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Jim Reeves of South India - K J Yeshudas Post Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:45 pm 
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Introduction
Kattassery Joseph Yeshudas is an Indian classical musician and famous playback singer. Fans term his voice as "divine" and he sings Indian classical, devotional, and popular music. He has recorded more than 50,000 songs in many languages including Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati, Oriya, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tulu, Malay, Russian, Arabic, Latin and English during a career spanning five decades. He has been singing for most Indian languages except Assamese and Kashmiri. , He was known as the 'Jim Reeves of South India.'

Background
Kattassery Joseph Yeshudas born on 10th January 1940 in Fort Kochi, Kerala, to Augustine Joseph and Elizabeth. His guru was his father, whom was a well-known Malayalam classical musician and stage actor. 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 training from Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, a maestro of Classical Music. Trained under well-known musicians like K.R. Kumaraswamy (former principal of the Music College, Kochi), Kunjuvelan Aasan (a disciple of Nagaswera Vidwan Rajaratnam Pillai), Augustine Joseph, Ramakutti Bagavathar, Sivaraman Nayar, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. Although he is a Carnatic Music expert he mastered Hindustani Music. He had his own heroes among the musicians too. Mohammed Rafi, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar and Balamurali Krishna are the ones he admired the most.

Career
Yeshudas started his career as a playback singer in Kollywood and he entered Bollywood in the early 60's and by mid 70's. From their he sung more than 50,000 songs for movies and devotional at different languages including English. He also composed a number of Malayalam film songs in the 1970s and 1980s. Yesudas has performed in many major cities around the world. In his music concerts in the Middle East he sings Arabic songs in the Carnatic style. He is the only singer who has been accorded the title Asthana Gayakan (Official singer) of Kerala State. Till the day he gives life to many songs. Even though he is in 70, his voice and sound is still in 18. That's why, Yesudas is fondly called Gana Gandharvan (English: The Celestial Singer)

Awards and Honors
- He has bagged the National Award for the Best Male Playback Singer seven times (the most by any Indian singer)
and the State Award for the Best Playback Singer 43 times. It consists of awards by the state governments of
Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and West Bengal.
- In 1965, he was invited by the Soviet Union government to perform at music concerts in various cities in the USSR. - 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 was awarded Padma Shri in 1975 and Padma Bhushan in 2002 by the Government of India for his contributions
towards the arts.
- 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
- In 2006, he sang 16 film songs in four South Indian languages on the same day at AVM Studio, Chennai; the 16th
song won him a Kerala State Award.

Personal Life
Yeshudas is married to Prabha for more than 30 years. They have three sons - Vinod, Vijay and Vishal. The second son, Vijay Yeshudas, is a budding musician. The family is currently settled in Chennai and Kerala.
In 1980 Yesudas established a music company, the Tharangni Studio at Trivandrum. In 1992 the office and studio were moved to Chennai and the company was incorporated in the US in 1998. The company also had a voice mixing studio in Chennai, Studio27.
He also owns estates in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA and Flower Mound, TX, USA for personal and business reasons

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