Shubho Shankar Dies After Long Illness at 50

Share via

Musician and composer Shubho Shankar, son of renowned sitar player Ravi Shankar, has died of pneumonia. He was 50.

Shankar, who had been ill for the last several months at his home in Garden Grove, died Tuesday at Los Alamitos Medical Center, his family announced Sunday.

A member of one of India’s most prominent musical families, Shankar studied the sitar as a youth with both his father and his mother, Annapurna Devi, a master surbahar (bass sitar) player and daughter of the legendary Indian musician Ustad Allaudin Khan.

As a young man living in his father’s home in Hollywood, he devoted his talents to painting and drawing, earning a degree in fine arts from the Otis Art Institute of the Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles.


But after years of working as a clerk in a liquor store, painting pictures and drawing illustrations for telephone directories to support his wife and two children, Shankar at the age of 40 took his father’s advice to return to his music full time.

He performed frequently on concert tours, composed music for films and recorded several albums. He also performed with his father, appearing throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, including performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Shankar is survived by his wife, Linda; their son, Somnath, 17; their daughter, Kaveri, 13, and his 71-year-old father, who is recuperating in London from surgery to clear blocked arteries.

According to Hindu tradition, Shankar’s remains were cremated Thursday and dispersed in the ocean Saturday off Marina del Rey, said Harihar Rao, a longtime family friend. Rao and the late Shankar both founded a Southern California-based society for Indian music known as the Music Circle.

A nondenominational memorial service was being planned, but final details had not been set by late Sunday, Rao said. People seeking information on the upcoming service were asked to call the Music Circle at (818) 449-6987.