Saxophone, a Western musical instrument, has made a mark in Carnatic classical music circles. The credit goes to Kadri Gopalnath, who died in Mangaluru in the early hours of Friday. He was instrumental in making the saxophone a part of Carnatic classical music through his live music concerts and pre-recorded audio cassettes in the 1980s.

HM Srikishna, partner of the Chennai-based Master Recording Company (the company that marketed under the brand ‘Sangeetha Live Cassettes’), told BusinessLine over telephone that ‘Sangeetha’ was the first company to come out with a pre-recorded saxaphone-based Carnatic classical audio cassette in 1980.


Label of Kadri Gopalnath’s the first Saxophone recording for Master Recording Company’s Sangeetha Live Cassette.


Recalling the company’s association with Gopalnath, Srikrishna said ‘Kadri’ was visiting Chennai frequently in connection with music concerts and to learn from his guru. His unique style of playing the saxophone was holding the listeners spellbound at concerts.

HM Mahesh, the founder of Master Recording Company and Srikrishna’s brother, had attended one such programme, where he was impressed by Gopalnath’s enormous talent. Srikrishna said his brother developed a desire to bring out a cassette on Gopalnath’s saxophone programme. . “Two programmes, one on Marathi abhangs and another on Carnatic classical music, were recorded and released on the Sangeetha label in 1980,” he said, adding that the media reviews on these cassettes helped the artiste to reach the popularity.

With the popularity of these two programmes, Mahesh produced many such records in collaboration with Kadri Gopalnath, he added.

Other recordings of Gopalnath from the Sangeetha label included a light music album titled ‘Anuraga’, and devotional songs such as Dasara padagalu . Srikrishna said Sangeetha has 20 saxophone recordings of Gopalnath for sale.

He further said Gopalnath’s association with Sangeetha will always be cherished. . His demise is a huge loss for music lovers all over the world, he said. Master Recording Company was the first licensed pre-recorded cassette manufacturers in South India, he added.