T. N. Seshagopalan was born in Nagapattinam(born, September 5, 1948), Tamil Nadu. Madurai Thirumalai Nambi Seshagopalan is a noted Carnatic musician and composer. He is also a very good Veena player.He can also play carnatic music on the Keyboard. He is proficient in rendering Harikatha and performs as per the guruparampara of Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar.
Seshagopalan continues to increase his wide repertoire with compositions of his own. He is noted for his own elegant thillanas, bhajans, namavalis and abhangs. He is equally at home with North Indian ragas and has participated in several jugalbandhis.
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 countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrain and Sri Lanka and has visited and performed in the United States of America numerous times.
A musical genius, Seshagopalan has been endowed with an enchanting and vibrant voice and multi-sthayi reach and range. One of the specialties of his cutcheri craft is rendering of intricate ragas with grace and gaiety, subtlety and ease. Indigenous, innovative and artistic sangathis and brikhas spice up his performance. His uniqueness lies in his breathtaking sweeps in the various manodharmic aspects of Carnatic music such as alapanas, neraval, kalpana swaraprastharas, raga, tana, pallavis, keerthanas, Thirupugazhs, Thukkadas and ragamalika virutams. The most demanding aspect of music, the graha bedha is child’s play for him.
His good hold over North Indian ragas has seen him in several jugalbandis with Ustad Rashid Khan. The gifted Seshagopalan is inspired by his mother’s music. His musical journey began in 1955. A firm foundation was laid by Ramanathapuram C.S. Sankarasivan (a great disciple of Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar the great musician and composer). As his gurus were great exponents of laya, it was easy for him to imbibe the same from them. Thus TNS’ vistara krama, both in raga and laya has accounted for a new style and summary of traditional Carnatic music.
A multi-faceted artiste, TNS holds a degree in science from Madras University and a degree in music from Madurai University where he also served as the professor of music.
He began playing on the harmonium and in course of time has mastered the veena. He eventually settled down to vocal music. Just to prove that even the subtle gamakas, which are the soul of Carnatic music, could be produced on a keyboard, TNS had a successful stint with that too. Seshagoplan seems to have a penchant for presenting surprises not only in his routine music concerts but also in his dispositions. His avatar as a Harikatha Bhagavatar has also been rewarding. His oratory, vast knowledge of music, Sanskrit, Tamil, and Telugu along with his skills of presentation is remarkable.
Several titles have been conferred on him. He has been the Asthana Vidwan of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt by the Paramacharya along with the title Sangeetha Sudhakara. He has acted in a Tamil feature film, Thodi Ragam, in which he sang a number of songs.
TNS has also acted as Lord Vishnu in a tele-serial produced by R.S. Manoharan, titled Narakasuran. More than 50 music companies have released Seshagopalan’s cassettes and CDs. HMS has produced Kaakkai Chiraginile, featuring his vocal performance.
Awards & Titles
- Gayaka Sikhamani awarded by Chodiah Memorial Trust Mysore in January 2007
- Sangeetha Kalanidhi 2006 awarded by Madras Music Academy
- Padma Bhushan – 2004
- “SangeetaSaagara” by CMANA,NJ,USA 2007
- Sulakshana Gana Vichkshana – by H. H. Srimad Andavan Swamigal Srirangam – 1993
- Kumaragandharva Rashtriya Sanmaan – Kumaragandhrva Foundation – Mumbai – 2002
- Nadhabrahmam – Indian Fine Arts – Texas – USA – 2002
- Musician of the Year 1999-2000 by Sangeet Natak Akademi
- President Award 2000 – by Sangeet Natak Academy, Central Government
- Tiruppugazh Mani in 1964
- Gana Bhoopathi by the Tamil Sangam of Olavakod in 1967
- Sangeetha Kala Sagaram by Sri Jayendra Saraswathi of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam
- Kalaimamani by Tamil Nadu Government in 1984
- Isai Selvam by Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Karunanidhi.
- Isai Kalai Vendan by Australian Foundation of Canberra – 1998