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Kamala Shankar Edit Profile


Dr. Kamala Shankar, a renowned exponent of Indian Classical Guitar & Vocal music, is the first lady Guitar Artist to have enthralled the world through her immaculate, and melodious rendition of music. She is known for her tremendous control and versatility on her instrument.


Basically a Tamillian, born in Tanjore and brought up in Varanasi, Kamala's musical journey started with the training in Vocal Music, initiated by her mother at the age of six under the guidance from Pt. Amarnath Misra of Banaras Gharana. Later on she picked up Indian Classical Style of Guitar at the age of twelve and blossomed to be a true artiste under the valuable guidance from Pt. Chhannoolal Misra (Varanasi), the renowned vocal maestro of Kiran Gharana and Pt. Bimalendu Mukherjee (Sitar maestro), a doyen of Imdadkhani Gharana in a Guru-Shishya Parampara style.

Dr. Kamala Shankar belongs to an elite and exclusive class of musicians who have Master in Science and Doctorate in Music from Bananas Hindu University, India. In spite of qualifying to study Dental Sciences, she chose music as it came to her naturally. She has attracted worldwide attention by successfully converting the Western Hawaiian Guitar into Shankar-Guitar which has overtones of classical Veena unlike its western cousin. Innovative design and shape by adding more strings and sympathetic strings to get the sustained, sliding notes common to the vocal style of Indian classical music. The instrument is now a hybrid of a classical Hawaiian guitar and a classical Indian sitar.


She received a doctorate of music (guitar playing) from vichitra-beenkar Gopal Shankar Mishra at Banaras Hindu University, and also holds bachelor's degrees in both vocal music and zoology.


The guitar has only recently begun to be adopted to Indian classical music, and many players modify the instrument with their own developments to better suit the idiom. In this, Shankar is no exception. Her model, the Shankar guitar (built by Bishan Das Sharma of instrument makers Rikhi Ram and Sons, New Delhi), is made from a single block of wood, with thicker walls and no sound hole. It has four melody strings, four chikari (rhythm strings) and 12 taraf (sympathetic strings). The guitar is named after Shankar Bhagwan. Shankar calls it a "modified version of the Hawaiian guitar".


  • She has an exceptional and natural ability to play the ‘Gayaki Ang’ style on her Shankar Guitar. Doctor Kamala is a prodigy of Indian Music and has won many prestigious awards both in India and abroad. She has improvised her art at every level to leave her audience spell bound in all her concerts.

    She has been awarded fellowship in the field of music by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India. She has been sponsored by Rotary International, India for group study exchange tour to various cities abroad, notably New York, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Fredericksburg and London. She has many music albums to her credit.

    Doctor Kamala Shankar has performed extensively in United States of America, Switzerland, Gulf of Dubai, Al-Sharjah, Bahrain, Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, France, Singapore etc and throughout India.