|Other name||Viji Shankar LA Times|
|Real name/Full name||Vijayashree Shankar LA Times|
|Profession||Singer and Composer|
|Famous for||Being the wife of veteran Indian classical musician L Subramaniam|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Debut Singing||Film: Salaam Bombay (1988)|
|Date of Birth||15 August 1952 (Friday)|
|Date of Death||10 February 1995|
|Place of Death||Los Angeles, United States|
|Age (at the time of death)||42 Years|
|Death Cause||Cancer The Times of India|
|College/University||California Institute of the Arts, California, US|
|Educational Qualification||Master’s degree in music from California Institute of the Arts. LA Times|
|Caste||Brahmin LA Times|
|Relationships & More|
|Marital Status (at the time of death)||Married|
|Marriage Date||Year, 1976 (Bombay)|
|Husband/Spouse||Dr L Subramaniam (Indian classical singer)
Dr. Narayana Subramaniam (musician)
Ambi Subramaniam (musician)
Gingger Shankar (musician)
Bindu Subramaniam (musician)
|Parents||Father- Rajendra Shankar (elder brother of sitarist Ravi Shankar)
Mother- Lakshmi Shankar (Hindustani vocalist)
Some Lesser Known Facts About Viji Subramaniam
- Viji Subramaniam (15 August 1952 – 10 February 1995) was an Indian classical music singer and composer. She was well versed in World, Indian classical, and film score genres of music.
- Viji Subramaniam was trained in the Indian classical systems by her mother and uncle, who were both noted Indian musicians. She was born in Madras; however, she was brought up in Bombay.
- Viji Subramaniam used to attend almost every musical concert along with her mother from a very early age. She was allowed to play the tambura on the stage.
- In 1997, the veteran Indian singer, Ravi Shankar stated in his autobiography, Raga Mala, that her voice was sweet and lovely.
- In the 1970s, she started performing at international live music concerts. She used to play the tambura along with the sitar recitals of Shankar and Ustad Alla Rakha.
- In 1972, Viji Subramaniam was honoured with the All India Radio “President of India” medal for her excellence in singing on Indian radio and television.
- In 1974, she attended Shankar’s Music Festival from India along with her aunt, Kamala Chakravarty, and mother, Lakshmi Shankar. This event was sponsored by George Harrison, an English musician and singer-songwriter.
- In 1976, Viji Subramaniam lent her voice to the studio album of Music Festival from India, and this album was produced by Harrison and was recorded at Harrison’s mansion, Friar Park.
- From September 1974 to October 1974, Viji Subramaniam was associated with the Music Festival’s European concerts. She also accompanied her mother on a North American tour with Harrison at the end of 1974.
- Reportedly, Viji Subramaniam and Dr L Subramaniam both participated in the Music Festival from India in 1974 in London when they met each other. They got married in 1976 in Bombay in a three-day wedding ceremony.
- According to a media report, Viji liked cooking for her family and especially, for her husband, who liked eating Parmigiana frequently. She was an expert in cooking Mexican, Chinese and Italian cuisines. The report stated,
Occasionally she branches out into other cuisines–Mexican, Chinese and Italian, for instance. Eggplant Parmigiana is one of her husband’s favorite dishes. And she makes enchiladas filled with cheese, olives and mushrooms.”
- Viji Subramaniam, along with her husband, advocated the concept of Global Music. This idea aimed at reducing the dominance of Western music across the globe while popularising the importance of other forms of music in the world such as Irish, Swedish, Danish, Chinese, African, Japanese, and Iranian.
- Later, Viji Subramaniam lent her voice to two Indian films. In 1988, she sang songs for the film Salaam Bombay, which won a Cannes Film Festival Audience Award and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in the same year. In 1991, she sang songs in the film Mississippi Masala in which Indian actors Sarita Choudhary and Denzel Washington were in lead roles.
- In 1992, Viji Subramaniam and her husband established the Lakshminarayana Global Music Festival (LGMF) to honour the contribution of her late father-in-law to Indian classical music. This festival was launched to unite prominent Indian and international artists on the same stage by organising it across various cities around the world including India, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the United States, China, Japan, Cuba, Senegal, Iran, and Baluchistan. The artists who are associated with this festival are Yehudi Menuhin, Bismillah Khan, Allah Rakha, Kishan Maharaj, Arve Tellefsen, Malavika Sarukkai, and Christian Eggen for regular live musical performances across the world.
- Later, she shifted from India to Los Angeles and gave up her career to look after her family and children. In February 1995, she died after battling for a long with cancer.
- In 2006, in a documentary film ‘Violin from the Heart’ her vocal performance was inducted by the French director Jean Henri Meunier, and this film was based on L. Subramaniam.
- Her daughter, Gingger Shankar is a Los Angeles-based violinist and composer who is blessed with Viji Subramaniam’s influence and has attained diverse musical training from her mother. In a media conversation, once, Gingger Shankar narrated that she used to attend classical concerts and listen to rock music with her mother. Gingger said,
We’d go to classical concerts and listen to rock music on the way back home. She was a very open-minded person and because of that I was able to soak up so much.”
- Her children, Bindu and Ambi performed at the 22nd staging of LGMF, which was organised as a six-city Indian tour between December 2013 and January 2014.
- Once, in a media conversation, L Subramaniam’s second wife, Kavita Krishnamurthy stated that she attended the wedding ceremony of L Subramaniam and Viji Subramaniam. Kavita narrated,
I was in St Xaviers and she was a year senior to me in Elphinston College. We shared our passion for music. It was because of a common friend that we met. My friend was invited to Viji’s wedding and I also went along for the haldi ceremony and thereafter, for the reception too. All I knew was that Viji was marrying a South Indian musician. Later on, I heard that she was going off to live in America.”