Electric Mandolin Maestro U. Srinivas died at the age of 45

Electric Mandolin Maestro U. Srinivas
Electric Mandolin Maestro U. Srinivas
Electric Mandolin Maestro U. Srinivas
Maestro U. Srinivas

The untimely death of ‘Mandolin’ U Srinivas has shocked the music world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other eminent leaders and personalities expressed their grief over the irreparable loss.

Mandolin player Uppalapu Srinivas popularly known as Mandolin Srinivas was the player and composer of the Carnatic music. He died on Friday in Chennai following a liver failure. He had undergone a liver transplant. Though recovering but complications arose on September 18 and he died on September 19 at Apollo Hospital, Chennai.

U Srinivas who was born on 28 February 1969 in Palakol in Andhra Pradesh started learning mandolin from his father U Satyanarayana at a tender age of six. U Srinivas at the age of seven was introduced to western music by Guitarist Vasu Rao. At the age of nine he made his debut by performing at concert during the Thyagaraja Aradhana festival at Gudivada in Andhra Pradesh where he stunned everybody with his hold over the instrument. He for the first time used electric mandolin in Carnatic music and became first musician to do so. He was also collaborated with John McLaughlin, Michael Nyman, and Michael Brook.

At a young age of 29 he was awarded the Padma Shri in 1998 and in 2009 he was honored with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. He was also the recipient of many awards like Sangeet Ratna, Sanatan Sangeet Puraskar from Sangeet Sanskriti, Mysore T. Chowdiah Memorial National Award, Rajiv Gandhi National Integration Award and many more.

U Srinivas introduced this happy, high frequency instrument to sober and deep toned Karnatak music. Critics believed that the mandolin instrument was meant for fast-paced musical language but U Srinivas’s hold over the instrument was so strong that they could not say anything more than this.

Though in 1940s the mandolin music was used in Indian music by the Raj Kapoor Studios in movies like Barsaat, but acceptance of mandolin in Carnatic music and that too an electric instrument is quite new. The credit goes to U. Srinivas who made this version of the mandolin extraordinary favorite. He also made changes in the electric western instrument by using just five strings instead of eight to match it with the Carnatic pitch and raga system. Though no accepted initially but later on he was acclaimed for doing so. His mastery over the instrument gave him the name Mandolin Srinivas.

Music world will always remember him and cherish his music.