KATTASSERY JOSEPH YESUDAS (born 10 January 1940) is an Indian
Carnatic musician and film playback singer. Yesudas sings Indian
classical, devotional and cinematic songs. He has recorded more than
50,000 songs in a number of Indian languages as well as Russian,
Latin and English during a career spanning more than five
decades. He has performed in most Indian languages except Assamese ,
Konkani and Kashmiri . He also composed a number of
songs in the 1970s and 1980s. Yesudas is fondly called Gana Gandharvan
(The Celestial Singer). He is considered to be a cultural icon of the
Malayalam language - as well as of its ethnic group spread across the
world - due largely to the fact that his songs have been profoundly
ingrained into the minds of
Malayalam speaking people for five
Yesudas has won the National Award for the Best Male Playback Singer
seven times, the
Filmfare Awards five times, and the State Award for
the Best Playback Singer forty-three 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,
Padma Bhushan in 2002, and the
Padma Vibhushan (second-highest
civilian award ) in 2017 by the
Government of India
Government of India for his
contributions towards the arts. In 2011 Yesudas was honoured with the
CNN-IBN outstanding 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,
* 1 Early life
* 2 Career
* 2.1 Debut and early career: 1960s
Bollywood entry: 1970s
* 3 Personal life
* 4 Music company
* 5 Awards and honours
* 6 Admiration
* 7 Controversies
* 8 Filmography
* 8.1 As actor
* 9 Discography
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 External links
K. J. Yesudas
K. J. Yesudas was born in
Fort Kochi , in the erstwhile Kingdom of
Cochin , in a
Latin rite Catholic Christian family to late Augustine
Joseph and late Elizabeth Joseph. His father, who was a well-known
Malayalam classical musician and stage actor, was his first guru .
Yesudas was the eldest of five children, followed by three younger
brothers and a younger sister. He started his academic music training
at R.L.V. Music Academy ,
Thrippunithura . Later he studied at Swathi
Thirunal College of Music , Thiruvananthapuram under the tutelage of
the carnatic music maestro late Sh. K.R. Kumaraswamy Iyer and the late
Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer but could not complete his studies due to
financial constraints. For a brief period, he was with Sri Vechur
Harihara Subramania Iyer, after which he took advanced training from
Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar . He completed the Ganabooshanam course
at R.L.V. Music Academy, Thripunithura,
Cochin and studied at Sree
Swathithirunal Music Academy,
Trivandrum under the tutelage of the
carnatic music maestro late Sh. K.R.Kumaraswamy Iyer. In 2011 Yesudas
completed his 50 years as a playback singer.
DEBUT AND EARLY CAREER: 1960S
Yesudas with poet and lyricist
O. N. V. Kurup
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. But the first film
song was 'Attention Penne Attention', which he sang with Santha P.
Nair , a veteran singer of that time. Yesudas began his career in
playback singing in the
Malayalam movie Kaalpadukal (1962) and Tamil,
Telugu and Kannada movies 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 ). In 1967, he sang hit songs in the composition of
M.S.Baburaj for the film
Udhyogastha directed by
P.Venu . He sang in
Bommai first (music: S. Balachander ), but the first
released movie was
Konjum Kumari (music: Veda). In 1965, he was
invited by the Soviet Union government to perform at music concerts in
various cities in the
USSR and also sang a Russian song over Radio
Kazakhstan. The trio of Salil, Yesudas and
Prem Nazir entered the
Malayalam Cinema Industry of the 1970s.
In 1970 he was nominated to head the
Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy
and was the youngest person ever to occupy the post.
BOLLYWOOD ENTRY: 1970S
By the 1970s Yesudas entered
Bollywood . The first Hindi song he sang
was for the movie Jai Jawan Jai Kissan (1971), but the first released
movie was Chhoti Si Baat. He has sung Hindi songs for many leading
actors in Hindi cinema including
Amitabh Bachchan ,
Amol Palekar and
Jeetendra . He has sung many evergreen Hindi film songs for music
Ravindra Jain ,
Bappi Lahiri ,
Khayyam , Rajkamal
Salil Chowdhury .
Yesudas' most popular Hindi songs are in the 1976 movie Chitchor,
with music given by
Ravindra Jain .
On 14 November 1999, 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 and whose attendees included artistes such as Lionel Richie
Ray Charles ,
Montserrat Caballé , and
Zubin Mehta .
In 2001 he sang for album Ahimsa in
Latin and English and
in a mix of styles including new-age and Carnatic. In his music
concerts in the Middle East he sings
Arabic songs in the Carnatic
style. He frequently serves as a cultural ambassador for India
through his performances abroad, promoting Indian music.
In 2009 Yesudas began a cross-country musical campaign against
terrorism in Thiruvananthapuram, with the motto 'Music For Peace'.
Kavita Karkare, wife of
Hemant Karkare , handed over the torch to
Yesudas to mark the launch of the 'Shanthi Sangeetha Yatra'. Yesudas
has performed for 36 times in the 36-year-old Soorya Music festival
Soorya Krishnamoorthy .
