K. J. Yesudas
K. J. Yesudas
His father, who was his first guru (teacher), was a well-known Malayalam classical musician and stage actor of his time. He joined the Music Academy in Thrippunithura and won a gold medal for music at a local competition in Fort Kochi at age seven. He later trained under the legendary Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar in Classical Music, and this training, abruptly cut short by the guru's demise in 1974, still stood him in good stead. His soul-stirring voice lends itself well to both Indian classical, devotional and popular songs.
Some popular classical songs rendered by Yesudas are Vathapi Ganapathim, Krishna Nee Begane Baaro , 'Yentha Nedu Wo', 'Kshira Saagara'. In playback singing Yesudas, a talent discovered by Salil Chowdhury and nurtured by Ravindra Jain, has sung more than 40,000 songs for many languages including Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tulu, Russian, Arabic, Latin and English through his long career. In 1965, he was invited by the Soviet Union government to perform at music concerts in various cities in the U.S.S.R. In 1970 he was nominated to head the Sangeetha Nataka Academy of Kerala, he was the youngest person ever to occupy the office. In 1971, Yesudas with his musical troupe travelled around Kerala to raise funds for the Indian Prime Minister's National Defense Fund during the Indo-Pakistani War. He also became Senate member in the International Parliament for Safety and Peace, an organization incorporated in the USA. On November 14, 1999, Yesudas was presented 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.
He also dons the role of cultural ambassador of India through his numerable performances abroad, promoting Indian Music.Yesudas has, till date, performed in almost all the major cities of the world. He is the only one singer who has the title Asthana Gayakan (Official singer) of Kerala State.He was awarded the Padmashree (1973) and Padma Bhushan (2002) by the President of India. * Completed the Ganabooshanam course at R.L.V. Music Academy, Thripunithura, Cochin * Graduated from the Sree Swathithirunal Music Academy, Trivandrum * Trained under well-known musicians like K.R.Kumaraswamy ( former principal of the Music College, Kochi ), Kunjuvelan Aasan ( a disciple of Nagaswera Vidwan Rajaratnam Pillai ), Augstune Joseph, Ramakutti Bagavathar, Sivaraman Nayar. * Yesudas received advanced training in Carnatic Music from Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, who was one of the senior most performers of the time. Shri Narayana Guru's great message, "One caste, one religion and one God for all humans", influenced young Yesudas in his dealings with fellow men. In the music world, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna and Mohammed Rafi are his major heroes. Padmabhushan K. J.
Yesudas has been singing many unforgettable songs in Malayalam .His first song as a playback singer was for the Malayalam movie Kalpadukal. (1961). In 60s -70s he made hit songs with music maestro M. S. Baburaj, G.
Devarajan, Dakshinamurthy, and Salil Chowdhury. The trio combination of Salil-Yesudas and Prem Nazir (the evergreen hero of Malayalam Cinema) took the Malayalam Cinema Industry of the 70's by storm. As a matter of fact, it was generally agreed that Yesudas's voice was the most ideal one for Prem Nazir. Legendary songs with Baburaj are : Thamasamenthe varuvan - Bhargavi Nilayam (1964), Nadhikalil- Anaarkali (1966), Innale Mayangumbol - Anveshichu Kandethiyilla (1967), Akkareyanente Tamasam - Karthika (1968), Pranasaki –Pareeksha 1969, Orupushpam - Pareeksha 1969. Legendary songs with Maestro Dakshinamurthy are Swapnangale Ningal - Kavyamela (1965), Kakkathamburatti - Inapravukal (1965), Hrudaya Sarassile - Paadunna Puzha (1968), Ponveyil - Nirthasala (1972). Legendary songs with Devarajan Master are :Ashtamudi- Manavatty (1964), Manikya Veena- Kattu Pookkal (1965), Kattadichu - Thulabharam (1968), Thanga Bhasma- Koottukudumbam (1969), Aayiram Padasaram- Nadi (1969), Sangamam - Triveni (1970), Omalale Kandu- Sindhoora Cheppu (1971), Manushyan- Achanum Bappayum (1972), Indravallari - Gandharava Kshetram (1972), Padmatheerthame- Gayathri (1973). Legendary songs with Salil Chowdhury. are Neela Ponmane- Nellu (1974), Kalakalam- Ee Ganam Marakkumo (1978), Madaprave Vaa- Madhanotsavam (1978), Shyama Meghame - Samayamayilla Polum (1978). From 80 s his hit songs are with Maestro Raveendran, M G Radhakrishnan, Jerry Amaldev and Johnson.
Yesudas made a lot of hit songs with the legendary Raveendran master. Ezhuswarangalum- Chiriyo chiri (1982), Pramadavam – His Highness Abdullah are legendary songs. Devanganagal Kayyozhinja tharakam from the film Njan Gandharvan (1991) is a legendary song by. Johnson. He has been singing thousands of songs in Tamil.Yesudas's first song in Tamil film was in the film Bommai and the song was Neeyum Bommai.
