Wednesday, April 22, 2015





                                                               37—K.J.YESUDAS (1940….)




                                Kattassery Joseph Yesudas is a classical and  devotional singer who  has recorded more than 10,00,000 songs in many languages—Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu.Bengali,Gujarathi,Oriya, Marathi, Punjabi, Malay , Sanskrit , Russian, Arabic, Latin  and English during a career spanning more than five decades. He also composed a number of Malayalam film songs in the 1970s and 1980s. Yesudas is fondly called Gana Gandharvan (The Celestial Singer). Music came as divine grace and paternal inheritance to K.J. Yesudas, one of India's foremost exponents of classical carnatic vocal music and leading playback singer in all Indian language. His classical concerts and film music concerts continue to captivate millions of listeners at home and abroad.



                                     Yesudas has the rare feat of performing the classical concert for 36 times in the 36-year old Soorya Music festival organised by Soorya Krishnamoorthy. This is one among his concerts which is highly followed by serious musical lovers and often rated as the most popular among his concerts in India.



                                     Yesudas has won the National Award for the Best Male Playback  Singer  seven times , 5 Filmfare Awards and the State Award for the Best Playback Singer 43 times, which consists of awards by the state governments of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and West Bengal. He was awarded the Padma Shri  in 1975 and the Padma Bhushan  in 2002  for his contributions towards the arts. In 2011 Yesudas was honoured with the CNN-IBNoutstanding achievement award having recorded over 20,000 songs in a five-decade career. In 2006, he sang 16 film songs in four South Indian languages on the same day at AVM Studio, Chennai.


                    K. J. Yesudas was born in a Roman Catholic  family to Augustine Joseph and  Alicekutty. He was the eldest of four sons and one daughter. His father,  a well-known  Malayalam classical musicianand stage actor, was his first Guru. His first concert was at the age of 12. He started his academic music training at the R.L.V.Music Academy, Trippunithura.  Later he studied at the Swathi Thirunal College of Music, Thiruvananthapuram under the tutelage of the carnatic music maestro late Shri. K.R.Kumaraswamy Iyer and the late Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer.For a brief period, he was with Shri Vechur Harihara Subramania Iyer, after which he took advanced training from Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar . He completed the Ganabooshanam course at R.L.V. MusicAcademy, Trippunithura, 


                                       The first song sung by Yesudas is "Jaathi Bhedam Matha Dwesham " (Music: M.B.Sreenivasan) on 14 November 1961, which he usually sings on all the special occasions in front of the audience. Yesudas began his career in playback singing in the Malayalam movie Kaalpadukal in the early 1960s.He got the first break in his music career with the hit Malayalam film named Bharya       ( music by G.Devarajan and lyrics by Vayalar Ramavarma ).


                                        The trio of Salil, Yesudas and Prem Nazir  took the Malayalam Cinema Industry of the 1970s by storm. It was generally agreed that Yesudas's voice was the most suited one for Prem Nazir.In 1970 he was nominated to head the Kerala Sangeetha Natak Academy and was the youngest person ever to occupy the post.


                                          By the 1970s Yesudas entered Bollywood. The first Hindi song he sang was for the movie Jai Jawan Jai Kisan (1971) He has sung many evergreen Hindi film songs for music directors including Ravindra Jain, Bapppi Lahiri, Khayyam, Rajkamal and Salial Chowdhury.Yesudas's most popular Hindi songs are in the 1976 movie Chitchor, with music given by Ravindra Jain. The greatest tribute to Yesudas was paid by Ravindra Jain,  in an interview wherein the blindmusic director confessed that if ever he happened to regain vision, the first person he would like to see would be Yesudas.



                                Yesudas has performed in many major cities around the world. Yesudas was presented with an honorary award by UNESCO for "Outstanding Achievements in Music and Peace" at the "Music for Peace" event in Paris-a concert held to mark the dawn of the new millennium.  He frequently serves as a cultural ambassador for India through his performances abroad, promoting Indian music.



                                 Yesudas is married to Prabha. They have three sons, Vinod, Vijay and Vishal. Their second son Vijay Yesudas  is a musicianwho won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer  in 2007 and 2013. The family is currently settled in Chennai and Trivandrum.


                                  In 1980 Yesudas established the Tharangini  Studio Studio at Trivandrum. In 1992 the office and studio were moved to Chennai  and the company was incorporated in the US in 1998.


                               After winning the Kerala State Award for Best Playback singer on numerous occasions, he asked that he be ruled out of contention so as to give his peers and newcomers a chance of winning the award. Despite his request, he was still given this award several times in the following years.


                                                                  "Harivarasanam " a devotional songmusical version composed by G.Devarajan , recited every night before closing the temple at Sabarimala  is sung by Yesudas. Though there have been many different renditions of this song by many different renowned singers, Sabarimala officially uses Yesudas' voice for Harivarasanam  every day.


                             Yesudas has recorded over 50,000 songs and has won scores of accolades including the coveted Padma Shri , Pdama Bhushanand seven National Awards for Best Playback Singer. He is the only singer who has been accorded the title Asthana Gayakan  of Kerala State. He also bagged the National Film Award for Best Mlae Playback Singer  a record seven times by the Government of India.Kerala State Film Awards a record 26 times for the best playback singer by the Government of Kerala, Tamil Nadu State Film Awards  five times for the best playback singer by the Government of Tamil Nadu Sangeetha Kalasikhamani , 2002 by The Indian Fine arts Society, Chennai.



                                   He is one of the few Indian Artists to have performed at the Royal Albert Hall, London; and the Sydney Opera House, Sydney, respectively in 2001 and 2006.


                                   A matter of great regret is that the Guruvayur Krishna temple, still keeps him out though he has conveyed his grief about it through a couple of songs.


                                  Yesudas was once clean-shaven. The beard appeared some time in the '70s. Initially his fans did not like it. In fact, once when he was watching a football match, some of them demanded why he was growing a beard. "Because I have no money to shave." In true Malayali spirit, the fans passed around the hat in the gallery and the collection was handed over to him with the instruction that he had to stop at the barber's on his way home.

                               But the beard stayed. And, like his white attire, it has become his trademark.