Q&A with legendary electric violinist & vocalist L. Shankar - an ethereal musical bed transports the listener on a spiritual journey

"Music can be so influential in all levels cultural, social, spiritual and make people realize that changes can be made for the betterment of the world and also personally. A song with a positive message can reach all over the world simultaneously now with the social media times."

L. Shankar: The Sounds of Our World

Indian legendary electric violinist & vocalist L. Shankar’s new album “Chepleeri Dream” is set for release on July 31 and will be available on both CD and limited edition red vinyl courtesy of Cleopatra Records, Inc. Album features guest appearances by Korn’s Jonathan Davis, world renowned vedic chanter P.N. Sivarama Krishnan, Tony Levin, Chester Thompson, Scott Page of Supertramp & Pink Floyd, Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, Norwood Fisher of Fishbone, and others!  Lakshminarayana Shankar, professionally known as L. Shankar, is widely considered a living legend, a pioneer, and a musical genius who has collaborated with giants such as Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and many, many more. His solo albums have always drawn not only enormous interest from fans and critics alike but also showcase the collaborative spirit that is integral to Shankar’s art. Musicians, singers, visionaries, both known and obscure, have all come to pay tribute to this uniquely talented musician and perhaps even find new inspiration for themselves by performing on his recordings.

L. Shankar, Kerala India / Photo by Ashraf Malayali

That tradition continues on Shankar’s new single “In My Heart,” which features the talents of groundbreaking artist Jonathan Davis, lead singer of alt-metal icons Korn, as well as Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, Fishbone’s Norwood Fisher, Scott Page renowned saxophonist from Supertramp and Pink Floyd and others. The song’s meditative pace sets the perfect vibe for Shankar’s mantra-like lyrics and melody while an ethereal musical bed transports the listener on a spiritual journey.

Interview by Michael Limnios    Special Thanks: Bill James (Glass Onyon) & L. Shankar

How has the music influenced your views of the world and the spiritual journeys you’ve taken?

Music is universal, it connects all races, religions and ages. It's the only language everyone can understand and feel. My music has made me realize the world is small and if I can connect with people through my music and try to make the world a better place for everyone to live even a bit and if we can all try, it would make a huge difference.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

My sound is universal, my music is very healing and soothing especially at a time like this we all need peace and love and my song book reflects upon many emotions which is part of all our lives. It may be from my personal experiences or from people I have known. Life is long and each day is a different song which makes a life story like the sky with different stars.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

The meetings which raised many questions, make me think, not knowing trying to find out and unfold the mysteries. The process is magical. I always remember Frank Zappa telling me never compromise your creativity and people who don't support your creativity are like poison you must get rid off.

"Music is universal, it connects all races, religions and ages. It's the only language everyone can understand and feel. My music has made me realize the world is small and if I can connect with people through my music and try to make the world a better place for everyone to live even a bit and  If we can all try,  it would make a huge difference." (L. Shankar / Photo by Pravin Eyyani)

What are the lines that connect the mantra-like lyrics and melody? Which is the relationship of meditation and music?

Lyrics and melodies are married together to create a great song; if I can touch someone's heart and make them feel like they've never felt before. My first single and video for "In My Heart" from my "Chepleeri Dream" album reflects that. 

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

That everyone can create whatever their real passion is and not be influenced by other outside forces cause that would be a real challenge and would make them strong, proud of trying no matter what the end results can be. Life is a onetime deal. You can take it or leave it. I like challenges personally which make me tick. Looking forward to the unknown; who knows it can be better than you ever imagined.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

To capture the moments and make the best use of it cause many times you won't get a 2nd chance. Life is like that. We can't let good things slip by. Able to appreciate life each and everyday try our best no matter what and able to accept what comes out of it. Somethings we can control but not everything.

It's like leaves falling out of a tree, one can never predict where each one of them will fall. It can even reach much further away from the tree if there's a big wind blowing.

What is the impact of music on the spiritual and socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Music can be so influential in all levels cultural, social, spiritual and make people realize that changes can be made for the betterment of the world and also personally. A song with a positive message can reach all over the world simultaneously now with the social media times. My lyrics and melodies from " Chepleeri Dream " reflects upon many of the emotions many of us feel and how we can deal with situations.

"Life is long and each day is a different song which makes a life story like the sky with different stars." (L. Shankar / Photo by Ashraf Malayali)

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

With a time machine I would like to visit the future 100 years from now to go around the world (by then probably we can go from one place to other in no time) to see where the technology has taken the world but I'm sure still people's problem won't be gone completely but I'm more interested by then would we have a peaceful world and no war, where everyone is more helpful to others from all parts of the world,  to realize that we are all equals and where women and children are lot more safer from society and there's no slavery and abuse  and humanity is at a better place.

I would like to wish everyone a safe and good life during these troublesome days. But everything must pass eventually, and we have better days waiting for us surely soon or later!

L. Shankar - Home

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