G. Harishankar

Govinda Rao Harishankar, (India, June 10, 1958 – February 11, 2002) was a player of the kanjira, a tambourine-like frame drum used in the Carnatic music of South India. He is the only kanjira player to be awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the highest national recognition given to performing artists.


Harishankar received his initial training under his father Govinda Rao. He later learnt under Ramanathapuram C. S. Murugabhoopathy and then under Palghat Mani Iyer. He was a staff artist of the All India Radio, Chennai. Some of his best performances in albums were with the Sruthilaya group along with Karaikudi R Mani on the mridangam, T V Vasan on the ghatam, and Srirangam Kannan on the morsing. He performed on several albums including Laya Chithra, Sruthilaya, and Grand Finale. He is considered by many as the greatest kanjira performer to date.

Multiple sources say he had albinism, though many photos show him with dyed-dark hair.[1][2][3]


  1. " The Kanjira falls silent", by Aruna Subbiah, KutcheriBuzz Magazine (online edition); February 20, 2002; Madras
  2. "G. Harishankar Khanjira Maestro Without Equal", by Manna Srinivasan, Sruti magazine #210 (online edition); March, 2002; Chennai
  3. Centers, S. (2005). "Famous People with Albinism". SARA-Foundation.com. Campbell, California: Supporting Albinism Research and Awareness. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2008.

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