Mandolin Srinivas @ Odukkathur Mutt, Bangalore

Mandolin U. Srinivas performed to a packed and overflowing auditorium at the Odukathur Mutt in Bangalore yesterday. He was ably accompanied by Sri S.D. Sridharan on the violin, Trichy Sri B. Harikumar on the mridangam and Sri S.V. Ramani on the ghatam. In the 3 hour concert, Sri U.Srinivas once again showed why he is rightly acclaimed as a child prodigy and why he is still one of the best instrumentalists around. If I were asked to choose one aspect of the concert that I would remember for a long time to come, it would be the beautiful way in which he played the compositions. It was almost as though a very good singer was sitting on stage and singing the compositions. This kutcheri was a very good example of how learning vocal or at least knowing the sahitya of the song can help an instrumentalist. The songs dEvAdidEva (sunAdavinOdini) and himagiritanayE (sudha danyAsi) played in the concert were very good examples of the same.

Another good part about the concert, which is generally missing from most other carnatic music concerts, was the artist’s interaction with the audience. Sri U. Srinivas announced details of the composition he would be playing next, almost before every song. If not at the beginning, artists should at least make such announcements at the end of each song, especially in instrumental concerts where recognizing what song is being played might be a bit difficult at times for many people. This will also help the artists connect well with the audience.

Sri Harikumar and Sri Ramani provided quality percussion accompaniment, the highlight being the 15 minute odd taniavartanam. Another very good aspect of Sri Harikumar’s mridangam accompaniment was the effective use of “ghumukhis“. I think after Sri Trichy Sankaran, this is the first time I am seeing any other artist use it so beautifully in a concert.

The list of songs played is as follows:

1) nI dayarAda (varnam) – AndOlika – Adi – g.n. bAlasubramaniam

2) srI ganapathini – sOwrAshtram – Adi – thyAgarAja

3) dEvAdi dEva – sunAdavinOdini – Adi – mysore vAsudEvachAr

4) entarAnI – harikAmbOji – Adi – thyAgarAja

5) dEva dEva – mAyAmAlavagOwla – rUpakam – swAti tirunAl

6) himagiri tanayE – sudha danyAsi – Adi – harikEsanallUr muthiAh bhAgavathar

7) idi nyAyamA – mAlavi – Adi – pattanam subramanya iyer

8) bAlagOpAla – bhAiravi – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

9) govindA ninna – janasammOdhini – Adi – purandaradAsa

10) thIrAda vilayAttu – rAgamAlika – Adi – subramanya bhArati

11) gOvinda – Ahir bhAirav (?) – Adi – sAi bhajan

12) bArO krishnaiyyA – rAgamAlika – Adi – kanakadAsa

13) chandrasEkharA – sindhu bhairavi – Adi – pApanAsam sivan

14) thillAna – misra sivaranjani – Adi – lAlgudi g. jayarAman

15) pavamAna – sOwrAshtram – Adi – thyAgarAja

Today’s concert at the Odukkathur Mutt is by one of my favorite singers Sri T.M. Krishna. The schedule of the concert series is available here.

7 thoughts on “Mandolin Srinivas @ Odukkathur Mutt, Bangalore

  1. I think, comparing to his other concerts (even the one in 2004 at the very same Odakathoor Mutt), this one seemed to lack the ‘energy’.

    He started off fast and towards the end the overall speed of the concert went down. Generally he starts off slow and starts the speed.

    However, his main piece, “Gopalabalam” in Bhairavi, totally rocked.

    btw, its “gOvinda bOlO”. Not “gOvinda mOmu”. The raga is Misra Ahir Bhairavi, he said. Though I thought it was only Ahir Bhairavi. I might be wrong.

  2. Suraj,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I did not attend his 2004 concert at Odukkathur Mutt, hence cannot compare the two concerts. The reasons I can think of for the overall speed of the songs reducing towards the end and the “lack of energy” that you refer to are as follows:
    1) The main piece “bAlagOpala” is actually a slow song. To add to it, the organizer spoke at length just before the song about the various initiatives his organization has taken which actually seemed to apply a brake to the well paced concert.
    2) Of the songs rendered after the main bhairavi kriti, 2-3 were requests from the audience, which meant that Srinivas couldn’t do much w.r.t the speed of the songs.
    3) IMHO, playing songs that are slow might not indicate a lack of energy. Agreed that when he was a youngster, Srinivas used to play a lot of fast paced songs. But a concert is not all about just such kind of songs.

    Regarding the composition “gOvinda”, I have heard him announce the name in one more concert of his and he announced it as gOvinda mOmu gOpala mOmu there. However I might have heard it wrongly. So I am cutting down the name of the song from “gOvinda mOmu” to “gOvinda” in the post till the song name gets clarified.


  3. I too heard govinda momu only.

    Very good review for all the concerts. It is amazing to see how you are able to set time aside and attend lot of concerts.


  4. Regarding the speed, What I want to convey is the total opposite. 🙂 I think the sound system sucked and I couldn’t hear some of the subtleties. Or maybe I’m going deaf … 😉

    I think Shrinivas is one of the few who can keep the content rich inspite of being fast (generally people seem to run out of ‘juice’ when they render fast) The complexity of the phrases + the speed is what amazes me!

  5. It’s good to hear that he has slowed down. Last time I heard him at the Academy, each song was played as if he was getting late for a train. Also, I don’t like his brother’s playing a lot. He seems to totally run out of ideas sometimes.

  6. U.Shrinivasji is one of my favourite instrumentalists. I used to listen to him every time at Sree Rama seva mandali,Bangalore. I have also come to odakathur mutt some time back. He is really ultimate. His fingering techniques,gamaka playing style etc is simply amazing. He simply talks to mandolin and make it sing.
    I have quite recently attended his concert in Mangalore organised by Karnataka bank,Mangalore. It was a superb concert though he played quite old kritis. Even,Rajesh also shown quite a lot of maturity. He also plays mandolin quite well.

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