With music composer Ilaiyaraja he made lot of hit songs. Other major music directors worked with him are M. S. Viswanathan, A.
R. Rahman, Rajkumar S A, S. Balachander, Vaidyanathan L, Deva,Gangai Amaran, Aadithyan, K. V.
Mahadevan, Shankar Ganesh and Vidyasagar. He had fortune to sing songs written by Subramanya Bharathy ( Yezhavuthu Manithan (1981) and Bharati (2000) ) and Kannadasan.The Magical voice that hooks all music lovers with melodies like 'Poove Sempoove' - Solla Thudikkuthu manasu, 'Aarariraro' - Raam, 'Raaja Raaja Chozan' - Rettai Vaal Kuruvi, Thendral Vanthu' - Thendrale Ennai Thodu, 'Kanne Kalaimaane' & 'Poongaatru' - Moondram Pirai, 'Vaa Vaa Anbe' - Agni Natchathiram , 'Vellai Puraa' - Pudhu Kavithai and lot of many other songs. He was awarded Kalaimamani Award and eight time State Award for the best playback singer from Tamil Nadu Government. Now he prefere classical music to film music in Tamil. Gaana Gandharva, Yesudas has been performing a lot of classical, devotional and film songs in Kannada. He sung several Kannada compositions of Purandaradasa - The saint-poet who is revered as the father of Carnatic Music. He made lot of hit song in Kannada films.
some hit songs are Anuragadalil Gandharva Gana - Gandharva, Hoovina Lokha Nammadu -Kempu Gulabi, Gouria Roopa Ninamma - Madura Preethi, Kele Kele Bharatha Mathe - Abhimanyu, Nagumoo Mohana - Rayaroo Bandaru Maavana Manege , Ramachaari Haduva ( Ramachaari ), Ee Yavvana Madhura - Ramarajyadhalli Raksharu , Yaakamma Beku - Sneha, Haadonda Naa Haaduvenu - Shruthi , Meru Giriyane - Sangliyaana, Mane Mandi Gella - Triveni, Navarathri Nota Nayana Mohana - Shri Durgey Pooje, Ninnantha Kathaikaru - Ansumbava. Major Kannada musicians worked with him are Hamsalekha, Sudharsanam R, Rajkumar S A and Upendrakumar. Yesudas was awarded five times State Award for the best playback singer from Karnataka Government. Ghantasala Melody King, Yesudas has been singing in both Classical and fillm songs in Telugu. Meghasandesham-Navarasasumamalika, Kumkumathilakam-AalanagaPalanaga, Swayamvaram-Galivanalo, AadhiDampathulu-Kadalinigani, Yedadugulabandam-Yenduku, Hanthakudiveta-Regevyase, Grehaprevesam-DaarichupinaDevatha, Ugranarasimham-Veyikaluvula, Meghasandesham-SigalooAviViruloo, Rudrakali-Okakavi, OoruNidralechindi-ChickChickPillata, Kumkumathilakam-Momuna Bottetti, SwatantranikiOopiripoyindi-ManasainaPriyathama are his some hit songs in Telugu. Yesudas was never treated as an outsider of Andhra Pradesh because of his proper pronunciation, thorough knowledge of Carnatic classical music and his proximity to Telugu heroes.
His mesmerizing voice still sways the Telugu Land and also won him several Nandi awards from Andhra Pradesh Government and he brought a National Award to Telugu in the film Meghasandesham. It is said that music directors like Ramesh Naidu, Satyam and Keeravani MM used to like Yesudas's voice a lot. Yesudas's first Hindi song was for the movie Anand Mahal(1971), with music scored by Salil Chowdhury, a long-standing collaborator. His most popular Hindi songs are from the 1976 movie Chitchor with music given by Ravindra Jain. The greatest tribute paid to him is cited during an interview with Ravindra Jain, wherein the blind music director confessed that if he ever happened to regain vision, the first person he would like to see was Yesudas.
Yesudas's greatest association in Hindi was with Ravindra Jain and the duo combined to produce memorable including Oo Goriya re (from the film Naiyya - directed by Prashanth Nanda),Sunayna (from the film Sunayna). The film in which Yesudas sang the most memorable Hindi songs is claimed to be Saawan ko aane do with music given by the notable late Shri Raj Kamal. Songs like Jaanam, Chand jaise mukhde pe and Tujhe Dekh Kar Jagwale Par (from Saawan Ko Aane Do), Kahan se aaye badra (from Chasme Baddoor),Ni Sa Ga Ma Pa (from Anand Mahal) etc leave even the lover of modern songs spell bound. During an interview with Spice Music Channel, he told the interviewer that a song he sang for the unreleased Hindi movie Tansen was his all time favorite song in Hindi. Major Hindi musicians worked with him are Salil Chowdhury, Naushad, Ravi, Ravindra Jain, Rajkamal and Usha Khanna.