Yesudas is married to Prabha. They have three sons, Vinod, Vijay and
Vishal. Their second son
Vijay Yesudas is a musician who won the
Kerala State Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer in 2007 and
2013. A statue of
Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar sponsored by
Chembai gramam (Kottayi village ) in Palakkad; next to
Guru ’s great message, "One religion and One God for
all humanity", influenced young Yesudas in his dealings with his
fellow men. He had his own heroes among the musicians too. Mohammed
Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar and Balamurali Krishna are the
ones he admires the most. Yesudas has been visiting Kollur Mookambika
temple , Kollur , Karnataka on his birthday to sing keerthans of
Saraswati devi , the Goddess of knowledge, music and the arts. The
music festival started on his 60th birthday in 2000. The nine-day
music festival begins every January at Kollur
Mookambika Temple. On
Sunday, 10 January 2010, he celebrated his 70th birthday (Sapthathi)
at Kollur Sri
Mookambika Temple with 'Sangeetharchana' (classical
devotional songs), along with 70 singers before goddess Mookambika.
The Sangeetharchana included "Pancharatna Gayana" of Thyagaraja's
poems. He also took part in the Vidyarambha function. All India Radio
broadcast the special Sangeetharchana all over Kerala. Yesudas also
has many songs devoted to Lord Ayyappa including the hit song
"Harivarasanam". In 2002, during Marad massacare , he visited the
place along with the veteran poet
Sugathakumari , and conducted
classes against violence.
Harivarasanam , a devotional song musical
version composed by
G. Devarajan , recited before closing the temple
Sabarimala was 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.
In 1980 Yesudas established the Tharangani Studio at Trivandrum. In
1992 the office and studio were moved to
Tamil Nadu and the
company was incorporated in the US in 1998. Tharangni Studio and
Tharangni Records became a recording center in
Kerala which, for the
first time, brought out audio cassettes of
Malayalam film songs in
stereo. The record company also had a voice mixing studio in Studio27,
Chennai. The studio continues to produce and present events of Yesudas
both for film and
Indian classical music
Indian classical music concerts throughout the
AWARDS AND HONOURS
Main article: List of titles, honours and major awards received by
Yesudas has recorded over 70,000 songs and has won scores of
accolades including the coveted
Padma Shri (1975), Padma Bhushan
Padma Vibhushan (2017) and seven National Awards for Best
Playback Singer. He is the only singer who has been accorded the title
Asthana Gayakan (official singer) of
Kerala State .
National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer a record seven
times by the Government of India
Kerala State Film Award for Best Singer a record 25 times for the
best playback singer by the Government of
J. C. Daniel Award from Government of
Andhra Pradesh State Film Awards four times for the best playback
singer by the Government of
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards five times for the best playback
singer by the Government of
West Bengal State Film Awards one time for the best playback
singer by the Government of
Sangeetha Kalasikhamani , 2002 by The Indian Fine arts Society,
* Swaralaya Yesudas award is a prestigious award for music artists
in recognition of their outstanding performance. The award is
instituted jointly by Swaralaya, an organisation that promotes music
and Kairali Channel , based in
Trivandrum , Kerala. Awards have been
given annually since 2000. Yesudas presents the awards at a Gandharva
Sandhya every January.
In his acceptance speech of winning the Swaralaya Kairali Yesudas
AR Rahman said "I'm greatly honoured by Swaralaya's
gesture, and getting this award from my most favourite singer Mr
Yesudas. He is one of my most favourite voices' ever in the world."
Ravindra Jain , in an interview wherein the blind music director
confessed that if ever he happened to regain vision, the first person
he would like to see would be Yesudas.
Bappi Lahiri said in an interview with
Filmfare in 2012: 'Yesudas’
voice is touched by God. After Kishoreda, he was another singer who
brought out the best in me. He is a yogi, a mystic who lives for
music. He takes your tunes to another level. And his note is perfect,
you can rely on him to deliver it right the first time. Working with
him made me touch base with my melodious side. He is vastly
under-utilised in Hindi films. I wish Hindi film composers of today
realise his genius and offer him assignments.”
On 2 October 2014, Yesudas sparked a row while speaking at a public
function on the occasion of
Gandhi Jayanthi , where he stated that
"Women should not wear jeans and trouble others. You should dress
modestly and do not behave like men". This resulted in a number of
protests from Womens' Rights and Political organizations, who asked
him to withdraw the comment.
M. Krishnan Nair
Prem Nazir , Sathyan
M. G. Soman
P K Pillai
K. J. Yesudas discography Main article: K. J. Yesudas
List of Carnatic singers
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* ^ A B "\'I don\'t sing trendy music\'".
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12 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
* ^ "Gaanagandharvan graces the Soorya festival for the 36th time".
* ^ Ajay Gosh. "Dr. KJ Yesudas: Singer With A Golden Voice".
Archived from the original on 22 February 2014.
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2012. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
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Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
* ^ "Yesudas celebrates 70th birthday in Kollur". The New Indian
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* ^ "Dr. K. J. Yesudas". keralatourism.org. Retrieved 18 March
* ^ "
Padma Shri Awardees". Ministry of Home Affairs . Retrieved
* ^ "
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* ^ "Tributes paid to Hemant Karkare". Chennai, India:
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12 January 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2010.
* ^ "King of Ooh la la land". Retrieved 2016-09-01.
* ^ "KJ Yesudas: India singer criticised for \'sexist\' jeans
remark". BBC News. 2014-10-03. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
* ^ B. Vijayakumar (31 May 2010). "Anarkali (1966)".
The Hindu .