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Yesudas presents mix of favorites & a few surprises

July 25
02:30 2013

das-web-newHAYWARD, CA: India’s foremost exponent of Carnatic vocal music and leading playback singer in all Indian languages, Dr K.J.Yesudas performed live Carnatic concert on July 20 at Chabot College, Hayward, California. The show was presented by Thampy Antony Thekkek and Prema Thekkek in association with Lending Hands International.

The three-hour divine concert attracted around 1300 music lovers from all parts of United States. Antony Thekkek, also known as Thampy Antony, is an Indian-American film actor and producer. He won the Best Actor Award at the Honolulu International Film Festival in 2005 for portraying the role of Dr Acharya in the English film ‘Beyond the Soul’, directed by Rajeev Anchal. In 2010, he featured in the Hollywood movie Cash (2010 film).

Thampi Antony produces films under the banner of ‘Kayal Films’ and has produced critically acclaimed movies like Parudeesa, Sufi Paranja Katha and Papilio Buddha. Thampi Anthony with his wife Prema Thekkek is involved in health care business and has been serving the Bay area for over two decades. “It was a successful event and we are happy to bring in Dr K.J.Yesudas after six years to perform in Bay area and are also planning to have a light music show with him next year,” said Prema Thekkek and Thampi Antony, Organizers of this gala event.

Regina Raj, Founder of Lending Hands International, said, “Lending Hands International founded in 2005 is a non-profit organization which helps the poor and under privileged children and families for the education, medical, housing, and establishing a lively hood such as a business. Our Mission is to break the ongoing cycle of poverty by educating children.

We believe; by helping one child at a time; we can help the poor, distressed, and disadvantaged family break out of the cycle of poverty. Till date we have helped poor families in Kerala, India and are planning to expand to other states in India and in US as well.”

Besides being a seven-time Indian National Award winner for Best Male Playback Singer, Dr Yesudas has also been honored with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India. Equally renowned for his prowess in Indian classical singing as he is for performing some of the most popular Indian film songs ever, Yesudas is credited with singing more than 50,000 songs in all regional languages in India.

He is the only singer who has been given the title of Asthana Gayakan aka Official Singer of Kerala. He was awarded Padma Shri in 1975 and Padma Bhushan in 2002 by the Government of India for his contributions to the arts. In 2011 Yesudas was honored with the CNN-IBN outstanding achievement award.

Accompanied by Srivatsan on the violin, T.S.Nanda Kumar on mridangam, Santosh Chandru on ghatam and Balaji on thambura, it was indeed a superb show that would even appeal to casual fans of Indian classical music.

After the deep customary “Om” chant, the live concert kicked off with the Vanajakshi in Kalyani raga, he then went on to perform Vathapi Ganapathi in hamsadvani, mix of favorites and a few surprises. Yesudas fans are sure to own his Vatapi Ganapathim album that unfailingly transports the listener to a different world. He gave a musical treat to the packed crowd in all languages starting from Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi etc.

He also took time to explain some of the finer points of singing Indian classical music, talking about the origins of certain raagas and how they’ve evolved over time. Other songs performed included Thaye Yashoda (Thodi ragas), Janaki Ramana, Maa Bhavani (Hindolam ragas).

There was a special luncheon with Dr K.J.Yesudas at Sneha Indian restaurant, Sunnyvale on 21July. He interacted with over 100 guests and spoke about his musical journey.

Artistes like Yesudas are rare. He has a talent for rendering songs in multiple languages cutting across multiple beliefs, race, and religion, a sincere effort to understand the meaning, clear lyrical pronunciation, enthusiasm to constantly learn, and all of this with total emotional involvement.

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

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