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An intensely talented South Indian violinist and a pioneer in fusing Indian and Western music, Lakshminarayan Shankar moved to the United States in the late 1960s and consorted with top jazz musicians including Ornette Coleman and John McLaughlin. He went on to form the influential group Shakti in the '60s with McLaughlin. Shankar's playing is a perfect example of why the violin is so well suited to Indian classical music -- with a quivering slide, Shankar can replicate the emotional qualities of the human voice before slipping into a mind-bogglingly fast run through a traditional raga. On his solo albums, Shankar often switches between playing strict classical music and a more progressive Fusion of jazz and other music, calling on like-minded players such as Zakir Hussain and Trilok Gurtu to provide rhythmic backing. Working on projects with players as diverse as Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Bill Laswell and Frank Zappa has also helped promote Shankar's name.
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