One of the nations greatest singer Yesudas, our favorite Ganna Gandarva is celebrating his 68th birthday today. Its would not be a surprise to anyone when I say that the number of recognitions gained by him is much more than his number of his years!
Kattassery Joseph Yesudas was born on January 10, 1940 in Fort Cochin, the ancient port city of Kerala. His father, Augustine Joseph was himself a well-known singer and stage actor who rode the Kerala stage like a colossus for over a quarter of a century. Eldest of the four sons and one daughter of the Joseph couple, Yesudas took to music at a very early age. His first Guru was his beloved father himself, who lovingly and painstakingly led little Yesudas through the basic precepts of Carnatic Music while he was hardly five years old. From there, the budding singer took lessons under several musical wizards like Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar - one of the senior most performers of the time in Classical Music - and later Hindustani Music and so on. He nurtured his native talents with discipline, dedication and determination and progressed each day towards achieving musical knowledge through Classical Indian Music, Carnatic Music, Challenging Film and Independent compositions.
On 14th November 1961 Yesudas recorded his voice for the first time for him. His first film was Kaalpadugal. Yesudas is a reciepent of the Padmabhushan Award from the president of India in 2002, Padma Sri by President of India in 1973, Doctorate by Annamalai University in 1989, D.Litt by Kerala University in 2003, Asthana Gayakan ( Official Singer ) by Government of Kerala, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1992, and numerous awards during his carrer life. Kerala government recognised him by giving the special title 'Gana Gandharva', as a hallmark for for his magical voice with unbelievable sweetness. Dr.Yesudas won national award seven times, a record, no other singers either male or female managed equal or surpass.
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. In 1980 Yesudas established the Tharangni Studio at Trivandrum. In 1992 the office and studio were moved to Chennai and the company was incorporated in the U.S. 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.
Inspite of the various accolades and awards that have embellished his career, in person Yesudas remains extremely humble and direct. A down-to-earth nature is the best word that can be used to describe him. His approach to life has always been musical, that of a saint who worship music as his god, that of a pilgrim who goes on a pilgrimage in search of solitude and the real essence of music.
Yesudas' family is blessed with his devoted and dutiful wife Prabha and his three sons, Vinod, Vijay and Vishal. Vijay, is second son, has the inborn talent of his father to carry on the hereditary tradition to the next generation.
My Grandma used to call me "Kuthira"(means horse) as I was the naughtiest amoung the children [but now that's stolen from me :( ]. It seems like difficult things are common and always easy. Its impossible that takes little bit time to finish.