Born On: January 10, 1940
Born In: Kochi, Kerala
Career: Classical Musician and Playback Singer
Dr. K. J. Yesudas is one of the famous Indian classical musicians as well as a renowned playback singer. He has recorded numerous songs in many Indian as well as foreign languages. His contribution in promoting Indian music is immense. Thus he is known as the "Cultural Ambassador of India". Yesudas has sung in both Tamil and Hindi film industry, but is most famous for his Malayalam songs. He has been honored with many awards and titles and he continues to spin magic with his melodious voice. He has sung popular film songs, classical, Carnatic and devotional songs.
Yesudas was born on 10th January, 1940, in Kochi (Kerala) as Katttassery Joseph Yesudas. His father was Augustine Joseph Bhagavathar, while his mother was Elizabeth Joseph. Yesudas started to receive training in Carnatic music at a very young age. His first Guru was his father Augustine Joseph Bhagavathar, a well-known theatre artist and a classical singer. After that, he joined the R.L.V. Music Academy in Thrippunithura for training. He later went to the Sree Swathithirunal Music Academy for higher studies. One of the most senior and respected performers of Kerala, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar trained him in classical music. Yesudas won a gold medal at the age of seven at a local music competition in Kochi. He has recorded in many languages that include Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tulu, Russian, Arabic, Latin and English.
In the Middle East, Yesudas presented Arabic songs in Carnatic style. He also played a very important role in promoting Indian music in foreign countries by giving many performances. He began his career as a playback singer from the Malayalam movie 'Kaalpadukal'. In mid-1970, Yesudas started playback singing in the Bollywood. His first Hindi movie was 'Chhoti Si Baat'. But, he gave his voice first for the movie 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' (1971). He also gave his voice for many leading actors in Hindi cinema including Amol Palekar, Amitabh Bachchan and Jeetendra. In 2001, he sang for 'Ahimsa', an album in Sanskrit, Latin and English mixed with New Age and Carnatic music. His songs stand out not just for the melody but also for the versatility and style. Though Yesudas is an expert in Carnatic music, he also learnt classical music as he did not wanted to limit himself to only Carnatic music.
Contribution in Music
In the year 1970, Dr. K. J. Yesudas set up the 'Tharagini' a music company in Chennai. With this company, Malayalam songs were brought out with stereo effect. The studio still produces high quality recordings of Dr. K. J. Yesudas.
Awards and Accolades
Dr. K. J. Yesudas has been awarded with many awards. In 1989, he received the Doctorate degree from Annamalai University and in 2003, he received the D.Litt. degree from Kerala University. He has been awarded with the title 'Asthana Gayakan' (Official Singer) by government of Kerala. He has also received 'Sangeet Natak Academy Award' (1992), 'Sangeetha Sagaram' (Ocean of Music) in 1989, 'Padma Sri' (1973), 'Sangeetha Chakravarthy' (Music Emperor) in 1988, 'Sangeetha Raja' (Music King) in Chembai (1974), 'Padma Bhushan' (2002), 'Sangeetha Ratna' (Music Jewel), 'Swathi Ratnam' (Swathi Jewel), 'Sapthagiri Sangeetha Vidwanmani' (2002), 'Bhakti Sangita Geetha Sironmani'(2002), 'Kalaimamani' Award by Government of Tamil Nadu, 'Gaana Gandharva', 'Star ofI ndia' Award by Lt. Governor of Pondicherry, 'National Citizens Award' (1994). He has also been declared as a Senate member in the International Parliament for Safety and Peace. He has been given honorary award for "Outstanding Achievements in Music and Peace" by UNESCO (1999), twenty three times State Film Awards for the best Playback singer by Government of Kerala, five times State Film Awards for the best Playback singer by Government of Karnataka, eight times for the best Playback singer by Government of Tamil Nadu, three times State Film Awards for the best Playback singer by Government of Andhra Pradesh and seven times the National Film Awards for the best Playback singer by Government of India.
Yesudas married Prabha his devoted fan of many years. The couple has been blessed with three boys Vinod, Vijay and Vishal. Vijay Yesudas is a budding musician who won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer in 2007. The family is currently settled in Chennai and Trivandrum. Yesudas also owns estates in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA and Flower Mound, TX, USA for personal and business reasons.
1940: Born in Kochi, Kerala
1970: Entered the Bollywood and set up a music company called 'Tharagini'
1971: Gave his voice to first Hindi film 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan'
1973: Padma Sri
1974: Sangeetha Raja (Music King), Chembai
1988: SangeethaChakravarthy (Music Emperor)
1989: Doctorate by Annamalai University and SangeethaSagaram (Ocean ofMusic)
1992: SangeetNatak Academy Award
1994: National Citizens Award
1999: Honorary award for "Outstanding Achievements in Music and Peace" by UNESCO
2001: Sang for 'Ahimsa', an album in Sanskrit, Latin and English mixed with New Age and Carnatic music
2002: Padma Bhushan,SapthagiriSangeethaVidwanmani and Bhakti SangitaGeethaSironmani
2003: D.Litt. by Kerala University, Kerala.