Narayan Gopal


Narayan Gopal : biography

04 October 1939 – 05 December 1990


Narayan Gopal suffered from diabetes, yet had a propensity for sweetmeats. This habit led to his demise in December 5, 1990 (19 Mangsir, 2047 B.S.) in Bir Hospital, at 9 p.m. in Kathmandu, at an age of fifty-one. He died childless. Four of his brothers and three of his sisters still survive him.

Later career

After his short stay in Hetauda, Narayan Gopal returned to Kathmandu and managed to find a job in Rastriya Naach Ghar (National Dance Theater) with the help of his friends Manik Ratna and Janardan Sama. He had entered Naach Ghar as a mere instrumentalist, but he slowly rose to the post of a hakim (rector). While he was in Naach Ghar, he lost many of his friends or abandoned many of his previous collaborators. After he became the hakim of Naach Ghar, he was no longer in speaking terms with his early mentor Manik Ratna. Similarly, the relationship with his childhood friend Prem Dhoj became distant. After the marriage of his mitjyu Gopal Yonzon, the relationship between the two also dampened. Among the reasons for this was his fame, success, and growing arrogance.

At this stage of his life, he found himself confronting a new generation of Nepali youths. Among the young musical talents of that time, his partnership with Dibya Khaling took off; and he started lending his voice to Khalings compositions, thus initiating another phase of his singing career. Songs like सँधै नै म हाँसे तिमीलाई रुवाई, मायाको आधारमा सम्झौता नै हुन्छ, बिपना नभइ helped to revive his popularity. During this stage he started to collaborate with new breed of songwriters such as Khyetra Pratap Adhikari, Kali Prasad Rijal, Norden Rumba, Dinesh Adhikari, and Bishwambhar Pyaukurel, while his relationship with his old collaborators was neglected. Among the composers of the new generation, he collaborated with the likes of Sambhujit Baskota, Bhupendra Rayamajhi, and Shubha Bahadur. In his late stage of career, he lent his considerable prestige to launch the career of many upcoming musicians. As such, he was willing to compromise his artistry and sing weak songs by new composers and songwriters. He also sang in film songs.

In total his career spanned twenty-eight years, during which he sang in eighteen movies and recorded a hundred and fifty-seven songs.

Early career

The potential of his vocal talent was first recognized by his friend Manik Ratna Sthapit. Manik Ratna, who used to live in the neighboring Pyukha Tole, and Prem Dhoj Pradhan, who used to live in Bheda Singh Tole used to get together and do vocal practices using Hindi songs. But Narayan Gopal, however, would joke around by changing the words of the songs that they used to sing. Prem Dhoj and Manik Ratna recounts that he used to change the Hindi words into Nepali, thus damaging the melody of the songs to comical effect. Manik Ratna’s household was like a kind of a music school since his uncle, Siddhi Ratna Sthapit, was an expert instrumentalist. In B.S 2016, after completion of his S.L.C exams, Prem Dhoj Pradhan took him to Radio Nepal to take a voice test. He sang "Panchi ko pankha ma dharti ko diyo," written by Dr. Ram Man Trishit and composed by Prem Dhoj Pradhan himself. He passed the voice test on his first trial. Narayan Gopal’s first public musical performance was during the 40th anniversary of Tri Chandra College, which he agreed on to do so upon requests from his friends. During the performance he acted as the tabala player.

In his own household, Narayan’s father, Asha Gopal Guruacharya, was a strict classical musician. His father did not allow any modern music, except for classical music, to be entertained in his house. Ustad Asha Gopal considered modern music as shallow and vulgar. It was in order to appease his father that he went to India to take up lessons in classical music in Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. But due to ill-adjustment, he dropped from the University after only four and half months.

Biography in other media

A short biography (available at , , and ) has been made as a tribute to Narayan Gopal.