arts school in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Later, she studied opera vocals with professional opera singer Tantoo Cardinal in Sherman Oaks, California. She also modeled and acted in stage productions. She began performing professionally at age 14.
Shankar plays the violin, cello and piano. She is the only female in the world to play the double violin. This ten-string, stereophonic instrument covers the entire orchestral range, including double bass, cello, viola and violin.
In 2004, she collaborated with composer John Debney on the Oscar-nominated score for the movie The Passion of the Christ. Her voice and double violin can be heard throughout the movie, and she is also credited with co-composing several musical cues.
Shankar has been associated with the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles. She has performed for them several times, as well as receiving their scoring achievement award for her contribution to The Passion of the Christ.
She composed music for Al Massad's Sundance award-winning documentary Recycle as well as his documentary This is My Picture When I Was Dead, which won first prize for best documentary at the Dubai International Film Festival.
In 2007, Shankar was chosen as one of six film composers chosen to attend the Sundance Institute Composer's Lab.
She is also credited with co-writing and performing for the 2007 film Charlie Wilson's War, alongside composer James Newton Howard.
Shankar contributed to the 2008 film The Forbidden Kingdom.
She composed music for the 2011 film, Circumstance, which won the Sundance Audience Choice Award.
In 2012, she debuted her multi-media project Himalaya Song at the Sundance Film Festival. It was a project about climate change in the Himalayas with live film, narration and music created by Gingger, Mridu Chandra and Dave Liang of the Shanghai Restoration Project. It was chosen as one of the 10 Best Music Films at Sundance by Rolling Stone Magazine.
In May 2013, Monsoon Shootout, a thriller she scored for director Amit Kumar premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2014, she scored Water & Power, a thriller directed by Richard Montoya of Culture Clash (performance troupe). It stars Enrique Murciano, Emilio Rivera, Clancy Brown and is executive produced by Edward James Olmos. The score features music from Chicano Batman, Las Cafeteras, One Day as a Lion and others.
In 2014, Brahmin Bulls, a film she scored for director Mahesh Pailoor opened in the US. Starring Sendhil Ramamurthy, Roshan Seth and Mary Steenburgen, it won film festival awards.
In 2015, she composed the music for the virtual reality 'Project Syria' created by Nonny De La Peña which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Shankar has performed in numerous festivals and venues alongside acts such as Smashing Pumpkins, Tony Levin, Steve Vai, Steve Lukather, Sussan Deyhim,
She performs on a track in the 2007 Saul Williams album Niggy Tardust, produced by Trent Reznor.
In July 2008, Shankar appeared in two Sgt. Pepper's 40th Year Anniversary Concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.
On July 16, 2012 she appeared in the music video "Love All Humans" alongside guitarist Anthony Gallo, actress Kate Kelton, model Tara Bre and others.
In 2014, she guested on Katy Perry's album, Prism (Katy Perry album). Her double violin can be heard on Legendary Lovers produced by Dr. Luke.
In 2014, she performed at the George Fest in Los Angeles with the Flaming Lips honoring George Harrison. Other artists included Weird Al Yankovic, Brandon Flowers, Norah Jones, Dhani Harrison, Brian Wilson and more.
In 2014 she released music video cover of U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday directed by Nicholas Bruckman through Paste Magazine.
Shankar is working on her upcoming album. She has been collaborating with Linda Perry, Sarah DeAun, Holmes Music, Devin Parker, Daniel Crean and others.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license