By the Trunk of Ganesha: Kadri Gopalnath

Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha

Kadri Gopalnath was born in Mangalore, on India’s west coast.  As a young boy, while on a visit to the royal city of Mysore Kadri had his Damascus moment. As a marching band made its way through the streets he spied a strange looking instrument, unlike anything he’d seen to that time. It was brass and looked a bit like the trunk of Ganesha reaching up to accept the gift of a banana.   Kadri was entranced and bugged his father to tell him what the instrument was.  “A saxophone. Now keep quiet,” scolded his father.


Kadri Gopalnath

Kadri Gopalnath

As an adult, Sri Gopalnath, has carved out a niche for himself as the most famous, and most accomplished Indian saxophone player.  Like many of his musical peers who took to western instruments (guitar, violin, clarinet) he had to make some adjustments to the classic jazz instrument to make it perform and sound the way he wished, which was the Carnatic classical musical way.


Over thirty years ago while attending India’s premier international jazz festival in Bombay, his playing caught the year of John Handy. Asking the young musician to play with him he was immediately taken by this strange but familiar music coming out of the sax.  Sort of like free jazz pioneered in the lofts of New York in the 60’s, Gopalnath’s playing was nothing like the music American jazzmen were making.


Over the years, Kadri Gopalnath, has toured the world, both as an Indian classical musician as well as a partner with some of the great jazzmen of the day.  He has collaborated with fellow sax player Rudresh Mahantappa (among many others) and received rapturous accolades from audiences and critics alike.


Here is a CD of his Carnatic playing that I picked up in Chennai several years back.  Enjoy this fresh music!

Captivating Sounds Of Saxophone And Tavil

Track Listing:

01 Raja Raja Aradhithe – Niroshta – Thistra Adi – Muthiah Bhagavathar

02 Adukaradhuni – Manoranjini – Adi – Thyagaraja

03 Baja Mana Rama – Sindhu Bhairavi – Adi – Thulasi Dasar

04 Raga Alapana – Karaharapriya

05 Rama Neeyata – Karaharapriya – Adi – Thyagaraja

06 Sri Rama Padhama – Amirtha Vahini – Adi – Thyagaraja

07 Western Notes

08 Swami Sangeetham – Ayyappan Song

09 Magudi



5 thoughts on “By the Trunk of Ganesha: Kadri Gopalnath

  1. He was the first India classical musician I ever saw in concert – in the early nineties, but I’ve never heard him since, so this is brilliant to hear! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s