Sitaron Mein Tu Hi is one of his hit music album. Yesudas has sung lot of devotional and bhajans in various languages including Sanskrit, Gujarati, Tulu and Marathi. Two major Indian languages which he has not sung in are Kashmiri and Assamese. He recorded a solo album called Ahimsa, produced by Ricardo Barrantes' Solarwind Music (USA). It is unique in that in this album Yesudas sings in Sanskrit, Latin and in English and in a mix of styles including New-Age and Carnatic conveys the message of Ahimsa and peace. In Sanskrit he sings devotional songs, chants, mantras and slokas.
Bhagavad Gita, Hymns from the Rig-Veda and Gayatri mantra are some of his the famous albums in Sanskrit. His film songs in Bengali are major hits. Naam sokuntala taar -Srikanter Will (1979), Path haraabo boley ebaar - Protiggya (1985) and Aar bujhitey parinaa - Debikaa (1985) are his memorable songs with Salil Chowdhury. He is also familiar to the Oriya film world. Mamataari baalijhaDa and E laakhi jaay dekhi -Batasi Jhada (1981) some hit songs. He has sung in almost all Indian languages as well as in Arabic and Russian. When visiting the USSR, the Government requested him to sing a Russian song for Radio Kasachstan. Yesudas and his wife Prabha have three sons, Vinod, Vijay and Vishal.
The family resides in Chennai and Florida. His son Vijay is an upcoming singer and sings in Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu. * Padma Bhushan by President of India in 2002. * Padma Shri by President of India in 1973. * Doctrate by Annamalai University , Tamil Nadu in 1989. * D.Litt by Kerala University , Kerala in 2003. * Asthana Gayakan by Government of Kerala * Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1992. * Asthana Vidwan by Udupi, Sringeri and Raghavendra mutts. * Sangeetha Sagaram in 1989. * Sangeetha Chakravarthy in 1988 by Pallavi Narasimachary * Sangeetha Raja by Chembai in 1974. * Sangeetha Ratna by Lt. Governor of Pondicherry M.M. Lakhera * Swathi Ratnam * Sapthagiri Sangeetha Vidwanmani in 2002. * Bhakti Sangita Geetha Sironmani in 2002. * Gaana Gandharva. * Geetanjali Award.
by The ex-president of India Neelam Sanjiva Reddy * Sur Shringar Samsad Award. in 1976. * Kalaimamani Award by Government of Tamil Nadu. * Star of India Award by Lt. Governor of Pondicherry M.M. Lakhera * National Citizens Award in 1994 * Mar Gregorius awrd Governor RL Bhatia in 2006 * The `Annual Latha Mangeshkar Award by Government of Madhya Pradesh in 1992. * Dr Pinnamaneni and Seethadevi Foundation Award in 2000. * Senate member in the International Parliament for Safety and Peace, an organization incorporated in the U.S.A. * An Honorary award for "Outstanding Achievements in Music and Peace” by UNESCO in 1999 * Invited by the Soviet government to perform music concerts in various cities of USSR in 1965. * National Film Awards Seven times for the best Playback singer by Government of India * State Film awards Twenty three times for the best Playback singer by Government of Kerala * State Film awards Eight times for the best Playback singer by Government of Tamil Nadu * State Film awards Five Times for the best Playback singer by Government of Karnataka * State Film awards Five times for the best Playback singer by Government of Andra Pradesh * State Film awards One time for the best Playback singer by Government of West Bengal * 1972, Film Name: Achanum bappayum, Language: Malayalam, First line of the song: Manushyan mathangale * 1973, Film Name: Gaayathri, Language: Malayalam, First line of the song: Padmatheerthame unaru * 1976, Film Name: Chitchor, Language: Hindi, First line of the song: Gori thera gaon bada * 1982, Film Name: Megha Sandhesham, Language: Telugu , First line of the song: Aagasha desana * 1987, Film Name: Unnikale Oru Kadha Parayam, Language: Malayalam , First line of the song: Unnikale oru kadha parayam * 1991, Film Name: Bharatham, Language: Malayalam, First line of song: Rama kadha gaana layam * 1993, Film Name: Sopanam, Language: Malayalam, First line of the song: Sopanam (title song) In 1970 Yesudas established the Tharangini Music Company at Chennai ( later incorporated in the US in 1998) which brought about an audio cassette revolution in southern India.
Tharangini Studio and Tharangini Records became the recording center in Kerala which, for the first time, brought out audio cassettes of Malayalam film songs with the added attraction of stereo effect. The record company’s additional strength was in its voice mixing studio in Chennai. An expansion of the Thiruvanthapuram studio, Studio27 in Chennai boasts of the latest and the best voice-mixing studio in Chennai. The studio continues to produce and present events of Yesudas both for film and Indian classical music concerts throughout the world.
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