preview Mandolin U. Shrinivas, Liu Yuening, Vijay Ghate and Selvaganesh will come together for ‘Lotus'

Date: November 11

Venue: The Music Academy

Time: 7.30 p.m.

T he Hindu Friday Review November Fest opens with Lotus, a concert in which Mandolin U. Shrinivas will perform with yangqin player Liu Yuening from China. The artistes will be accompanied by Vijay Ghate on the tabla and V. Selvaganesh on the kanjira. Shrinivas and Liu performed together for the first time in Singapore, where they alternated between leading and improvisational following. This concert, only their second time together, will feature solos as well as compositions created by them exclusively for the fest.

Shrinivas is a musical genius who has, over the past three decades performed across the world in prestigious festivals in Mexico, Barcelona, Asia, the United States and Canada. He has collaborated with artistes such as John McLaughlin and Michael Brook in the West and legends such as Hariprasad Chaurasia and Zakir Hussain in the East. He has been awarded the Padma Shri, Sangeeta Ratna, Mysore T. Chowdiah Memorial National Award, National Citizen's Award and Best Artist Award by the Music Academy.

Liu Yuening is professor of the Central Conservatory of Music. She serves as director of the International Research Center of Yangqin Art of CCOM, vice-president of the Chinese Yangqin Association, member of the executive committee of the Chinese Folk Instrument Association and member of the International Society for Music Education. In 2008, she founded the first Yangqin ensemble in China called JASMINE and has released more than 10 albums in China and overseas.

Pandit Vijay Ghate, who has been playing the table from the age of three, is among the rare percussionists renowned for the ability to embellish vocal, instrumental as well as dance performances. He has accompanied luminaries such as Pandit Birju Maharaj, Pandit Jasraj, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. He has also ventured into fusion music, playing with artistes from around the world. He trained under Pandit Suresh Talwalkar.

V. Selvaganesh is a leading kanjira player whose skill in percussion was practically preordained. His father is the Grammy-winning ghatam player, Vikku Vinayakaram. Selvaganesh has toured with Remember Shakti, where he played along with John McLaughlin, Zakir Hussain, U. Shrinivas and Shankar Mahadevan. He has composed albums such as Soukha, and music for the Tamil films “Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu” and “Kola Kolaya Mundhirika”.


Mandolin U. Shrinivas talks about his plans for the concert with Liu Yuening, which will bridge the ancient musical cultures of two of the fastest growing countries, India and China.

How did you meet Liu Yuening? How did the decision to collaborate come about?

Akila Iyengar from Singapore Arte Compass approached me for a performance with Prof. Liu. I agreed immediately because it sounded interesting. Besides, I had not worked with a Chinese instrumentalist. So the concert was held this year in Singapore in Esplanade, which is one of the prestigious halls in the world, and was well received. We had rehearsals and we played mostly my compositions.

What is the most significant difference and similarity in the music that you two play?

The Chinese and Indian music styles are entirely different.  Chinese music, I feel has more folk elements that sound quite similar to our ragas such as Mohanam, Suddhadhanyasi, Hindolam and Madhyamavathi.  Prof. Liu is a brilliant artiste and it was easy to establish a musical rapport with her.

How would you describe the evening you have in store for this edition of November Fest?

I'm very excited about this show and I have composed new pieces that would suit Chinese music too.