/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": " The Genius at Nine"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

" The Genius at Nine"

April 10, 1984 in "Parvathi": The fifteen year old maestro U. Srinivas enthralls audiences
with M.S.Govindaswamy (Violin) – Tanjavur Upendran (Mridangam) – Bangalore Venkatram (Ghatam)

It was the year 2005.

"Parvathi" Ramanavami concerts honoring the memory of Sangeetha Kalanidhi T. Chowdiah were in their 35th year. Advocate Sri K. Srikantiah wanted to feature the world famous Mandolin U. Shrinivas once again, after a gap of two years. The date set was the 18th of April.

But when contacted, the maestro confessed that there was great logistical difficulty. He would be performing April 17th, just the previous day at Kolkata. And he was bound for the US concert tour just the day after on the 19th. How could he fit in the long trip to Mysuru by road within the constraints of this extremely tight schedule and come to perform at "Parvathi" ? Nevertheless, the humble genius gave his word to the elder statesman, and this is what followed.

The maestro finished the concert in Kolkata and immediately departed by a 'red-eye' flight to Chennai. As soon as he landed, he transferred at the airport terminal to the Bengaluru flight. The ever meticulous Mr. Srikantiah had arranged for a car to ferry the artistes straight from the Bengaluru airport to Mysuru while comandeering the driver that he could not stop anywhere for any reason. They barely made it in time but the concert went off as scheduled. The mammoth crowds were satiated with the heavenly music, ever the hallmark of a Mandolin Shrinivas performance. Later, as was the delightful custom at "Parvathi", dinner and post-dinner sessions of singing, chatting and Bon'homie' followed. It was 3 AM before the maestro and his entourage could leave back for Bengaluru in the same car as they had come. They reached the airport in time and bleary-eyed took the early morning flight to Chennai , just in time to board the flight to US directly. The baggage for the long trip had been packed and brought by the family to the airport.

What an astounding commitment to his music, his listeners and keenness to honour the wishes of a venerable person like Mr.Srikantiah ! This episode shows how a real prodigy-turned maestro was still connected to his music and his early beginnings, unswayed by the global adulation and the never-ending craze of his fans for his music, be it Carnatic, fusion, Jazz or the world music genres.

1994 : U.Srinivas – Mysore Nagaraj (Violin) – T.K. Murthy (Mridangam) – M.A.K. Murthy (Ghatam). Keeping an eye on his brilliant son with the 'Thalam' is father Sri. U. Satyanarayana

Born in 1969, this child star came on the scene before he was 12. He learnt under Mr. Subba Raju, a vocalist who had studied under Chembai. His musical sensibilities were honed in classicism by his teacher, but Shrinivas showed prodigious talent in playing the western instrument mandolin, and in the way he tamed it to the rigorous demands of 'gamaka-laden' Carnatic music. These are verily his own breakthroughs. Mandolin U Shrinivas blazed a brilliant trail across the Carnatic world from late '70's. So much so that even great musicians like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer were ready to acknowledge this new phenomenon.

The elderly Mr. Srikantiah felicitates the young Prodigy (also seen approving is Sangeetha Vidyanidhi , Violinist S. Mahadevappa)

Mr. Srikantiah remembers the first time Shrinivas came to Mysuru. Hardly 12 years old, he was a timid boy, clinging to his mandolin, and sitting quietly on the red carpet in a corner next to his father. Every now and then, he would touch the instrument with a prayerful gesture. He was all humility and respect to elders, a quality he has retained in spite of his phenomenal worldwide success as the 2005 episode bears testimony. Mr. Srikantiah also recalls the 1988 concert, when Shrinivas's father Sri U.Satyanarayana came over to him, asking him to make a recording as the boy was going to play 'Saramathi' that day. And what a 'piece de magnifique' !

[Excerpted from
R. Sachidananda's "Recorded Conversations with Advocate Kunigal Srikantiah" (a private collection) ]

We proudly feature that 1988 U.Shrinivas concert for your listening pleasure with Mysore Nagaraj(Violin)-Vellore Ramabhadran (Mridangam)-Bangalore Venkataram (Ghatam) .