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Swar Samrat Narayan Gopal remembered



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By Renuka Dhakal
Kathmandu, Dec. 5: When Narayan Gopal’s name comes up, the songs such as Yeuta Manchheko Mayale, Yo Samjine Man chha, Timro Jasto Mutu, Malai Nasodha and Kehi Mitho Baat Gara among others begin playing in the back of our minds, which in itself is a testament to his impeccable voice and exquisite lyrics.
His songs have been able to forge a special connection with countless Nepalis young and old rendering him as one of the immortals in music.
While it has already been 30 years since his departure, his voice still resonates among us, earning him the moniker of Swar Samrat (emperor of voice).
Narayan Gopal Gurubacharya, who was born on October 4, 1939, recorded 137 songs before his demise on December 5, 1990 owing to diabetes and chronic renal failure.
With his songs having that air of mournful longing and often orchestrated with sitar, harmonium and flute, he was also endearingly referred to as ‘Tragedy King’.
However, Narayan Gopal was limited not only to music but also performed in dramas, with his appearance on Durgala Shrestha’s drama in 2013 BS marking his debut performance. Moreover, the popular singer was also the editor for two newspapers of ‘Bagini’ and ‘Urbasi’.
Narayan Gopal grew up in a family of musicians who encouraged music. In an interview with senior journalist Harihar Birahi, he said that his father Asha Gopal Guruwacharya was a renowned musician and singer.
It is said that long before Narayan Gopal’s name was to be etched as the finest singer in Nepal, he first began by singing “Sworga Ko Rani” and “Aakhako Bhaka Aakhaile” in 2017 BS at a school function. The rest is history.
Narayan Gopal is also the first singer in the Nepali singing history, who passed Radio Nepal’s voice test by recording Nepali songs.
Prior to that, other singers had passed the voice test singing Hindi songs.
He was taken to Radio Nepal for voice test by his friends Manik Ratna Sthapit and Prem Dhoj Pradhan. He sang “Panchi Ko Pankha Ma Dharti Ko Diyo penned by Dr. Ram Man Trishit and composed by Prem Dhoj Pradhan during the voice test.
Appreciating his invaluable contribution to Nepali culture and music, the singer is remembered every year with great enthusiasm. The Nepali month ‘Mangsir’ 19 is marked as the memorial day of the singing legend.
Musician, director, critic, Prakash Sayami considered Narayan Gopal as the ‘Star’ of Nepali music.
Stating that many songs have been sung for years, he said that Narayan Gopal’s songs directly touch the human heart.
He added that Narayan Gopal’s songs were a collection of everything that any age group can associate, therefore, his songs remain immortal.
Narayan Gopal did not sing for others, he sang for himself, so his songs are immortal. Today's singers should also sing for themselves rather than for others, he stressed.
Meanwhile, popular singer Sugam Pokharel has also dedicated a song titled, “Shardya Narayan Gopal” on the occasion of his 30th memorial day.
Pokharel unveiled the song a week ago with the short introduction of Narayan Gopal in the video song.
Renowned singer Ram Krishan Dhakal has also offered his tribute with respectful words through social media to the Swor Samrat, where he penned, “Narayan Gopal has always been an indelible mark on my heart as my source of inspiration in the world of Nepali music.
I sang as much as I sang with his blessings. Following in the footsteps of Swar Samrat, I got the audience affection, support and immense love because of that today I made a different identity. I want to bow my head to Narayan Gopal millions of times.”
In the name of impeccable singer Narayan Gopal, the government has also built many statues, such as one in Chakrapath, Kathmandu. He was honoured with multiple awards, including Gorkha Dakshin Bahu, Indra Rajya Laxmi, Chhinalata, Jagadamba Shree, Trishakti Patta and among many.
He also sang for successful films like Manko Badha, Sindoor, Lahure, Chino, Hijo Aaja Bholi , Kosheli, Dakshina among others.
Founder member of the Narayan Gopal Music Trust, Sayami said that this year, considering the COVID-19 situation, the Trust could not organise any formal programme.