/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": September 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mandolin Srinivas – A Prodigious son of Music

In our Eternal Memories: Mandolin U. Srinivas (1969 ~ 2014)

A Tribute by Mysore Prabha

“U. Srinivas passed away” was the breaking news on TV. It was heart-breaking news for us.

Though Lalgudi Krishnan had already given us the shocking news, my mind just refused to accept the fact. How could this happen? Though we knew that he was ailing, we never doubted his recovery. But fate snatched U. Srinivas away from amidst us. To put it in renowned novelist and writer R. K. Narayan’s words, “He jumped the queue”. U. Srinivas has moved on to another world, leaving behind his prodigious, melodious, soul-stirring music for us to enjoy.

There is probably no other musician from India who attained national and international acclaim at such young age as U. Srinivas did. He was recognized as a child-prodigy when he started performing at a very young age of 8-10 years. He continued to be a prodigy even in his 40s, because, no other musician produced such wonderful music on the mandolin (the supposedly ill-suited instrument for carnatic classical music) like Srinivas did. It is to Srinivas’ credit that he has greatly popularized Indian music in western countries. He was always a crowd puller whenever and wherever he performed-in India or abroad. His music always pleased the connoisseur and the layman alike.

My family’s association with U. Srinivas dates back to 1984. It was on 10.4.84 that Srinivas first visited our home,”Parvati”, in Mysore, to perform during the annual Ramanavami music festival conducted by my father, K. Srikantiah. He was a small-built lad and I remember the shy boy sitting on the carpet with his mandolin next to him, gazing and touching his mandolin continuously, as if afraid someone would snatch it away from him. He had no eyes for anything or anyone else, and spoke only in monosyllables. The pandal next to our house and the roads surrounding it were jam-packed with music lovers waiting to listen to the highly acclaimed child-prodigy. The little boy timidly got on to the stage – and then! The audience was transported to a heavenly world of music emanating from his magical fingers! Starting then, he gave about 8 to 10 concerts for us spread over two and a half decades. Surprisingly, despite all his name, fame and glory, he was still the same, child-like, humble Srinivas when he performed for our K. Puttu Rao music festival (Inaugural concert) in 2011. Little did we know that it would be his last concert for us, and also in Mysore. It was our privilege to honour Srinivas during our Silver Jubilee year Ramanavami festival in 1994. It warmed our hearts when Srinivas said in his speech that he considered himself one in our family.

U. Srinivas has left us after leading a highly worthy life in his short life-span. He has achieved in about three decades what probably would take three births for others to achieve. The country and the Carnatic music world have lost one of its rarest gems. The Indian music world will forever be proud of its prodigious son- Mandolin Srinivas. There cannot be another Mandolin Srinivas.

My family and I pray that Lord Rama blesses Srinivas’ soul with eternal peace.

Friday, September 19, 2014



A Heart-felt Testimony by Shri R. Sachi

Life’s most stirring moments come when we are least prepared. Who can forget the wide-eyed wonder of a child witnessing the sunrise or a rainbow.. Who can explain the joy of meeting one’s beloved after a long separation. Who can explain the unbounded joy that a legendary musician gives with almost no warning?

And who can articulate the utter, desolate, loss felt by us when we heard this morning of the passing of Mandolin U. Shrinivas?

All within a short span of time, this boy wonder won millions over with his bewitching smile and bewildering mastery of an art form as complex as Carnatic music. Add to that his mastery of an instrument as foreign to India as the Mediterranean Mandolin. And we begin to appreciate the phenomenon of Mandolin U Shrinivas. As a boy of humble beginnings in an Andhra village, he came from as far away as you can imagine from the Brahmin bastion of the Carnatic Tanjavur delta. He came on the musical stage like the child Krishna strode the streets of Mathura. And everyone of us became for a moment a child full of wonderment, beholding the sunrise, or witnessing the rainbow in the sky for the first time.

Paeans have been heaped on Mandolin Shrinivas by every rasika, critic, and art patron in every genre- Carnatic, Jazz, Hindustani and World music. In a normal year, Shrinivas would traverse the continents a dozen times, and enthral audiences one day at the Music Academy, next day at Parvathi, the day after at Kala Ghoda and the next somewhere in London.

