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K J Yesudas


Kattassery Joseph Yesudas (usually referred to as Dr. K. J. Yesudas or Jesudas , 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. He combines Hindustani Music and Carnatic Music style in all their varieties and did not want to tie himself down to Carnatic 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, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tulu, Russian, Arabic, Latin and English through his long career.

Yesudas started playback singing in Kollywood 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.

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. 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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