His ‘Arivarasanam’ is played everyday in the Ayyappan temple in Sabarimalai. Till now, for many, the bold yet sweet tone that resonates in the cassette is what bonds them to the Almighty. K.J. Yesudas, fondly known as Dasettan, the singer of this song in the popular devotional album, celebrates his birthday today.
Yesudas’ father, Joseph Augustine, a popular musician in his time was his first guru in music. Later, with an insatiable desire to master the art, young Yesudas enrolled at the music academy in Cochin. Further, his understanding and approach were groomed by several Carnatic stalwarts including Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and Chembai Sri Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. At the same time, with a view to expand his repertoire, he also learnt the nuances and techniques of Hindustani music from an expert.
His Kollywood debut occurred during the early 70s. Yesudas’ rich voice and flawless presentation are his specialities; the dedication he showed to accomplish each and every song is commendable. In Tamil film music, his share of songs had Carnatic-based tunes that demanded complicated modulations in rendition. Yesudas’ profound knowledge and training helped him sing those songs remarkably well. His voice brought out the underlying emotions of the songs, filling them with life and soul, providing inexplicable enjoyment for listeners.
He was equally popular in other languages too. He has to his credit some of the most soulful Hindi songs.
The most remarkable feature in Yesudas’ career is the balance he established between classical and film singing. However busy he was in films, he never neglected the chance to perform during the annual December concert season.
Yesudas is the recipient of prestigious awards, including the Padmashree and Padmabushan. He has travelled abroad myraid times representing India as its music ambassador. His wife Prabha is his chief fan/ critic. Her support to his career has been tremendous. Till today, she attends all his concerts, occupying a seat in the front row in the auditorium. Of his three sons, Vijay has taken after his father. He is a popular playback singer in Tamil with many memorable hits.
Music bridges the differences between human beings; it inculcates a feeling of oneness. Musical talent is a gift. Yesudas is one such blessed person whose music has created a positive impact in many. May his service continue! Happy birthday, Yesudas Dasettan!