Can you imagine that the man who turns 68 today has received more number of awards than his age? Can you believe that he has got awards at all possible levels, in almost all genres and languages?
Kattassery Joseph Yesudas (popularly known as Dr. K. J. Yesudas or Jesudas) has gained a rare reputation of being one of the most eminent Indian classical musicians and leading playback singers in many Indian languages. He has received numerous awards conferred by both government and private institutions at various levels. He has got awards for both popular and classical music. He has also got international awards and honors for his incredible contributions to the music world.
Gana Gandharva - this is one special title given to him by Kerala government - has a magical voice with unbelievable sweetness as its hallmark. The gifted voice, strengthened by his meticulous efforts to excel, has been mesmerizing the music lovers across the globe for nearly 50 years.
Background and Career
Yesudas was born in Fort Kochi, Kerala to Augustine Joseph and Elizabeth Joseph on January 10, 1940. 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 the age of seven.
Yesudas got training from Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar who was one of the senior most performers of the time in Classical Music. Later, he learned Hindustani Music too.
Yesudas started playback singing in Kollywood in early 60's and in middle of 70's he entered in Bollywood.
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.
Awards and honors
Awards kept flowing towards this amazingly talented singer. He had bagged National Film Award for the best singer in Indian film industry for seven times. He was awarded the Padma Sri (1973) and Padma Bhushan (2002) by the President of India. He is the only one singer who has the title Asthana Gayakan (Official singer) of Kerala State.
Yesudas has, till date, performed in almost all the major cities of the world. In his music concerts at Middle East he performed Arabic songs in Carnatic style. And dons the role of cultural ambassador of India through his numerable performances abroad, promoting Indian Music.
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. He also became Senate member in the International Parliament for Safety and Peace, an international organization incorporated in the U.S. 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. The attendees included artistes such as Lionel Richie, Ray Charles, Montserrat Caballé and Zubin Mehta.
At the age of 30 (in 1970), he was nominated to head the Sangeetha Nataka Academy of Kerala, he was the youngest person ever to occupy the office.
Among various genres of music, devotional music is closer to his heart. He has won the hearts of millions cutting across the religions through his sublime rendition of devotional songs. Though he is a Christian by birth, he has developed a rare quality of respecting all religions and singing devotional songs belonging to all religions. He has special attachment towards Swamy Ayyappa and Lord Krishna.
It is perhaps because of this deep devotion towards god and the music, the man remains humble despite receiving so much of honors and awards.
We wish incredible singer a very happy birthday.
Listen To K J Yesudas Songs on Raaga.com!