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Thread: U Srinivas on tour

  1. #1
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    "Mandolin Shrinivas," the artist formerly known as U Srinivas, and his brother U Rajesh are touring the United States, giving concerts of Carnatic ragas on twin electric mandolins, accompanied by violin and percussion.

    Frustratingly enough, there doesn't seem to be a single, central Web site where one can look up all the tour dates. They played Austin on Friday night; I think there are some East Coast dates coming up next (e.g., Boston & Philly). But you sort of have to poke around to see whether the tour is coming to a city near you.

    I found the Seattle and Portland gigs (June 4 & 6, respectively) here:

    http://www.rasika.org/

    Might try to make the Seattle gig. Would love to see a review from anyone who's caught a show on this tour.

    Disclaimer: I know bugger-all about Carnatic music and would have to enjoy such a concert purely on an aesthetic level.
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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    You have heard the music, though, right? If you haven't give me a PM and we can work something out..

    BTW it's evidently common practice for Indian musicians to take on the name of their instrument as kind of a "stage name" - it's not as stuck-up as it might sound. His website though...

    OTOH, he needs a few more years before he can be called a Maestro.

  3. #3
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    "Mandolin Shrinivas has often been compared to some of the world's greatest prodigies like#Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Beethoven, Sir Isaac Newton, Picasso, Madam Curie, ... "

    Hmmmm.......

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    In this case, however, he really is great...
    http://www.sojournerrecords.net
    Check out the Michael Lampert Schwab Mandolin

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    I've heard the "Dream" CD with Michael Brook. Would like to get my hands on "Dawn Raga" sometime.

    I believe Spruce saw him with Remember Shakti, no?
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    Is there a "talent" knob? taboot's Avatar
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    I'm *there* for the Portland date, it's a bike ride from my house... I'll be sure and post a review, to the best of my ability. I love North and South Indian music, although my ear isn't as tuned to the qualitative differences as some... Thanks for the heads up!

    Taboot, Taboot,

    Christian
    Christian McKee

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    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    "I believe Spruce saw him with Remember Shakti, no?"

    Yep...
    As much as I like John McLaughlin and Shakti, I'd really like to see him play his own stuff...
    I might try to make it down to Seattle for that one...

    Love to see a mando player who compares with Madam Curie...

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    Anyone know where to find any other tour dates? Hoping he comes to Chicago...
    Forget with the cowbell, already...

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by
    His website though...
    OTOH, he needs a few more years before he can be called a Maestro.
    He had a quote on his site some months ago that said, "When experts heard Shrinvas play, they wondered if they were listening to just a prodigy, or a god..." I don't care how great his playing is, it is still eclipsed by his ego.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    I'd be surprised if Srinivas himself is responsible for what's said on that Web site. Just because he attracts sycophants doesn't make him egotistical. Besides, isn't the music supposed to be an act of pure religious devotion (for the player, if not the listener), devoid of self-interest?
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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (mikeomando @ May 24 2004, 23:16)
    Anyone know where to find any other tour dates? #Hoping he comes to Chicago...
    Ouch! Looks like he was there May 16.

    Toronto's on the 28th...
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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by
    I'd be surprised if Srinivas himself is responsible for what's said on that Web site.
    It's his website. Either he is responsible for it or he is irresponsble.

    Quote Originally Posted by
    Besides, isn't the music supposed to be an act of pure religious devotion (for the player, if not the listener), devoid of self-interest?
    '
    Say what? Give me a #######' break!




  13. #13
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Hey, Johnny, that's what I understand about the way Hindu musicians practice Carnatic music. (I'm obviously not talking about all music in general.) There are also some obvious cultural differences here with respect to the sort of hyperbolic claims that can be made on a Web site. I'm not saying I agree with it all, but it seems pointless to judge the fellow using Western standards.
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    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Amen! Er, um, yeah.

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    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by
    it seems pointless to judge the fellow using Western standards
    Well, I hear you, but I spent several years studying aspects of Hindu philosphy (I was going through a phase, let's not go there, LOL!) and I met some folks with some really big egos, but what I see on the site it does not jive with anything in my experience. So I thought, well, let's find a comparison. So I visited Ravi Shankar's site and his daughter's site (she is a heck of a player also and not that far off in age from Shrivnas). There was not a hint of that kind of self-puffery on either of those sites. Also, the Shrivnas site is in English, so it is obviously intended for our ears. Furthermore, the site is pretty sophisticated site, almost artistic, in all other respects. The sites I have seen directed at the Hindu culture tend to be in Hindi and tend to to be very cluttered and commercial, not what we would think of as sophisticated in terms of content. Just MHO.