To the home called Parvathi, Shrinivas came often, like a school boy to his grandparents for summer holidays. He gave unstintingly of his brand of music which had a pristine thrill. And he would go away smiling, with the promise to return soon.

But today, he has travelled to a different plane. Bathed in tears, we can only envy the world he has gone to, because our loss is the gain of those souls in that world.

Long live the legend.

Shrinivas plays Siddivinayakam as only he can, at the age of 16 (1985)

Shrinivas speaks about his association with Parvathi (2011)

Shrinivas plays Saramathi – Mokshamu Galada (1988)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rama’s Coronation – the glory of righteousness and devotion

T. V. Sankaranarayanan Ramanavami concert, 1991

An Appreciation by Shri R. Sachi

In this excellent concert, held more than 23 years ago, Vid. T. V. Sankaranarayanan gives a very classical recital in his energetic style with fitting accompaniment.

After presenting many great pieces, he sings this traditional shloka in a Ragamalika:

Vaidehi-sahitam suradrumatale haimE mahaa-mantapE
madhyE pushpakam-aasanE maNimayE veeraasanE susthitam|
agrE vaacayati prabhanjanasute tattvam munibhyah param
vyaakhyaantam bharataadibhih parivritam raamam bhaje Syaamalam ||

MEANING: I bow down to Lord Rama, the dark-coloured one, who is seated in a heroic posture along with his consort Sita, who hails from the kingdom of Videha, beneath the heavenly Parijata tree, under a golden canopy, on a flower bedecked gem-studded throne.

With Hanuman, the wise one, seated in front, Rama interprets the lofty scriptures to the sages present, while the sole subject extolled by the scriptures, the divinity incarnate Rama himself is resplendent, surrounded by his virtuous brother Bharata and others.

This shloka holds in its brief discourse all the essence of what Rama and Ramayana stands for. After he won the hand of Sita, the divine daughter of the enlightened king (Rajarshi) Janaka, Rama obeyed his father’s order (handed out under Kaikeyi’s duress) and spent fourteen long years in the forest. During that time, he played his regal role of upholding righteousness and protecting the good souls. He liberated, with the help of Sugriva’s army, Sita from the evil kingdom of Ravana and returned to Ayodhya. His virtuous brother, Bharata, lay in waiting, having served as his designate all these years, just to see Rama established on the throne. At the coronation of Rama, many sages gathered, along with that great hero among devotees, Hanuman, and Rama found the occasion to be appropriate to expound the scriptures to those present. The scene was truly a sight for the gods.

We can observe how the poet has woven in the virtues so many great characters in Ramayana as well as so many beautiful aspects of that moment of coronation. This was the high point in India’s celebrated ancient epic poem, Ramayana.

Saint Thyagaraja worshipped the Rama Pattabhisheka idols all his life. The great composer Muthuswami Dikshitar is stated to have composed his Manirangu masterpiece “Mamava Pattabhirama” when he visited Thyagaraja and witnessed his worship of those Pattabhisheka idols.

The themes of righteousness and devotion form the core subject of Carnatic musical compositions. The home of Parvathi has worshipped Lord Rama in his Pattabhisheka form under a Parijata tree for decades and served the cause of Carnatic music with devotion. This presentation of Vidwan T.V. Sankaranayaranan, with excellent accompaniment by vidwans Mysore Nagaraj and Harikumar, is another gem in Parvathi’s offering to rasikas.

Concert Details

T.V. Sankaranarayanan-------vocal
Mysore Nagaraj------------------violin
Hari Kumar------------------------Mridangam
on 24-3-91 during Ramanavami festival at Parvathi.

01 Vigneshwara-Arabhi-Tulasivanam*** 02 Rara mayintidaka-Asaveri-Thyagaraja*** 03 Pantuvarali Raga*** 04 Appa Rama bhakti-Pantuvarali-Thyagaraja*** 05 Kharaharapriya Raga*** 06 Rama neeyada-KHP-Thyagaraja*** 07 Sloka(Ragamalika)-Mangalam***