K. J. Yesudas
About K. J. Yesudas
Prolific multilingual singer Kattassery Joseph Yesudas ranks among India’s most-loved artists for his versatile approach to his art in a career spanning over half a century.
• Born into a Catholic family in pre-independent Kochi, Yesudas was encouraged by his father—a stage actor and singer—to learn music. He gave his first performance at the age of 12.
• He began singing in the Malayalam and Tamil film music industry in the early 1960s, teaming up with composer Ilaiyaraaja for “En Iniya Pon Nilavae” in Tamil thriller Moodu Pani. Yesudas used his classically trained vocals as a basis for his songs.
• His official Hindi film debut was “Jaaneman Jaaneman Tere Do Nayan” from romantic comedy Chhoti Si Baat in 1976. A playful, characterful duet with Asha Bhosle, it became one of Yesudas’ most popular songs.
• In the 1990s and 2000s, Yesudas featured on film soundtracks dubbed in different languages. For 1991 Tamil movie Thalapathi, he sang alongside fellow gilded voice S. P. Balasubrahmanyam on the Ilaiyaraaja composition “Kaattukuyilu Manasukkulae”.
• In 2000, Yesudas released Ahimsa with Peruvian composer Ricardo Barrantes. It includes several experiments—“Sari Sari” features electronic voice modulation.
• Among Yesudas’ titles for excellence in the arts are the Padma Shri in 1975, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2017—the latter the second-highest civilian honour in India.