Mandolin Shrinivas – Rest in Music

Call it the bane of living away from what affects one’s heart a lot. 4 months late; just found out about the passing of Mandolin Shrinivas last September (thanks to this dedication by Amit Trivedi).

My first recollection of hearing Shrinivas was during the Sunday 10AM Doordarshan’s Spirit of Unity Concerts from Madras Telugu Academy in early 90’s mostly with Shankar Mahadevan & a lot of young kids. The first I saw him live was during Remember Shakti’s winter India tour where they performed at Hyderabad’s Taramati Baradri sometime in 02/03.

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Raghu Dixit: Addicted

Heard him live a few weeks back in SF and have been addicted to his songs ever since. Nothing fancy about the writing but the sound is uniquely Indian; something I have not heard in a while.

Watch him sing some of the Kannada songs, makes you wish there were more of this kind of performers out there.

O Fortuna!

Like most out there, I seek her too.

O Fortune,
like the moon
you are changeable,
always waxing
or waning;
detestable life
now difficult
and then easy
deceive a sharp mind;
poverty
power
it melts them like ice.

Fate—monstrous
and empty,
you whirling wheel,
stand malevolent,
vain health
always dissolves,
shadowed
and veiled
you plague me too;
now through trickery,
my bare back
I bring to your villainy.

Fate, in health
and in virtue,
is now against me,
affection
and defeat
always enslaved.
So at this hour
without delay
pluck the vibrating string;
since Fate
strikes down the strong,
everyone weep with me!

Andre Rieu | Zubin Mehta

Shakti – Indian Classical Gods


For a while now I have been hooked on to the music of shakti – the band comprising of Zakhir Hussain, John Macaulay, Mandolin Srinivas, Vikkuvinaykram, Selva Ganesh and in the past the great L. Shankar. I had been fortunate once in the past to attend a concert of theirs in Hyderabad where for two hours they created magic with their art.

But for a few days now I have had a chance to introspect their music and I have begun to feel that some of their best compositions needed the most underrated of their troupe.

L.Shankar who was a part of the group that first started out way back in the 70’s had an amazing skill to render long notes of high-pitched rhythms that can seldom be matched by anyone who uses an instrument other-than Violin. Yet he always remained in the shadow whereas equally brilliant but comparatively less special Zakhir and John have taken away all the credit.

Yes, they are the initial creators of the band but the music of shakti always remained on the strings of classical instruments whose exponents over the years have not received as much recognition as the others. As is the case of Mandolin Srinivas now who still is the most underrated member of the troupe when he is the soul of the strings out there.

The best example that I can give is a recital called the Danse de Bonheur where previously it was the pace of L.Shankar that brought out the top-notch quality in that performance and now when its performed it’s the mind-blowing speed of srinivas that add’s the zing to it.

Also is the case of Vikku-Vinayakram and Selva Ganesh who when performing solo render the audience spell bound by their variety but as a part of shaki they get dominated.

Zakhir is Zakhir any day and can hold his own but any day percussion instruments are always the step cousins to the strings and so he always has to be contending to have the role of the co-performer.

John is another story who should be applauded for having mastered the classical indian art forms and ragas but I have always felt that when left on his own to play the ragas he always falls flat but because of his charm gets the day to himself.

But all said and done for a while now this is going to be a flavor in my life but it’s sad to see at times when the real performers are given a raw deal and all that glitz and glam takes away the glory!

Nice! Real Nice…

I have been a fan of Nickelback for quite sometime now but somehow missed this one. Its been a while since any lyrics have have caught on me as this one has…

Can’t help wanting it all huh?

Rockstar!

I’m through with standing in line
to clubs we’ll never get in
It’s like the bottom of the ninth
and I’m never gonna win
This life hasn’t turned out
quite the way I want it to be

I want a brand new house
on an episode of Cribs
And a bathroom I can play baseball in
And a king size tub big enough
for ten plus me

I’ll need a credit card that’s got no limit
And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
Gonna join the mile high club
At thirty-seven thousand feet

I want a new tour bus full of old guitars
My own star on Hollywood Boulevard
Somewhere between Cher and
James Dean is fine for me

I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
I’d even cut my hair and change my name

‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ‘cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s
Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleach blond hair
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

I wanna be great like Elvis without the tassels
Hire eight body guards that love to beat up assholes
Sign a couple autographs
So I can eat my meals for free

I think I’m gonna dress my ass
with the latest fashion
Get a front door key to the Playboy mansion
Gonna date a centerfold that loves to
blow my money for me

I’m gonna trade this life
For fortune and fame
I’d even cut my hair
And change my name

‘Cause we all just
wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses
driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and
the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny
‘cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s
gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
with her bleach blond hair
And we’ll hide out in the private rooms
With the latest dictionary and
today’s who’s who
They’ll get you anything
with that evil smile
Everybody’s got a
drug dealer on speed dial
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

I’m gonna sing those songs
that offend the censors
Gonna pop my pills
from a pez dispenser
When they ask why I drink all day
I’ll say because I can

I’ll get washed-up singers writing all my songs
Lip sync em every night so I don’t get ‘em wrong
Then listen to the fans tell me how damn good I am

I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
I’d even cut my hair and change my name

Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hillltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ‘cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s gonna wind up there
Every playboy bunny with her bleach blond hair
And we’ll hide out in the private rooms
With the latest dictionary and today’s who’s who
They’ll get you anything with that evil smile
Everybody’s got a drug dealer on speed dial
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar