Upalappu Srivinas, also known as "Mandolin Shrinivas," plays Carnatic music (the classical music of South India) on the electric mandolin. No kidding. For video and sound clips, visit his kickin' new Web site. And here's a brief paper he wrote on the history of the mandolin. But in case you were wondering: His first mandolin belonged to his father, a clarinetist. At some point in his boyhood, he acquired the first of the odd-shaped redburst mandolins for which he's become famous. That instrument had the standard eight tuners; later he either had the headstock cut down or had a new instrument made with only six. It's hard to say how many such mandolins he's owned, but they are custom-made for him. He uses only five strings, and tunes to CGCGC. Copies of it are available in India, and several other Indian mandolin players have used instruments just like it. These would include Suresh Kumar, Raghavendra, and Srinivas' own brother, U Rajesh.
Srinivas has toured extensively in the United States, both in a duo with his brother and with John McLaughlin's Carnatic/jazz fusion ensemble Remember Shakti. You can order Srinivas' recordings here (there are a couple of dozen to choose from), or listen to clips here. And there are several videos to choose from: