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in memory of the indian mandolin player

u. srinivas

U. Srinivas mandolin

John Mclaughlin guitar

Uppalapu Srinivas (28th February 1969 – 19th September 2014)

was an Indian mandolin player and composer. Because he was a child prodigy, he was sometimes called the Mozart of classical Indian music.

At the age of five, he picked up his father U. Satyanarayana's mandolin, after he heard it being played at a concert he attended with his father.

Upon realizing the talent of his son, his father, who had studied classical music, bought him a new mandolin and started teaching him.  Guitarist Vasu Rao, introduced seven-year-old Srinivas to western music in 1976.


He made his debut public Carnatic concert performance in 1978 during the Thyagaraja Aradhana festival at Gudivada in Andhra Pradesh. Thereafter, at age 11, in 1981, he gave his first public concert in Chennai at the Indian Fine Arts Society during the December Music Season.


Srinivas performed at age thirteen at the Berlin Jazz Festival.

Initially booked to play a half-hour concert after Miles Davis, Srinivas won a standing ovation, and had to play for another hour.


Guitarist John McLaughlin first heard a tape of this concert by the thirteen-year-old prodigy and was left very impressed.

McLaughlin asked Srinivas to join the group and tour the world with it, along with other Indian musicians Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, and V. Selvaganesh. Srinivaswas a leading player of the group.

He played the mandolin in the Mclaughlin album 'Floating Point' which received a Grammy nomination in the Best Contemporary Jazz Album Category in 2008.


Srinivas toured extensively across the world, in his own right - he played in Australia, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and extensively and frequently across the United States and Canada.


Srinivas was undergoing treatment for a liver condition and had undergone a liver transplant on 11th September 2014.

While recovering, he died at Apollo Hospital on 19th September 2014 after experiencing complications.

Partial Discography

Over the years, Srinivas recorded over 137 albums, in diverse genres from Carnatic music solos to jugalbandis with Hindustani musicians, and world music.




  1. Mandolin - Master U. Srinivas (Magnasound, 1986)

  2. Mandolin Ecstasy (Oriental, 1986)

  3. Magic Mandolin (Chhanda Dhara, 1989)

  4. Music on Mandolin (Super Cassette, 1990)

  5. Double Mandolin (The Master Company, 1991)

  6. Modern Mandolin Maestro (GlobeStyle, 1991)

  7. Trio Mandolin (Koel, 1992)

  8. Mandolin Duets (EMI, 1994)

  9. Prodigy (Koel, 1994)

  10. Rama Sreerama (Real World Records, 1994)

  11. Dream, with Michael Brook (Real World/Virgin/EMI, 1995)

  12. Dawn Raga (Womad, 1996)

  13. Marvels on Mandolin (Magnasound, 1996)

  14. Mandolin (Geethanjali, 1998)

  15. Mystic Raptures (Music Today, 2000)

  16. Remember Shakti: The Believer (Verve/Universal, 2000)

  17. Mandolin Magic (Dunya, 2001)

  18. Gamanashrama (Charsur, 2003)

  19. Sangam: Michael Nyman Meets Indian Masters (WEA, 2003)

  20. Om Nama Shivaya (Sea, 2004)

  21. Five Star (Saregama 2004)

  22. Mandolin Melodies: South Indian Classical Music (Felmay, 2005)

  23. Ragasangamam (Music Today, 2006)

  24. Sahavaadhan (Living 2006)

  25. Samjanitha (Dreyfus Records, 2008)

  26. Chinnanchiru Kiliye (Music Today, 2011)

  27. Sangeet Santaj Vol. 1 & 2 (Music Today, 2011)

  28. Ru-Ba-Ru: A Unique Confluence of Sarangi & Mandolin (Music Today, 2011)

  29. Dikshitar Masterpieces (Music Today, 2011)

  30. Mokshamugalada

  31. Nadasudharasa

  32. Double Mandolin

  33. Meenakshi Memudam

  34. Pancharatna Kritis –Trio Mandolin

  35. Magnetic Mandolin

  36. Naada Brahmaanandam (Double Mandolin)

  37. Naanu Palimpa

  38. Vaathapi on Mandolin

  39. Endaro Mahanubhavulu

  40. Enduko Dayaradura

  41. Gaana Sampoornam

  42. Mandolin Ganamrutham

His gifted younger brother, U. Rajesh  studied with Srinivas for some 27 years and is also an accomplished mandolin player who often accompanied him at concerts during the last 20 years of his life.


Srinivas and Rajesh have together composed music as well, and, besides Carnatic music, they have extensively worked on the fusion of Carnatic and western music.

They also played with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, with french electric bass player Dominique Di Piazza, pianist Anil Srinivasan and Stephen Devassy, a pianist from Kerala. In 2008, they collaborated again with John Mclaughlin for the album Samjanitha.


Srinivas' Mandolin

Srinivas' first mandolin was a 'standard' Western mandolin; however, he made modifications to suit his playing style over the course of his musical career.

Srinivas started out on the acoustic mandolin, but neither the size nor plucking required of the acoustic mandolin was suited for long, sustained notes.

He then switched to the electric mandolin, which was better suited for sustained notes and musical ornamentations.

He was the first musician to use the electric mandolin in Carnatic music.


Unlike a typical mandolin's eight strings, tuned to GG-DD-AA-EE, Srinivas generally used only five strings tuned to CGCGC.

Copies of this style of mandolin are available in India, and several other Indian mandolin players have used instruments just like it (including his brother, U. Rajesh). The design and its specific string combinations are patented in India and USA.