Dr. Gopalnath (1949 – 2019) is an explosion of talent in the world of music – he picked up a purely western instrument when he was 15 and applied it to Carnatic music, expanding the scope of the instrument and the possibilities of the genre. From working as a sales man to becoming a genre-defying musician of great renown, Gopalnath’s story has humble beginnings and gets as inspiring as it can.
In this concert from the Darbar Festival 2011, Dr. Gopalnath offers a deluge of beautiful ragas and compositions – Hamsadhwani, Kalyanavasantham, Kathanakuthuhalam, Abheri, a ‘bhajan’ and two ‘kirtanas’. His upbeat music is like a mirror to his jovial demeanour - one he has retained even after years of enduring hardships to become such a phenomenal musician.
The elaboration of the swaras and expansive treatment of each raga in short periods makes for a neat, masterly presentation. Gopalnath’s rapid and sprightly improvisations are rich and charming.
The first composition in Raag Hamsadhwani is by Muthuswamy Dikshitar (1775-1835). Next, he plays a Saint Thyagaraja (1767-1847) composition in Raag Kalyanavasantham set to rupak taal, followed by ‘Raghuvamsasudhambudhi’, a Pattanam Subramanya Iyer (1845-1902) composition in Raag Kathanakuthuhalam set to Adi Tala. This is an instrumental kriti, a lively mix of swaras and rhythm that has held audiences in sway for more than a century.
Thereafter, he performs another Saint Tyagaraja composition, ‘Nagumomu Ganaleni’ in Raag Abheri. Abheri is the Carnatic equivalent of Hindustani Bhimpalasi. A memorable interaction between the saxophone and Srikanth’s virtuosic violin slowly takes this concert to a culmination.
Dr. Gopalnath concludes his recital with a Sai Bhajan in Raag Subhapantuvarali and then two popular, lighter pieces, ‘kirtanas’ (religious hymns) by Purandara Dasa (1484-1565) set to ragas Sindhu Bhairavi and Madhyamavati (Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma) respectively.
His decorative phrases are responded to with spontaneity and vibrant riposte by Jyotsna Srikanth on the violin, Bangalore Praveen on the mridangam and RN Prakash on the ghatam.
Dr. Gopalnath passed away in 2019, leaving behind memories as a loving person and a path-breaking musician. We offer this concert to you with a heart filled with respect, reverence and fond memories of a genius for the exceptional human being that he was and the iconic work he has left behind for the world.
Dr. Kadri Gopalnath (saxophone)
Jyotsna Srikanth (violin)
Bangalore Praveen (mridangam)
RN Prakash (ghatam)
Kaviraj Singh (tanpura)
Raag Hamsadhwani, Composition by Muthuswamy Dikshitar (1775-1835)
Raag Kalyanavasantham, Composition by Saint Thyagaraja (1767-1847)
Raag Kathanakuthuhalam, Composition by Patnam Subramania Iyer (1845-1902)
Nagumomu Ganaleni, Raag Abheri, Composition by Saint Thyagaraja (1767-1847)
Sai Bhajan in Raag Subhapantuvarali
Bhajan in Sindhu Bhairavi, composed by Purandara Dasa (1484-1565)
Raag Madhyamavati, ‘Kirtana’ (devotional narrative) composed by Purandara Dasa (1484-1565)