The Magical Fingers

The Mandolin Brothers

Famed musicians who convinced the purists of the Carnatic Classical World

The Mandolin Maestros

U Shrinivas
U Rajesh

Five Strings And A Mission

Mandolin Brothers

U Shrivinas
U Rajesh

The best thing that you can do for your Guru is what is ultimately best for yourself.

U Shrivinas and U Rajesh, famed as the Indian Mandolin Brothers, were born to U. Satyanarayana, the clarinet player and Kantham, at Palakol, West Godavari district in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

U Shrinivas, popularly known as Mandolin Shrinivas, the child prodigy, was born on 28 February 1969. He showed an uncanny interest in his father Sathyanarayana's mandolin at a very young age. Young Shrinivas, however, was attracted by mandolin used by his father’s friend in recording studios. He started off playing the acoustic mandolin, but he later switched to the electric mandolin as he felt it allowed the playing of lengthy, sustained notes - the quintessential component in classical Indian music - in addition to making them clearly audible.

He quickly mastered it and his skills were further honed by Rudraraju Subbaraju, a student of late Chembai Vaidhyanatha Bhagavathar. U. Shrinivas made his first public Carnatic concert performance in 1978 in Gudivada, Andhra Pradesh, during the Thyagaraja Aradhana festival and since then there was no looking back. Soon, at the age of 12, 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.

As a child prodigy, a permanent smile on his face and with joy apparent while playing his instrument, he created waves in the Carnatic music world. Known for having adapted a difficult electric western instrument to the Carnatic stage with awe-inspiring success, Shrinivas impressed pundits and lay listeners alike. The child prodigy, whose name was synonymous with the instrument he loved, won the hearts of people across the world.

He was the first musician to use the electric mandolin in Carnatic music: he modified the electric western instrument, using five single strings instead of the traditional four doubled strings to suit the Carnatic pitch, raga system, and especially gamakas, or nuanced oscillations.

He was a virtuoso Indian Mandolin Maestro and Composer and regarded as the Mozart of Classical Indian Music. Receiving thunderous applause and appreciation wherever he performed in the world, he became synonymous with the mandolin. Shrinivas is a trailblazer and pioneer, who introduced and adopted an unlikely western instrument, the mandolin, and made it suitable for performing in the rigorous Carnatic style of music.

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