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is a great Indian classical musician and a playback singer. Yesudas sings Indian
classical music, devotional and popular songs. He has recorded more than 40,000
songs in many languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu,
Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tulu, Malay, Russian,
Arabic, Latin and English through his long career. He has been singing for most
Indian languages except Assamese and Kashmiri.
Early life and background
K. J. Yesudas was born in Fort Kochi, Kerala, 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
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, a maestro of Classical
Music.Although he is a Carnatic Music expert he mastered Hindustani Music. He
has taken the words of Sree Narayana Guru, "One Religion, One Caste for all
humans" to heart.
Yesudas began his career in playback singing in
Malayalam and Kollywood movies in the early 60's and by mid 70's he entered
Bollywood. He has bagged seven National Film Awards for the best singer in the
Indian film industry which is a record no singer has equalled, let alone
surpassed. In 2006, he sang 16 film songs in four South Indian languages on the
same day at AVM Studio, Chennai.
Yesudas has performed in many major cities around the
world. 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. 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 did the role of a cultural ambassador of India through his numerable
performances abroad by promoting Indian Music.
He is the only singer who has been accorded the title
Asthana Gayakan (Official singer) of Kerala State. He has been awarded the Padma
Shri in 1975 and Padma Bhushan in 2002. In 1970, he was nominated to head the
Sangeetha Nataka Academy of Kerala and was being the youngest person ever to
occupy that post. In 1971, Yesudas with his musical troupe travelled all over
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. On November 14, 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, Montserrat Caballé, and Zubin Mehta.
Swaralaya Yesudas award is a prestigious award for music artists in
recognition to their outstanding performance. The award is instituted jointly by
Swaralaya, an organization that promotes music and Kairali Channel, based at
Trivandrum, Kerala. Awards have been given annually since 2000. Yesudas presents
the awards at a Gandharva Sandhya every January.
In 1980 Yesudas established the Tharangni Studio at Trivandrum. In 1992 the
office and studio were moved to Chennai, 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 concerts throughout
Titles, Honours and Major Awards
* Padma Bhushan, 2002
* Padma Shri, 1975
* Doctorate by Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu in 1989.
* D.Litt by Kerala University, Kerala in 2003.
* D.Litt by Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala in 2009.
* Asthana Gayakan (Official Singer) by Government of Kerala
* Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1992
* Asthana Vidwan (Official Teacher) by Udupi, Sringeri, and Raghavendra
* 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.
* Gaana Gandharva.
* Geetanjali Award by The ex-president of India Neelam Sanjiva Reddy.
* Sur Singar 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 Award Governor RL Bhatia in 2006.
* Kerala Ratna by Jaihind TV in 2008.
* 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.
* Susheela National Music Award in 2009.
* National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer seven times by the
Government of India.
* State Film Awards Twenty three times for the best Playback singer by the
Government of Kerala.
* State Film awards Eight times for the best Playback singer by the
Government of Tamil Nadu.
* State Film awards Five Times for the best Playback singer by the
Government of Karnataka.
* State Film awards Six times for the best Playback singer by the Government
of Andra Pradesh.
* State Film awards One time for the best Playback singer by the Government
of West Bengal.
 National Awards
* 1972, Film Name: Achanum Bappayum, Language:
Malayalam, Song: Manushyan Mathangale
* 1973, Film Name: Gaayathri, Language: Malayalam, Song: Padmatheerthame
* 1976, Film Name: Chitchor, Language: Hindi, Song: Gori Tera Gaon Bada
* 1982, Film Name: Megha Sandesam, Language: Telugu, Song: Aakasa Desana
* 1987, Film Name: Unnikale Oru Kadha Parayam, Language: Malayalam, Song:
Unnikale Oru Kadha Parayam
* 1991, Film Name: Bharatham, Language: Malayalam, Song: Rama Kadha Gaana
* 1993, Film Name: Sopanam, Language: Malayalam