Birthday with a Celestial Touch
by Elizabeth Menon

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Birthday with a Celestial Touch

“Ormmayil Kaanunnathee Mukham Maathram
Jeevanil Cherunnathee Swaram Maathram
Kelkkunnathellam Sukhamulloreenam
Viriyunnathellam Neerunna Mounam
Hrudayam Thetunna Thaalam
Sukritham Pookkunna Kaalam"

“BIRTHDAY WISHES", to our ‘Gandharvvan' on 10 January!

January 10th is always special for Malayalees -- Dr K J Yesudas, the one who is blessed with the inimitable voice, tuned by God Himself, celebrates his birthday on this day! The legend has it that the birth of a 'Gandharvvan' is a rare event that happens perhaps once in a century, and we believe that Yesudas is our 'Gandharvvan', born on such an auspicious time! As Malayalees and all those who love his music celebrate his Birthday, one is reminded of the dictum that says "The old seventy’, is the new Fifty’, or the old fifty is the new thirty"! Our Dasettan proves this dictum, or perhaps he is even timeless -- he looks younger than fifty, and with a very youthful voice that has diamond-hard precision with the most seductive silky undertone brimming with soft alluring elegance as the situation demands!

His dedication to his profession, strict diet and exercise, and of course the celestial blessing keep our ‘God of Music’ in eternal youth, with a magical voice to match! His voice still has the power to engulf the listeners in pure magic, gliding them to celestial heights – a voice that is vibrant enough to conquer all age groups, whether he is singing classical or light music, even after fifty one years in the music industry -- his odyssey started on 14 November 1961.

Most of us wake up to his beautiful voice and it is his voice that we hear before we go to sleep at night – his celestial voice is with us in our moments of happiness, most romantic and erotic moments, celebrations, sadness, and any other moment that one can think of! When he sings the melodies, the listener gets the feeling that Yesudas is singing only to him or her, reaching the inner core of that person – his voice has that inimitable magical quality, and still an enigma -- perhaps the question we all would like to ask is in one of his songs: ‘Parayu Nin Ganathin Madhurima Engane Vannuu …’!

It has been said that Yesudas sings in God’s voice, and when asked about this, he told me, “Everyone has God’s voice -- Ellaavarkkum Daivathinte shabdamaanallo”, showing his humility! But I would say, “ His voice has a 'God-like quality'! It is not just one of the most beautiful voices in the world, it is pure enough to make you think of walking on dry snow when the sun is shining (Ottakkampi Naadam Maathram) or perhaps the smooth bubbling of cream and melting chocolate, dripping with honey (Aadyathe chumbanam, Chandana lepa sugandham), or exotic enough to remind us of the most beautiful paintings of Raja Ravi Varma (Priythame prabhaathame, Pushpathalppathil), or take you on the nostalgic wings of the most exotic dreams (Pinneyum pinneyum, Aashaadam nin mizhiyil), and it has the exquisite magical touch to glide you through the most erotic planes, as in Poykayil, in the film Rajashilpi!

Something special happens even when he sings very ordinary songs -- words come to life and songs become classics, Lyricists and their words reach immortality through his voice, music directors become legends and listeners are blessed! Yousafali Kecheri has written the poem, 'Yesudas', and has dedicated a song, “Thenaanu Nin Swaram Paattukara, Poovaanu Nin Manam Koottukaara”; even the great Vayalar Rama Varma has written a song for his 'Yesu' which shows the greatness of this musical legend! Devarajan Master's famous words were, "A song becomes a real song only when 'Yesu' sings it"! And the 'Master of Words', Sreekumaran Thampi believes that it was Yesudas who brought in perfect diction in our film songs in Malayalam and he has also written a poem as a tribute to Yesudas, 'Janma Punyam-Yesudaasinu', explaining how Yesudas's magical voice escalated his words to celestial heights imparting divine fragrance:

"ജന്മ പുണ്യം
(യേശുദാസിന് )

എന്നക്ഷരങ്ങള്‍ക്കു ചിറകുകള്‍ നല്കി നീ
എന്നാശയങ്ങളില്‍ സൗരഭം പൂശി നീ
എന്‍ സങ്കടങ്ങള്‍ തന്‍ പഞ്ചാഗ്നി മദ്ധ്യ ത്തില്‍
എന്നുമേ സാന്ത്വന തീര്‍ഥ മായ് പെയ്തു നീ .
ഒട്ടു പിണങ്ങിയും ഒട്ടൊട്ടിണങ്ങിയും
ഒപ്പം നടന്നു നാം ഈ വഴിത്താരയില്‍
സപ്ത സ്വരങ്ങളും സര്‍വ്വ രാഗങ്ങളും
നര്‍ത്തനമാടി നിന്‍ മുന്നില്‍ സഖിക ളായ്
നീ ജയിച്ചോ , ജയം നീയായി മാറിയോ...
വാണി നിന്നില്‍ ചെര്‌ന്നലിഞ്ഞുവൊ പൂര്‍ണ്ണ മായ് !
നിന്‍ സ്വരം പുല്കുന്ന ഭാഷ യോടോപ്പമെന്‍
ഉള്ളവും ആകാശമായ് വളര്‍ന്നീലയോ...?
ഒപ്പം നടന്നതെന്‍ ജന്മ പുണ്യ ത്തിനാല്‍
തെറ്റുമെന്‍ ശ്രുതിയെ നീ വിസ്മരിച്ചീടുക!" (By Sreekumaran Thampi)

I feel that we can all empathize with these words from one of his songs: 'Ormmayil kaanunnathee swaram maathram, Jeevanil cherunnathee swaram maathram', which is so apt for our 'God of Music', perhaps an anthem for Malayaalees! (K. Jayakumar has written these beautiful words for the film, 'Uthram oru Nakshathram')

Please know that we all love you and that you are a big part of our lives for now, and always. And remember that you are ageless -- you and your voice will never grow old because you are blessed, and have the love and prayers of millions of admirers!

“May all your dreams be showered with Celestial blessings and may you reign forever"!

© E Menon



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