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Prodigy, Mandolin Srinivas enthralls

The music lovers of Vijayawada were treated to a rare feast on Tuesday by that reputed prodigy, Mandolin Srinivas, who started into the world of music in his eighth year. On the occasion of the 20th annual celebrations of Sri Sadguru Sangeetha Sabha, he was honoured with the title, ‘Sangeetha Vidwanmani’. As he was coming here after more than two decades, the spacious Ghantasala Government Music College premises, was fully packed with his admirers.
Well-known musicologist, Vidwan T S Ramachandra Rao, presented him with Vedic chanting, the coveted title. We hear people using the word ‘prodigy’ very literally on all those who reveal their talent in any field at a very young age. But, there are only a few to whom this applies very aptly and Mandolin Srinivas is undoubtedly one of them and the other person whose very name spells intensely is our Mangalampalli Bala Murali Krishna.
‘Sruti’, a premier magazine for the performing arts, is a class by itself in the genre of such magazines, founded by a connoisseur of music with fastidious taste, Dr N Pattabhiram, mentioned in its first issue of October, 1983, that in the galaxy of musicians, a feel could be picked up for this application of prodigy and they were Palghati Mani, Mali, Bala Murali, Balachander, Gayatri and Ravikiran.
In that issue, featured a very eloquent tribute to the young Srinivas titled, “Arc of Triumph – a prodigy at play,” when he was just 13. Master Srinivas, as the prefix implies, is just a young lad – his mandolin is toy-like. But, place the lute in his hands and what we hear is really not a child at play, though it is that in one sense, but a little master making marvelous music as if it is child’s play – A prodigy at play.” In the article by Sarojini Parameswaran, there is an interesting analysis of this phenomenon.
His philosophy with its emphasis on reincarnation, is claimed by some to offer a different explanation: that the talent shown by a person in a particular field is the fruit of good deeds done, on a high degree of learning achieved in an earlier birth which has manifested itself early in life.”
When the great vocalist Dwaram Venkataswami Naidu passed away someone, in a very thought-provoking article, wondered what would happen to all that experience? Would it end with him or come back in another life? Could be, if not idle fancy, his soul entered the young child Srinivas and for that reason, perhaps he almost started as if he had been trained for a long time. When Yehudi Mennahi, world-renowned violin maestro, came to India for giving benefit performances for Prime Ministers Relief Fund at the invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru, he gave a concert in Madras Music Theatre.
After that, Dwaram was invited to Raj Bhavan, where he was staying, to play on the violin before him. He was so mesmerised with that, he walked up to him, touched his hand and kissed his fingers. When it was widely reported, it was literally news for his innumerable admirers. Mandolin, like violin, is an instrument for western music and both Naidu grew then and Srinivas now have brought them to us and won international recognition.
The highest appreciation for Srinivas came from a very learned critic long ago when he was making a mark in the music world. Subbudu was a name to reckon with for a long time for his very unbiased and critical analysis of Carnatic music concerts, when he was present at any concert, even the talent of the musicians, used to feel nervous as he was a ‘great’ authority.
When he first attended Mandolin concert of Srinivas during December Music session in Madras, he was thrilled. At each concert he attended subsequently, he had no words to show his praise on the young land. Then, in an article in the Indian Express, for which he was covering the Srinivas performances, he referred to a particular raga which Srinivas elaborated and said that if any of the top musicians holding that fast in Madras, the Mecca of Carnatic Music, could expect that, he would walk in the streets of Madras with a clean tonsure of head. It created a sensation among the top musicians but none has the tenacity.
After listening to one of the concerts of Srinivas, Nedunuri Krishna Murthy, who was conferred ‘Sangita Kala Nidhi’ by Madras Music Academy, said that Carnatic music has been taken away to Andhra from Madras. The scintillating mandolin concert by Srinivas, ably assisted by Mahadev Lakshminarayana Raju on Mrudangam, K V Krishna on Violin and S Hanumantha Rao on Shalan, was received with great ovation by the discerning listeners. B V S Prakash, chairman and Popuri Gowrinath, secretary, a reputed musician himself, deserve a word of appreciation for this excellent opportunity for the ‘admirers’ of one and only Mandolin Srinivas.
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