Ananda Shankar (11 December 1942 – 26 March 1999) was an Indian musician best known for his fusion of Western and Eastern musical styles. He was married to Tanushree Shankar.
Born in Almora, Uttar Pradesh, India, Ananda was the son of Amala and Uday Shankar, popular dancers. He was also the nephew of renowned sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar. Ananda did not learn sitar from his uncle but studied instead with Dr. Lalmani Misra in Varanasi.
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 studio album, the self-titled Ananda Shankar in 1970, featuring original Indian classical material alongside sitar-based cover versions of popular hits such as The Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and The Doors' "Light My Fire". This album has become an enduring cult classic.
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, tabla and mridangam, Western rock guitar, drums and Moog synthesizers. Out of print for many years, Ananda Shankar and His Music was re-released on CD in 2005.
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. His music was brought to a wider audience with the release of Blue Note Records' popular 1996 rare groove compilation album, Blue Juice Vol. 1., featuring the two standout tracks from Ananda Shankar and His Music, "Dancing Drums" and "Streets of Calcutta".
In the late 1990s Shankar worked and toured in the United Kingdom with London DJ State of Bengal and others, a collaboration that would result 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 sudden death from heart failure the year before.
In 2005, his song "Raghupati" was featured in the soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.