Mandolin Shrinivas has often been compared to some of the world greatest prodigies.
“Some of you have heard or read about exceptionally gifted children, our own Mandolin Shrinivas, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Beethoven, Sir Isaac Newton, Picasso, Madam Curie, the list is endless” (courtesy THE HINDU, Sunday, May 3, 1992)
To Shrinivas the mandolin was his first love. He expended all his latent talent to conquer this little known alien instrument. Such was the proficiency he attained that his father soon realized that what he had on his hands was a “child prodigy” and no less ! Sparing no effort and time, he swept his son on his sail to recognition. The creative energy in Shrinivas swirled like a tidal wave around the Carnatic music world. The way critics gushed, it was hard to tell if they were talking about a child or a god! “He was hardly nine. Innocence was writ large on his face.
But the music that he produced on the little brittle mandolin was unbelievably Carnatic and classical to the core, throwing into the shade even the top instrumentalists. One had to rub one’s eyes and pinch oneself to make sure that a nine-year-old lad was performing musical miracles on the dais. He even operated on offbeat summations revealing virtuosity of a high order. That he could conceive in his mind the raga in all its grandeur and inherent niceties and transform them into musical extravaganzas had to be seen and heard to be believed ! It was clear that there was a divine force expressing itself through him in his tiny instrument”.
Shrinivas got his first big break in Gudivada in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, during the Sri Thyagaraja Aradhana festival. He was barely nine then.
The rest is musical history