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Kadri Gopalnath Electrifies Audience At MITHAS

Nirmala Garimella

MITHAS, MIT Heritage of the Arts of South Asia, who have been in the forefront in bringing performing artists of quality and depth to MIT and to the surrounding community had a winner last month with the famed Kadri Gopalnath on the saxophone, A. Kanyakumari on the Violin, and Dhendanikottai Mani on the Thavil.

A musician who is highly original  Kadri Gopalnath defies description. How do you otherwise describe a man who had the courage and the determination to take a typically western instrument, the alto sax and mould it in a way to produce Carnatic music that when heard is not only brilliant in sound and presentation but amazing versatile. The story of how this happened has been heard often. When Gopalnath was young, he once heard the Mysore Palace band set and was so enamored of the sound of the saxophone that he at once decided to learn the instrument. Gopalnath learnt playing Carnatic music on the saxophone under Gopalkrishna Iyer of Kalaniketana, Mangalore. Later he came in contact with the versatile mridangist T.V. Gopalkrishnan who recognized his talent and potential and trained him.

At the Wong Auditorium, MITHAS audience was treated to an outstanding music recital of the three artists. Accompanying Gopalnath were, A. Kanyakumari on the Violin, and Dhendanikottai Mani on the Thavil. The two matched effortlessly with Gopalnath and this powerful mix of the three instruments brought delight and pleasure to all present. The interlude solos of the two artists sent many in raptures and entertained with a performance that was full of fire and spirit.

Kadri Gopalanth from the invocatory Vatapi to the final classical piece Eashwari, Maheshwari, Jagadeeshwari immediately grabbed the audience attention and kept them captivated all evening long with the pure energy and emotional intensity of his saxophone performance. The unconventional melodic sound and the rhythm made it all the more memorable. A seasoned musician who's mastered the instrument, to create a sound that's all his own, he is one of those rare artists who is genuinely gifted. This was the kind of performance that will be remembered for a very long time to come.

The only jarring note to the performance was the interruption in between by the artist for a few adjustments to be made to the audio set up and his dialogue with his accompanists.The audience seemed to get distracted and it marred the mood of the moment.

The evening also had Gopalnath playing a few popular Bhajans and Krithis and a folk song that was reminiscent of snake charmers music. At times, he began his next piece by singing it first in his rich voice.

Durga Krishnan, the area's well known veena teacher was all praise "What can I say, It was three hours of pure ecstasy! A fabulous concert !. Not a single miss of the gamakas"
Nirmala Vadavalli, another listener gushed, "I am seeing him for the first time in person. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert".
Shailaja, a concert enthusiast remarked, "I found all the artists amazing. The speed of the saxophone makes it difficult to be accompanied and Kanya kumari and Mani really rose to the challenge and excelled themselves".
MITHAS needs to be commended for bringing such fine performances to the New England audience.

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