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    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    This sounds familiar -- has this comparison been made before? It would appear, then, that Ravi Shankar is a lot more savvy about how to promote himself to Western audiences (or at least his "people" are more savvy). There's no doubt that the Srinivas site is trying to hit a Western audience (hence the references to Beethoven, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie et al.), but it seems to be doing so with a transliterated, culturally inappropriate approach that's missing the mark in some respects. I just get the impression that Srinivas himself doesn't care one way or the other.

    And one man's "sophisticated" is another's "annoying" -- I'm not a real big fan of content that's captive to whiz-bang Flash windows. Flash is like a kid with progeria -- it gets old really quick.



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    Is there a "talent" knob? taboot's Avatar
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    I'm tending to agree with mrmando on this one, I think that he (or whoever is promoting him) is trying real hard, but doesn't have the resources or cultural capital to do it in a way that will really be effective in a western context. Reading his website gives me the same feeling that I get from reading a technological manual that's been translated literally from the original Japanese, if that makes sense. You know, like when they say that the bass boost on your mini-disc player is useful for "swirling the music in your head."

    In any event, I have yet to hear this fellow, and I'll withhold judgement until I see him play.

    Taboot, Taboot,

    Christian
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  18. #18
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by (taboot @ May 25 2004, 15:50)
    You know, like when they say that the bass boost on your mini-disc player is useful for "swirling the music in your head."
    My favorite quote was the one about emandos having more "sustenance" than acoustic ones.. Talk about "Lost in Translation."

    Quote Originally Posted by (taboot @ May 25 2004, 15:50)
    In any event, I have yet to hear this fellow, and I'll withhold judgement until I see him play.

    Christian
    I'm sure we're all speaking with tongues firmly in cheek here.. This is just music, after all.. Can you imagine what Indians on "Carnaticmandolincafe.net" would say about Big Mon? Or Jimmy Martin? Or Grisman?

    "Aiiiieeee! No sustenance!!" LOL

    In any event, Srinivas is good. Lightning fast, with incredibly intricate phrasing and rhythm. But it IS a different, non-Western form of music. Don't expect bluegrass, and don't expect him to "sound" like a mandolin. It sounds like what it is, a 5 string short-scale electric instrument that is NOT tuned in fifths. (In other words, it sounds like an alternate-tuned electric guitar)

    I agree with Bruce that I'd love to see Srinivas live doing "real" carnatic music instead of the fusion of Remember Shakti.. After seeing that VCD of Srinivas and his brother, SEEING him as he plays is as interesting as HEARING him on record. Anyone know if the tour is hitting So Cal?

  19. #19
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Couldn't find any California dates.

    Boston has already happened (May 14).

    Here's Raleigh, NC on May 29:
    http://www.cvnc.org/Calendar.html

    If you find any other dates, post 'em here.
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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  20. #20
    Is there a "talent" knob? taboot's Avatar
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    I love Indian music, and wouldn't expect it to be at all like bluegrass (which I tend to find grating,) and I'm always excited to hear the mandolin going different places. I've never really had the guts to work with alternate tunings, though I'm starting to get really interested in it. Psyched to hear how another player works it...

    Taboot, Taboot,

    Christian
    Christian McKee

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  21. #21
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    ..."and wouldn't expect it to be at all like bluegrass (which I tend to find grating,)"

    Isn't it supposed to be??

  22. #22
    Is there a "talent" knob? taboot's Avatar
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    Hah! LOL!

    Christian
    Christian McKee

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  23. #23
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Tonight's Seattle show was fantastic, even for a Westerner like me. Rajesh and Srinivas are both accomplished players, but Srinivas gets better tone and is the more fiery improviser. The boys' technique is out of this world, and I don't think I've ever heard two mandolinists play more perfectly in time with each other. Sounded like one instrument, even on the tricky ornaments (I don't know the correct term) that are one of the hallmarks of Indian music. I can't tell you the names of the ragas or compositions, but there was plenty of variety in tempo and feel, so I didn't get bored even though I didn't know what was going on. I was impressed with the mridangam (tuned drum) players as well; the violinist was fine but at something of a disadvantage because he was only mic'd, not plugged in. Met Srinivas after the gig, very approachable, nice guy. He even promised to check out emando.com. I didn't see Bruce there.

    Anyhow, if you're up for something a little different, try and catch one of these gigs (Portland is the only one left that I know about for sure).
    Emando.com: More than you wanted to know about electric mandolins.

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    Srinivas- one of my favorite musicians in the world!
    John McGann, Associate Professor, Berklee College of Music
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    Portland was, indeed, the last show of the tour (they mentioned that at the show).

    Truly stunning, even for one (such as I), with very little familiarity with Indian music....

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