The poet Gopalakrishna Bharathi (1810-1896) was a contemporary of Tyagaraja whom he is said to have met. A great bhakta (devotee) of Siva, Gopalakrishna Bharati has left to us a number of wonderful compositions extolling the beauty, the grace and the majesty of Siva in his many forms. Nandanar Charitram contains a number of such songs woven into a moving story of the many hardships faced by Nandanar and by extension by all who suffer oppression. His timeless message, is particularly appropriate today. The students of Dhvani Music School proudly present this program where the music and lyrics of Gopalakrishna Bharathi speak to us and remind us of our duty to fellow humans.
Gopalakrishna Bharathi was born at Narimanam, near Nagapattinam. He spent his early days in Mudikondan village, near Thiruvarur. A few years later he moved to Anandathandavapuram village, near Mayavaram where he lived almost his entire life. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all veena exponents and scholars in Sanskrit. After losing his parents at an early age, he worked as a cook in a temple. He then met Govinda Yati, who taught him Hindu scripture, and then the musician Ramdas, who taught him Hindustani music. Gopalakrishna started his professional career after finding a patron named Annu Iyer. (source Wikipedia)
At a time when Telugu flavored with Marathi styling was in vogue and Bhagavata Mela natakas and Yakshaganas were popular, Gopalakrishna Bharathi’s magnum opus, Nandanar Charitram, was a significant contribution to the Tamizh repertoire and became very popular. Legend has it that the composer was inspired to recount the story of Nandanar when he saw a sculpture of Nandan with a shovel at the Chidambaram temple. His music has a very intuitive appeal with very simple but captivating tunes both reflecting and inspiring Siva Bhakti. They also convey philosophical concepts in simple, unobtrusive words that have a broad reach and appeal.