The Mandolin is essentially a staccato instrument, totally devoid of gamakka. That makes it almost alien to Carnatic needs. But that is all forgotten once you listen to Mandolin U. Shrinivas. What remains in the mind is music of the finest vintage.
The list of awards conferred on him is endless. And he is easily the most sought after artist. Between inhaling and exhaling, he gives a performance. It is also striking to note that he has none of the trappings of a star about him. Shy, silent, and reticent, he is rarely in the public eye, except on the podium.
Asked about his genius, he attributes it to God’s grace. Behind this unassuming, humble boy lies the artist that comes once in an era. You may not be fond of Carnatic Music, but you can still not ignore Mandolin U. Shrinivas. You may look on him as a kind of Haley’s Comet; a phenomenon if not an artist. Such is the spell he has cast on audiences, that there is invariably the residual close-circuit audience outside each hall. And he has travelled abroad innumerable times.
He is already one of the all-time greats. And he attributes it all to fate. It just cannot be. Fate did not make a U. Shrinivas – fate just laid a child’s hand accidentally on a discarded Mandolin.