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Yesudas

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Biography

Kattassery Joseph Yesudas (Malayalam: കാട്ടശ്ശേരി ജോസഫ് യേശുദാസ്; born 10 January 1940) is an Indian classical musician and playback singer.

Yesudas sings Indian classical, devotional, and popular music. He has recorded more than 50,000 songs in many languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tulu, Malay, Russian, Arabic, Latin and English during a career spanning 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. He is fondly called Gana Gandharvan (English: The Celestial Singer).

He has won the National Award for the Best Male Playback Singer seven times, the most by any Indian singer, and the State Award for the Best Playback Singer more than thirty times by the Governments of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal. In 2002, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India for his contributions towards the arts.

Early life and background

K. J. Yesudas was born in Fort Kochi, Kingdom of Cochin, into a Catholic family, to Augustine Joseph and Alicekutty. His father, who was a well-known Malayalam classical musician and stage actor, was his first guru. Later he joined the R.L.V. Music Academy in Thrippunithura and underwent training. For a brief period, he was with Sri Vechur Hari Hara Subramania Iyer, after which he took advanced training from Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar.

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