Kattassery Joseph Yesudas, (born 10 January 1940) is an Indian classical musician and a playback singer. He has won the National Award for the best male playback singer seven times, the most by any 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, Konkani and Kashmiri. He also composed number of Malayalam Film songs in 70’s and 80’s. He is fondly called ‘Gana Gandharvan’.
Yesudas began his career in playback singing in the Malayalam movie Kaalpadukal and Kollywood movies in the early ’60s (He sang for ‘Bommai’ first (Music : K.Balachandar), but the first released movie was ‘Konjum Kumari'(Music : Veda))and by ’70s he entered Bollywood.The first Hindi song was for the movie ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kissan’ (1971), but the first released movie was ‘Chhoti Si Baat’. 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. Because of his immense talent and popularity he is often preferred by music directors/producers to render the songs which require the power factor and extreme variations in ragas mainly in the big budget movies. The song ‘Aadiyusha sandhya’ from the movie ‘Pazhassi Raja’ is an example for his voice clarity even at the age of 69.Thiruvarur Bakthavathsalam a well known mridangam maestro has accompained him in many concerts.
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