Tribute to a mandolin great

Classical vocalist Aruna Sairam (left) and a few of India's finest classical musicians will honour the late U. Srinivas (above) at the concert tomorrow night.
Classical vocalist Aruna Sairam (above) and a few of India's finest classical musicians will honour the late U. Srinivas at the concert tomorrow night. PHOTOS: ARTE COMPASS
Classical vocalist Aruna Sairam (left) and a few of India's finest classical musicians will honour the late U. Srinivas (above) at the concert tomorrow night.
Classical vocalist Aruna Sairam and a few of India's finest classical musicians will honour the late U. Srinivas (above) at the concert tomorrow night.

The one-night show honours the late Indian virtuoso U. Srinivas

A 19-year-old bassist is the youngest performer in a tribute concert honouring the late Indian music legend U. Srinivas.

The MANdolin & Beyond, a one-night show at the Esplanade Concert Hall tomorrow, brings together some of India's finest classical musicians.

The inclusion of Mohini Dey, 19 - alongside some of India's finest classical musicians including vocalist Aruna Sairam, noted tabla player Vijay Ghate and Srinivas' brother U. Rajesh, also a mandolin player - is a nod to the young talents Srinivas encouraged in his time.

The virtuoso Indian mandolin maestro died of liver complications in 2014, at age 45.

The Kolkata-based Dey, who took up the bass when she was three and has played alongside internationally acclaimed musicians, says: "Unfortunately, I never got to play with him live in concert, but it is an honour and a pleasure to be a part of this incredible concert in Singapore."

  • BOOK IT / THE MANDOLIN & BEYOND

  • WHERE: Esplanade Concert Hall

    WHEN: Tomorrow, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $30 to $100 from Sistic. Call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg

Dey has played alongside internationally renowned musicians such as Indian tabla legend Zakir Hussain and English guitarist John McLaughlin.

Srinivasintroduced the mandolin, a Western instrument, into classical Indian Carnatic music. He performed and was loved in the East and the West.

Recognised as a music genius, his composition Mandolin Ecstasy, recorded when he was 13, became the favourite piece of Indian music of the late George Harrison, the lead guitarist of The Beatles.

Ghate, 51, who knew Srinivas personally and professionally, says: "A part of me is very sad to perform at a concert which is going to be in remembrance of U. Srinivas. I still find it hard to believe he is gone."

Ghate started sharing the stage with the mandolin whiz more than 15 years ago.

"Even at his young age, and even when he was on stage with more established performers, he stood out musically. His death has not only been the biggest loss for Indian music but also for world music."

The memorial concert is presented by Singapore-based events company Arte Compass in association with the Srinivas Institute of World Musique in Chennai, a music school started by Srinivas, who had performed in Singapore on a few occasions.

Organiser Ms Akila Iyengar, director of Arte Compass, first worked with the late musician in 2003. In 2011, when she asked him if he was open to collaborating with a Beijing-based artist for an event titled Lotus, he immediately agreed.

"What struck me about him was his readiness to explore and his openness to cross-cultural, cross-boundary experimentation," says Ms Iyengar.

She describes the tribute concert as "a special occasion" to remember "a musical genius whose life was tragically cut short".

Several of the performers at the tribute concert have shared the stage with U. Srinivas at least once.

"It is the first time this eclectic ensemble performs together in a rare musical tribute to one of their own," Ms Iyengar says.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2016, with the headline 'Tribute to a mandolin great'. Print Edition | Subscribe