Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan

by Shobha Raman <>, Bothell WA. U.S.A

Sri Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan, the celebrated Carnatic musician and composer had his initial musical training under his mother and Sri. Ramanathapuram C. S. Sankarasivan (a great disciple of Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar, the eminent musician and composer). (Sri Sankarasivan is the elder brother and guru of the famous mridangist C S Murugaboopathy).

Seshagopalan holds a degree in Science from Madras University, (Madras, India) and a degree in music from Madurai University (Madurai, India). He has served as professor of music at Madurai University. He has been showered with innumerable titles and laurels among which are:

Seshagopalan was also made the "Asthana Vidwan" of Kanchi Kamakoti Matt by Paramacharya along with a title of "SANGEETHA SUDHAKARA".

In 1983 the prestigious Music Academy of Madras arranged to have a program of Seshagopalan in order to record special CD's and cassettes which have now been released by Oriental Records in the United States.

His many commercial cassettes and CD's are treasured possessions of his many ardent fans and admirers.

Seshagopalan's fame has not been just within the boundaries of India. In 1984 he was invited to sing at the Adelaide International Festival in Australia (and included performances Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and New Zealand). In 1987 he was India's cultural ambassador to Russia. He has performed in Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrain and Sri Lanka and has visited and performed in the United States of America at least 8 times.

A musical genius, Seshagopalan has been endowed with an enchanting and melodious voice which has captured the heart and soul of music lovers in India and the international arena. He renders the most intricate ragas with mellow grace, subtlety and absolute ease. His raga renditions are woven with unique sangathis and brikhas which spice up a performance. He is very well known for his breath-taking sweep in all aspects of Carnatic music - Alapanas, Neraval, Kalpanaswara prastharas, Ragam-Thanam-Pallavis, Kirthanas, Thirupugazhs, Thukkadas and ragamalika virutams.

A master of swara compositions, Seshagopalan continues to increase his stupendous repertoire with compositions of his own. He is noted for his own elegant Thillana compositions, devotional Bhajans, Namavalis and Abhangs.

During his recent concert (Sept. 1996) at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, he captured the hearts of the audience (a mixed blend of Americans, Indians, Japanese and others) with his rendition of a Ragam-Thanam-Pallavi (originating in the lilting Brindavan Saranga raga and followed by breathtaking renditions of garlands of ragamalika swaras). His Thillana in raga Hamsanandi was stupendous and lifted the audience to dizzy heights. He is equally at home with North Indian ragas. He has participated in several Jugalbandis, the most recent one is scheduled to be held at the Lincoln Center with Ustad Rashid Khan.

Seshagopalan's talents do not stop here. He is well versed in playing the veena and harmonium.

Seshagopalan's singing technique has the knack of transferring and communicating the most intricate musical expression with ease, simplicity and aesthetic charm. Blessed by the Goddess Meenakshi, presiding deity in the temple in Madurai, Seshagopalan is indeed a musical marvel.

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