The Shruti Box has more to it now, than just being a musician’s accomplice. It is the YouTube music channel, with over 12 million views and a combined 100,000 fans, through which one of the most resplendent musicians of today was discovered by the world. Shankar Tucker, an American by birth, is said to have been drawn to Indian music on listening to the works of the renowned quintet “Remembering Shakti “, which the famous English guitarist John McLaughlin was a part of. The young clarinetist and music composer grew up in Massachusetts. His family is said to be a devout follower of spiritual guru Mata Amritanandamayi, who happens to be the reason behind the musician’s first name “Shankar”. It was after she suggested that he was christened so. Shankar Tucker trained under the American Sitarist Peter Row, before obtaining The Frank Huntington Beebe Fund to study music under the legendary Indian flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia in Mumbai, in 2010. When asked how he found the training to be, Shankar describes his experience as “nothing short of life-changing” and that his “musical standpoint has completely shifted. Instead of thinking Western notation and chords or counting to 8 or 16, I think teentaal or aadhi taalam.” Also, Shankar is a polygamist when it comes to music. He plays not only the clarinet, but also the tabla, the kanjira, the piano, the bass and the guitar. Master of all trades!
Many newspapers and tabloids speak highly of the young American. He is also known for having introduced and help establish many young, vibrant and spry musicians like the Iyer sisters – Vandana and Vidya Iyer , Rohan Kymal, Mugdha Hasabnis, Jaunita John , to name a few. His sister, Akshaya Tucker plays the cello and she is featured in a few of his music videos too. His cover music videos on A.R.Rahman’s celebrated songs, like, “O saya” from the Oscar winning movie, Slumdog Millionaire and “Munbe Va” from the Tamil movie “ Sillunu oru Kadhal “ made him immensely popular among the masses. He was also an invited speaker at TEDx Gateway conference in Mumbai and TEDxCEG in Chennai. He recently collaborated with the acclaimed Indian musician Shankar Mahadevan for the first time on stage, at the third edition of Storm Music Festival, at Bangalore, Karnataka. “It’s my honour to share the stage with Shankar Mahadevan. I have been his fan since his first album and I think it’s truly a dream come true to perform with him on stage,” said Shankar Tucker. He is currently working on debuting as music composer for a Bilingual Indian movie titled “Orey Nyabagam” in Tamil and “Nee Vaipe” in Telugu.
In this generation of modernisation, when most of the Indians seem to be condemning and neglecting the Indian classical music, to have a western musician study and specialise in Indian music, is something. It’s time to take our hats off, Bravo!