Guitarist Shawn Lane and Mandolin U.Shrinivas came from two very far corners of the world. Both gentle giants, gone too soon.
I spend a lot of time with Shawn during 2002-2003 when Hellborg, Lane and Jeff Sipe did a brief reunion tour and subsequently when I travelled with him to India in 2003. During our travels, he spoke a lot about U. Shrinivas and the profound impact the mandolinist had on him. I remember we went to old record stores in Calcutta and Shawn spending hours looking for old Shrinivas recordings when he was a child. Shawn got his hands on everything he could get. I was so deeply moved with Shawn's genuine love and affection for Shrinivas.
I was also fortunate to spend about eleven years on the road with Remember Shakti. During those times, Shrinivas spoke so dearly about Shawn and his music. I let him listen to my Ipod which had some great Shawn recordings. They had played a concert together in San Diego in 2001 with Jonas Hellborg, Vikku Vinayakram and the Vinayakram brothers . After the concert, Shrinivas, all excited, called his family in India and told them that he has met someone from Memphis who had a deep knowledge of Carnatic Music and also had a profound impact on him. During the last six weeks, while I was in constant touch with Shrinivasji getting ready for the new album release, we would talk about Shawn and how he would have loved the Chingari Project.
The day Shrinivasji died last week, I spoke with drummer Jeff Sipe on the phone, we got talking about these two gentle giants, how much they both meant to us both and the world we live in.
Today is the 11th anniversary of the passing of Shawn Lane and just a week that U.Shrinivas has passed to the other dimension.I shed a lot of tears both times, like someone from my family has gone. But John McLaughlin reminded me, Tears Purify the heart, so don't hold back .
I miss both these gentle souls in my life but their music will live beyond all of our lives. But, so badly do I want to change destiny so that I can see them again together.
Memphis and Chennai can be in two parts of the world, but for me they are really next to each other.
By Souvik Dutta