Kattassery Joseph Yesudas (usually referred to as Dr. K. J. Yesudas or Jesudas, Malayalam: കാട്ടശ്ശേരി ജോസഫ് യേശുദാസ് , also nicknamed "Gana Gandharvan") (born January 10, 1940) is an eminent Indian classical musician and leading playback singer of film songs in many Indian languages.
K.J. Yesudas was born in Fort Kochi, Kerala to Augustine Joseph and Elizabeth Joseph. 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 was trained by the Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar who was one of the senior most performers of the time in Classical Music, and this training, abruptly cut short by the guru's demise in 1974, still stood him in good stead. Although a Carnatic expert he also learned Hindustani Music.His voice lends itself well to both Indian classical, devotional and popular songs. He has recorded more than 40,000 songs for many languages including Hindi,Malayalam,Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tulu, Russian, Arabic, Latin and English through his long career.
Yesudas started playback singing in South Indian film industry in early 60's and in middle of 70's he entered in Bollywood. He had sung almost all Indian language films except Assamese and Kashmiri. He had bagged seven times National Film Award for the best singer in Indian film industry. In 2006 he has sung 16 film songs in four South Indian languages on the same day at AVM Studio, Chennai.
Yesudas has, till date, performed in almost all the major cities of the world. In his music concerts at Middle East he performs Arabic songs in Carnatic style. And dons the role of cultural ambassador of India through his numerable performances abroad, promoting Indian Music. He is the only one singer who has the title Asthana Gayakan (Official singer) of Kerala State. He was awarded the Padma Sri (1973) and Padma Bhushan (2002) by the President of India.
Titles, Honours and Major Awards
Padma Bhushan by President of India in 2002.
Padma Sri by President of India in 1973.
Doctorate by Annamalai University , Tamil Nadu in 1989.
D.Litt by Kerala University , Kerala in 2003.
Asthana Gayakan ( Official Singer ) by Government of Kerala
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1992.
Asthana Vidwan ( Official Teacher ) by Udupi, Sringeri and Raghavendra mutts.
Sangeetha Sagaram ( Music Ocean ) in 1989.
Sangeetha Chakravarthy ( Music Emperor ) in 1988 by Pallavi Narasimachary
Sangeetha Raja ( Music King ) by Chembai in 1974.
Sangeetha Ratna ( Music Jewel ) by Lt. Governor of Pondicherry M.M. Lakhera
Swathi Ratnam( Swathi Jewel )
Sapthagiri Sangeetha Vidwanmani in 2002.
Bhakti Sangita Geetha Sironmani in 2002.
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 United States.
An Honorary award for "Outstanding Achievements in Music and Peace” by UNESCO in 1999
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
Dr.Yesudas won national award seven times, a record, no other singers either male or female managed equal or surpass.
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 Sandesam, Language: Telugu , First line of the song: Aakasa 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 1980 Yesudas established the Tharangni Studio at Trivandrum. In 1992 the office and studio were moved to Chennai and the company was incorporated in the U.S. 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 Chennai, Studio27. The studio continues to produce and present events of Yesudas both for film and Indian classical music concerts throughout the world.
In 1965, he was invited by the Soviet Union government to perform at music concerts in various cities in the U.S.S.R and had sung a Russian song over Radio Kazakhstan. 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 international organization incorporated in the U.S. (see and ). 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.
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