U. SRINIVAS – MANDOLIN ALL THE WAY (INDIA, 1991)
Time for some Carnatic Grooves! Probably not the most popular style of music considering that my previous carnatic post (the remarkable Silk World Music Group) generated only three comments!
I don’t expect any more this time. Too bad because this music is absolutely riveting.
"I thought that it's common to hear people playing classical music on the violin or veena, so why don't I try something new?" Of course, I never dreamed I would become so well known or that the mandolin would become so popular."
Mandolin U. Srinivas is among South India’s better known musicians. In the West, his name may be recognized by some open-minded jazz fans thanks to his collaboration with John Mc Laughlin & Zakir Hussein. However, there is no hint of jazz or fusion in this recording. This is pure Carnatic Classical Music. Absolutely Magic! This music gives me a natural high!
Upalappu Srinivas is to Indian classical music what Sir Yehudi Menuhin is to its Western equivalent. And, like the latter, U. Srinivas was a child prodigy who has taken the mandolin, an instrument unknown in India, to unique classical heights. Having begun playing when he was only six years old, Srinivas' musical aptitude was spotted by Subbaraju, a classically-trained musician and disciple of the famous musical stalwart Chembai Vaidyanata Bhagavatar. Subbaraju, not having any knowledge on how to play the mandolin, would sing Carnatic music and Srinivas would play along, thus developing his own style. Despite the critical acclaim that Srinivas has won over the world, he says modestly that he still has a long way to go. 'Where is the end to music? The more you learn, the more you want to know,' he says.
"When I started," he remembers, "I saw that only a handful of people were there, perhaps 30 at the most. They had very little idea of what was to come and this was the first time that the mandolin had ever been heard attempting the repertoire I gave. The concert lasted for four hours and, slowly, people kept coming. When the concert was over, there were 3,000 people there. For me, this was amazing."
There are a few video of U. Srinivas on YouTube. They’re worth watching.