Full Name Kattasery Joseph Yesudas
Intimately known as ‘Dasettan’
Date of birth 10-Jan-1940
Place of birth Fort Cochin, Kerala, India
Family Sons– Vinod, Vijay(singer), Vishal
Resides in Shuttles between Chennai,India and Fort Lauderdale, Florida U.S.A
Music Gurus His father, K.R.Kumarasamy(former principal of the Music College,Kochi), Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar.Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Kunjamvelu Asan, P.J.Joseph,Sivaraman Nair, Ramankutty Nair.
About his gurus Each one of them is great in his own respect. But, I would say with all humility at my disposal that I have not compromised on my individuality”
Musical Education
  • Started at age five.
  • In R.L.V Music academy Thrippoonithura  near Cochin for the Ganabhooshanam course. (He completed with a double promotion and distinction in 1960)
  • Later joined  Sree Swathithirunal music academy , Trivandrum. But not able to complete the ‘Sangeetha vidwan’ course due to financial reasons.
Play back singing debut
  • Malayalam-Kalpadukal 1961- Music Director: M.B.Srinivasan
  • Tamil– ‘Bommai’- Music Director:S.Balachander
  • Hindi-‘Anand Mahal’- Music Director:Salil Chowdhary
Role Models
  • Music-Mohammed Rafi, Chembai Vaidhyanatha Bhagavathar and Bala murali krishna.
  • Social life– Shri Narayana Guru.
Awards in early life
  • At the tender age of seven, he won a gold medal for music at a local competition in Fort Cochin.
  • In St.Sebastian’s High School, Pallurthi, Cochin he was  the top singer for several consecutive years.
  • 1957 he stood first in the State level school youth festival carnatic vocal singing.
  • 1958 gold medal in vocal singing at the all Kerala catholic youth festival at Ernakulam.
Total number of Songs 40,000 songs in various languages. Has sang in all Indian languages except Assamese and Kashmiri. Has sang songs in Arabic and Russian too.
Style of singing Bharatheeya
Honors and awards
  • 1965– Invited by the then  Soviet government to perform music concerts in various cities of USSR.

  • 1969– Best play back singer Malayalam. Starting from its inception in 1969 he got this award for a record number of times so from 1987 to 1991 he  opted out of the race to facilitate opportunities for fresh talents.

  • 1972 -National Award for the Best Playback Singer
    SongManushyan Mathangale Srishtichu (Achanum Bappayum-Malayalam )

  • 1973-National award for Best Playback Singer
    SongPadmatheerthame (Gayatri-Malayalam)

  • 1973Padma Shri

  • 1974Sangeetha Raja

  • 1979 -National Award for the Best Playback Singer.
    SongGori Tera (Chit Chor-Hindi )

  • 1985-National Award for the Best Playback Singer.
    SongAkashadeshamu (Meghasandesham-Telugu)

  • 1987-National Award for the Best Play back singer
    Song-Unnikale Oru Kathaparayam (Unnikale Oru Kathaparayam-Malayalam)

  • 1988 -‘Sangeetha Chakravarthy’

  • 1989 -‘Sangeetha Sagaram’  

  • 1988 -Best play back singer for the year from TamilNadu and Andhra Pradesh

  • 1989 -Annamalai university honored him with a doctorate

  • 1991– National Award for the Best Play back Singer
    Song-Ramakatha Ganalayam (Bharatham-Malayalam)

  • 1992 -Sangeeta Nataka academy conferred the title of ‘Aashtana Gayakan 

  • 1992– Madhya Pradesh government gave the annual ‘ Latha Mangeshkar award’ 

  • 1992 -Tamil Nadu state Government award for the Best playback singer .

  • 1992 -He received the distinguished honor of “Star of Cochin” from the citizens of Cochin.

  • 1993-National Award for the Best Playback Singer
    Film Sopanam-Malayalam

  • 1994– For his unique contribution in the field of music, on World Peace Day, 1994, Mother Theresa of Calcutta honored him with the ‘ NATIONAL CITIZENS AWARD’

  • 2002‘Swati Ratnam’ by the Malayalee club

  • 2002 -‘Padma bhushan’

  • 2002‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ given by the  Zee-Gold Bollywood Music Awards

  • 2002 -`Ranjani Sangeetha Kalasagara’ Ranjani Trust in Chennai gave him the title ‘Bhakti Sangita Geetha Sironmani’ jointly by the Thirupoonthuruthy Sri Narayana Tirtha Swamigal Trust  and Saraswathi Vaggeyakara Trust.

  • 2003 D.Litt from the the University of Kerala for his outstanding contributions in music

  • 2003 -Has been nominated for this year’s J C Daniel award, the highest honour given by the Kerala State Government to those in the field of Malayalam films.

  • His father’s-His son should sing atleast  a kirtana during the Thanjavur Thyagaraja festival(which he has fulfilled).
  • His-To set up a museum on the lines of Madame Tussaud’s in London, showcasing wax statues of national and international musicians.
Homage to his father Makes it a point to sing at St Joseph’s Cupola every year
Musical album AHIMSA  composed along with Ricardo Barrantes in which he has sung in Latin, Sanskrit and English
Ironic facts in his life
  • While he was studying in Thiruvananthapuram, his father applied for a grant from the Sangeeta Nataka Academy. He did not get a reply. Years later the very same institution made him its chairman.
  • The prohibition of entry to Hindu Temples to  non-Hindus has denied him a chance to sing in Guruvayoor, Tripoonithara and Padmanabha-puram temples, though his songs in praise of these deities are regularly played in these temples’ precincts.
  • In his budding years as  a musician All India Radio(AIR) Trivandrum considered his voice not good for broadcasting, but now plays his songs regularly.
As a person Shy, but with a wonderful sense of humor. Ability to communicate through his music is magical. In 1971 with his musical  troupe traveled from one end of Kerala to the other end to raise funds for the Prime Minister’s National Defense Fund during the India-Pakistan war.
Belief Believes in Shri Narayana Guru’s principle of ‘One caste, One religion and One God for all’.
Music for him “More than anything, my music is my life. And I am willing to sacrifice everything for music. Music is like a tapasya for me”

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