January 3, 2018

Lakshmi Shankar: The Voice of Lakshmi Shankar [WPS-21461] an LP recorded and released in the US in 1969

Here we have a delightful LP of vocalist Lakshmi Shankar. She was born in 1926 and died in late 2013. She was the sister-in-law of Ravi Shankar and the mother-in-law of violinist L. Subramaniam, but these facts certainly were not the reason she was so beloved. I really think she had one of the most beautiful sounding voices in Hindustani music. Her personality shines through whether she is performing lighter fare such as thumris or for more "serious" ragas.

She did not release an enormous number of albums, but each one that she did release is full of lovely singing. I have three or four in the pipeline, mostly from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her discography does not stop there, however, and I encourage you to find a few of her later releases such as the one on Navras which I believe is still available as a CD. 

I have no doubt that there has always been and currently is a degree of sexism and misogyny on Earth, in India, and in the Hindustani Classical musical profession. It could not possibly have been easy for female artists such as Lakshmi Shankar to start and maintain careers. Family pressures alone would be enough to sideline several talented musicians and we are all the poorer for it. Lakshmi's granddaughter Gingger Shankar recently directed a film documentary about her mother Viji Subramaniam and Lakshmi and the hurdles they had to face in establishing their careers. Gingger came to my city a year ago to perform and show the film, but the event was cancelled at the last minute. I'm not sure if it available on DVD or a streaming service, but i look forward to watching it someday.

I actually transferred this one over a year ago. After recording it, the record and the album sleeve became parted somehow in my collection. I was not able to scan the cover and so did not post. A few months ago I ran across the empty album sleeve and reunited them. However, I put that LP away in a pile of LP boxes and don't have the inclination or energy at the moment to find it and scan the cover. Instead I am nicking the one I found on the web. Eventually I hope to post a better version.

side one: Raga Gunkali and Raga Madhmadh Sarang
side two: Raga Janasammohini

Equipment used in transfer: 
Preparation: Ultrasonic cleaning for 20 minutes in pure clean water
Turntable:  Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Audio-technica AT440
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.
Recorder: Sony PCM-M10 at 24bit/96kHz resolution
Software: AudacityClickRepairand xAct

(the highest resolution I am capable of recording)

(after decoding into wav, can be burned to a CD)

(highest quality compressed audio file)


  1. I can't wait to listen to that one. An old recordings of Shankar. Wow. Thanks a lot.

  2. Beautiful, thanks a lot Richard, and I wish you a n happy new year to you. Let me thank you a lot for your fantastic blog, an oasis in those days of mediocrity and intolerance.

  3. Thanks a lot Richard for that lovely LP. It seems likely that it is the same recording as an EMI-India release ECSD 2391. The entry in Discogs for that LP does not state the names of the ragas, though it gives the bandish names, which are the same as on your blog. Another source gives the same ragas as your blog. According to this latter source (Michael S Kinnear's Discography of Hindustani and Karnatic Music) the EMI-India LP was released in 1968 and the WPS LP in 1969, but I have no idea whether this is correct, or where the LP was recorded. Perhaps there is more information on your sleeve?
    Anyhow many thanks again and Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks, Louis. I think you are correct. This is the first World Pacific album I've noticed that hasn't said "Recorded in Hollywood, CA" or something similar. It says "Produced Bhasker Menon - HMV India" and "A Richard Bock Presentation."

      The artwork will be up shortly. The cover scans are not being assembled by Photoshop correctly so I will have to re-scan them. The only part of the process of keeping a blog which I don't like is the scanning!

    2. Hve you tried Microsofts free Image Composite Editor? It does a great job of assembling partial images from four A4 scans of LP's into a (usually) flawless image

  4. Richard, thank you so much for sharing your treasury of music (and especially appreciate you're uploading them as high-resolution files. I'm listening to Lakshmi Shankar right now and enjoying her immensely!

    Wishing you a very Happy New Year from Los Angeles.


  5. Hello, please upload more of her music. She has a incredibly soothing voice; such a treat.

    1. Yes, I will do this. I have at least two and possibly three more LPs by Lakshmi ji. She had a thrilling timbre to her voice that I have always found beautiful.

  6. Cannot wait to hear the other LPs. I can't get enough of her. She's amazing. Thank you for sharing and introducing to such artists to listeners like me.