The Info List - K. J. Yesudas

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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, Arabic
, 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 Malayalam
film 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 decades.

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
Padma Shri
in 1975, the Padma Bhushan in 2002, and the Padma Vibhushan
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
South Indian
languages on the same day at AVM Studio, Chennai


* 1 Early life

* 2 Career

* 2.1 Debut and early career: 1960s * 2.2 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.



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
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 Tamil for 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
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.


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
Amitabh Bachchan
, Amol Palekar and Jeetendra . He has sung many evergreen Hindi film songs for music directors including Ravindra Jain , Bappi Lahiri , Khayyam , Rajkamal and Salil Chowdhury
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
Ray Charles
, Montserrat Caballé , and Zubin Mehta .

In 2001 he sang for album Ahimsa in Sanskrit
, 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 organised by 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 Yesudas at Chembai
gramam (Kottayi village ) in Palakkad; next to Bhagavatar's house.

Sree Narayana 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 Rafi , 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
G. Devarajan
, recited before closing the temple at 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 Chennai
, Tamil Nadu
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 world.


Main article: List of titles, honours and major awards received by Yesudas

Yesudas has recorded over 70,000 songs and has won scores of accolades including the coveted Padma Shri
Padma Shri
(1975), Padma Bhushan (2002), Padma Vibhushan
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 Kerala
* J. C. Daniel Award from Government of Kerala
* Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
State Film Awards four times for the best playback singer by the Government of Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
* Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
State Film Awards five times for the best playback singer by the Government of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
* West Bengal
West Bengal
State Film Awards one time for the best playback singer by the Government of West Bengal
West Bengal
* Sangeetha Kalasikhamani , 2002 by The Indian Fine arts Society, Chennai * 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 Award (2006), 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.




1965 Kavyamela Prem Nazir
Prem Nazir
M. Krishnan Nair as himself

1966 Kayamkulam Kochunni Sathyan P. Bhaskaran as Khader

1966 Anarkali Prem Nazir
Prem Nazir
, Sathyan Kunchacko as Tansen

1973 Achaani Prem Nazir
Prem Nazir
P. Bhaskaran as singer

1977 Nirakudam Kamalhassan A. Bhimsingh as singer

1977 Harshabashpam M. G. Soman P. Gopikumar as singer

1980 Saranam Ayyappa Jayabharathi

as singer

1981 Pathira Sooryan Prem Nazir
Prem Nazir
P K Pillai as saint

2002 Nandanam Prithviraj Ranjith as himself

2005 Boyy Friend Manikuttan Vinayan as himself

2012 Theruvu Nakshatrangal Tini Tom Jose Maveily as himself


Main article: K. J. Yesudas discography Main article: K. J. Yesudas Tamil Discography


* Swaralaya Yesudas Award * List of Carnatic singers * Harivarasanam


* ^ A B C "Music legend Yesudas turns 70". The Hindu
The Hindu
. Chennai, India. 10 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2011. * ^ A B "\'I don\'t sing trendy music\'". Rediff
. Retrieved 2009-09-06. * ^ "Those magical moments...". Chennai, India: The Hindu
The Hindu
. 3 September 2002. Retrieved 2009-08-19. * ^ "Life devoted to music". The Hindu
The Hindu
. 1 February 2001. Retrieved 2009-08-19. * ^ "Yesudas celebrated Birthday at Kollur". oneindia. * ^ " Vijay Yesudas weds Darsana". sify. * ^ " Padma Bhushan Awardees – Padma Awards – My India, My Pride". India.gov.in. Retrieved 2011-09-09. * ^ "Yesudas receives CNN-IBN \'Indian of the Year\' award". 17 December 2011. Retrieved 2016-09-01. * ^ "One for the records". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 1 December 2006. Retrieved 2010-05-01. * ^ A B "CDR K J YESUDAS THE INDIAN PLAYBACK SINGING LEGEND’S RAGS TO RICHES". stateofkerala.in. Archived from the original on 5 December 2011. * ^ "KJ Yesudas completes 50 glorious years as singer". Asianet india. Archived from the original on 24 January 2012. * ^ "Ahimsa Album". Hinduonnet.com. 19 February 2001. Retrieved 2011-09-09. * ^ Vineet Pillai (15 November 2003). "Exclusive – Interview with Yesudas on 15th November 2003". Indien-netzwerk.de. Archived from the original on 31 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-01. * ^ "Yesudas\' Musical Campaign for peace". oneindia.com. 13 January 2009. * ^ "Tributes paid to Hemant Karkare". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 12 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-01. * ^ "Gaanagandharvan graces the Soorya festival for the 36th time". thiraseela.com. * ^ Ajay Gosh. "Dr. KJ Yesudas: Singer With A Golden Voice". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. * ^ "\'I do not sing trendy music\': Yesudas". Rediff.com. 7 May 2001. Retrieved 2010-05-01. * ^ "Gandharva of songs : K.J Yesudas celebrates 70th birthday". Non Resident Kerala
Associations. Retrieved 2010-05-01. * ^ "Yesudas celebrated Birthday at Kollur". Oneindia Entertainment. 19 January 2009. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 2010-05-01. * ^ PTI (10 January 2012). "Music legend Yesudas turns 72". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2010-05-01. * ^ "Yesudas celebrates 70th birthday in Kollur". The New Indian Express. 11 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-01. * ^ "Dr. K. J. Yesudas". keralatourism.org. Retrieved 18 March 2010. * ^ " Padma Shri
Padma Shri
Awardees". Ministry of Home Affairs . Retrieved 2014-11-27. * ^ " Padma Bhushan Awardees". Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved 2014-11-27. * ^ * ^ "Swaralaya awards presented". The Hindu
The Hindu
. 20 January 2003. Retrieved 18 March 2010. * ^ "Swaralaya award for Shankar Mahadevan". Chennai, India: The Hindu . 16 December 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2010. * ^ "Tributes paid to Hemant Karkare". Chennai, India: The Hindu
The Hindu
. 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
The Hindu
. Retrieved 2011-11-08.