Carnatic world mourns as mandolin pioneer U Srinivas dies in Chennai

Carnatic music great and a pioneer in the use of the mandolin in Indian classical music, U Srinivas who was also known as 'Mandolin Srinivas' passed away at the age of 45 in a Chennai hospital.

The cause of his death was not immediately known though reports suggested he had undergone a liver transplant after which his condition had deteriorated.

Born in Palakol, Andhra Pradesh on 28 February 1969 Srinivas was a child prodigy who took up the instrument at the age of five after attending a function with his father where someone was playing it.

"I saw someone playing mandolin film music and was thrilled by the sound of the instrument," the introverted musician said in a rare interview.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Srinivas said he asked for the mandolin and his father, who also studied classical music, immediately got him a new one.

The young musician made his first public appearance at the age of nine and was the first to use the mandolin to in Carnatic music, despite skepticism over the use of the instrument for that school of music.

Srinivas said that he always believed that the mandolin had a lot of scope to play classical music.

"I started with accoustic mandolin and then took up electric mandolin because listeners can hear long notes very clearly," he said.

Recorded extensively in his youth, Srinivas has also played with Indian greats artists such as Hariprasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain, while also collaborating with world music greats like John McLaughlin, Michael Brook, Trey Gunn, Nigel Kennedy, Nana Vasconcelos, and Michael Nyman.

Touring across the world, Srinivas is the recepient of the Padma Shri, Rajiv Gandhi National Integration and Sangeet Ratna awards and even has a music school called the Srinivas Institute of World Music.

Despite his global acclaim, the musician last made headlines for an acrimonious divorce with the Supreme Court upholding his divorce, after saying he had suffered mental cruelty from his ex-wife. However it asked him to pay her Rs 50 lakh as a divorce settlement.

However, his musical prowess remained unquestioned and the best he could explain his mesmerising concerts was by saying, "Before every concert I pray at least half an hour that the concert should be good and that I should get more imagination in my music."

The Indian music industry was expectedly shocked by the news and here are some tweets:

Updated Date: Sep 19, 2014 13:16 PM