Ananda Shankar was an Indian musician best known for fusing Western and Eastern musical styles. Born in Almora in Uttar Pradesh state in the Himalayan foothills in the north of India, Shankar was the son of Amala and Uday Shankar, popular dancers, and also the nephew of renowned sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar. Ananda did not learn sitar from his uncle but studied instead with Lalmani Mishra in Varanasi. In the late 1960s Shankar travelled to Los Angeles, where he played with many contemporary musicians including Jimi Hendrix. There he was signed to Reprise Records and released his first self-titled album in 1970, featuring original Indian classical material alongside sitar-based cover versions of popular hits such as The Rolling Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash and The Doors' Light My Fire.
This album has become an enduring cult classic. Returning to India in the early 1970s Shankar continued to experiment musically and released in 1975 what may be his best album, Ananda Shankar And His Music, an intoxicating jazz-funk mix of Eastern sitar, Western rock guitar, tabla and mridangam, crashing drums and wailing Moog synthesizers. Inexplicably out of print for many years, Ananda Shankar And His Music was re-released on CD in 2005. After working in India during the late 1970s and 1980s, Shankar's profile in the West began to rise again in the mid-1990s as his music found its way into club DJ sets, particularly in London. His music was brought to a wider audience with the release of Blue Note Records' popular 1996 rare groove compilation album, Blue Juice Vol. 1., featuring the two standout tracks from Ananda Shankar And His Music, Dancing Drums and Streets Of Calcutta. In the late 1990s Shankar worked and toured in the United Kingdom with London DJ State Of Bengal and others, a collaboration that would result in the 'Walking On' album, featuring Shankar's trademark sitar soundscapes mixed with breakbeat and hip hop.' Walking On' was released in 2000 after Shankar's sudden death from heart failure the year before.