For the past five decades, there was something K.J. Yesudas would do on every January 10, his birthday. He would sing at the Srimookambika temple, Kolllur, Karnataka.
This year, he could not. Or rather, the coronavirus did not let him: he was stuck at Dallas, United States. So he had to offer his musical tribute to the goddess online. However, his 81st birthday was made more special by his fellow singers from Malayalam cinema. Twenty-eight of them came together and sang a song written and composed as a tribute to him. It was the idea of singer Shwetha Mohan. She tuned the song written by B.K. Harinarayanan, got it rendered by playback singers and made it into a video. Gandharva gaayakaa.. proved a hit on YouTube where it attracted more than 1 lakh views within two days. For someone who had never composed before, Shwetha has done a fine job.
“I have already paid musical tributes to my favourite singers like Lata Mangeshkar, P. Susheela and S.P. Balasubrahmanyam by rendering their songs,” says Shwetha. “I felt I should compose a sing especially for Yesudas, my icon.”
She wanted to bring in as many as singers a possible. They were happy to oblige, so the song got a stellar cast that included K.S. Chithra, Sujatha, Unni Menon, M.G. Sreekumar, G. Venugopal, Srinivas, Biju Narayanan, Madhu Balakrishnan, Vijay Yesudas, Devanand, Gayatri Asokan, Jyotsna, Rimi Tomy, and Harishankar.
“Everyone got their portion of the song recorded and shot on video and sent it to me,” says Shwetha. Her mother Sujatha helped her choose the line for each singer.
Veteran singer and actor Krishnachandran too is impressed with Shwetha’s tune.