Gopalakrishnan hails from a family of musicians spanning over two centuries. His father was a court musician for the Cochin Royal Family. He is one of the rare musicians who is equally proficient in both Carnatic and Hindustani Vocal, mrudangam and violin. Gopalakrishnan started playing the mridangam at the age of four and had his arangetram at the Cochin palace at the age of six. He is one of the senior most a disciples of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. Hailed as an innovator of Indian Jazz, TVG has toured all over the world with the legends like George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Handy, Pt.Ravi Shankar, Ustad Alla Rakha, etc. He has also collaborated with drummer/composer Franklin Kiermyer, Don peake, Seigfried Kutterer, and Carola Grey on many occasions.