A 'Gaandharva' Birthday!
by Elizabeth Menon

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'Birthday Wishes' to Yesudas, our 'Dasettan'!

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

January 10th
is always special for Malayaalees! Dr K J Yesudas, the one who is blessed with the inimitable voice that is tuned by God Himself, celebrates his birthday on this day and Malayaalees and all those who love his music join in! He still has a very youthful voice that has diamond-hard precision with the most seductive silky undertone brimming with soft alluring elegance as the situation demands, so much so that the seasons don't even dare to touch our 'Precious Jewel'! The most beautiful song from Rangith's recent film, 'Spirit', written by Rafeeq Ahamed, 'Ee chillayil ninnu bhoomi than koumaarakaalathilekku parakkaam..' is a perfect example of what a 'Real song' should be! A song rendered in his 70s, and the song that one wants to hear again and again, gliding the listener to sheer bliss every time, as that voice is just heaven!

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 Yesudas sings the melodies, the listener gets the feeling that he is singing to that particular person only, 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, written by ONV Kurup: ‘Parayu Nin Ganathin Madhurima Engane Vannuu …’! I don't have a favourite song, as all his songs compete for that slot, but on a lighter note, 'Mudippookkal Vaadiyaalenthomane...', 'Ormmayil', Ennum chirikkunna Suriyante, chillitta vaathilil, Hari varasanam, Daivathe marannu kunje.., and many many more, are sheer heaven!

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 53 years in the music industry!

It has been said that Yesudas sings in God’s voice, and when asked about this, he told me, “Ellaavarkkum Daivathinte shabdamaanallo (Everyone has God’s voice)”, 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 Nadam Mathram) or perhaps the smooth bubbling of cream and melting chocolate, dripping with honey (Chandana lepa sugandham), or exotic enough to remind us of the most beautiful paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, or take you on the nostalgic wings of the most exotic dreams (Pinneyum pinneyum, Hridayasarassile), and it has the exquisite magical touch to take you to the most erotic planes (Poykayil, in the film Rajashilpi)

Something special happens even when he sings very ordinary songs -- words come to life and songs become classics, writers and their lyrics 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!

Yousafali Kecheri's words were “Dasine orthukontaanu njaanithezhuthiyathu (I had Das in my mind when I wrote this!)”

“Thenanu nin swaram pattukaaraa
Poovanu nin manam koottukaaraa........
Thenanu nin swaram pattukaaraa.....
Poovaanu nin manam koottukaaree....
Ragam vidarunna nin manassil
Anuraagamaay njaan alinjotte…alinjotte”

I feel that we can all empathize with these few lines from one of his songs -- perhaps an anthem for Malayalees! (K.Jayakumar has written these beautiful lines for the film, ‘Uthram oru Nakshathram')

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

'Please know that we all love you and that you are a big part of our lives for now, and always! You or 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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