Chennai, Sep 19, 2014: U Srinivas, the musician who popularized the Mandolin as a Carnatic musical instrument, passed away here this morning. He was 45. This comes as a shocking news for the musical fraternity. He was reported to have liver problems and was undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospital in Chennai.
Uppalu Srinivas was born on February 28, 1969, in Palakol in Andhra Pradesh. He started learning mandolin from his father, Satyanarayana Srinivas, who was astonished seeing the passion of his six year old son to learn the instrument.
U. Srinivas made his first public Carnatic concert performance in 1978 in Gudivada, Andhra Pradesh, during the Thyagaraja Aradhana festival. Soon, he came to perform in the Madras Music Season in 1981 for the Indian Fine Arts Society. In 1983, he performed at the JazzFest Berlin where the audience requested him to do a repeat performance.
He continued touring the world—Australia, Southeast Asia and then Southwest Asia, followed by the United States and Canada.
Srinivas has performed with Western artists such as John McLaughlin, Michael Brook, Trey Gunn, Nigel Kennedy, Nana Vasconcelos, and Michael Nyman, as well as with Hindustani music artists such as Hariprasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain. He has recorded a CD of Carnatic compositions by Ilaiyaraaja called Ilaiyaraaja’s Classics in Mandolin.
He was the first Indian Musician to perform at the Festival Internacional Cervantino takes place each fall in the city of Guanajuato, located in central Mexico. The Government of India recognized his contributions in the field of Carnatic music and awarded him with a Padma Shri in the year 1998. He was also awarded by India’s National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama for his contributions in the year 2009. The Tamilnadu Government honored him with the title of Asthana Vidwan in 1984.
Recently, U Shrinivas also released Samjanitha featuring Debashish Bhattacharya (Lap Steel Guitar), John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, Sivamani, Vikku Vinaykram, Dominique Piazza George Brook, U Rajesh, Anil Srinivasan and others.